Mary Vardeh is the living example of “To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required.”
The Master of Arts in Education graduate already has begun a life of giving back to others.
As an undergraduate, the daughter of a single mom from Turlock was aided in her educational journey as a mathematics major through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, as a McNair Scholar and as a Noyce Scholar. The latter, created by the National Science Foundation to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educators, provided her a yearly $10,000 scholarship in exchange for teaching upon receiving her credential.
Vardeh teaches math at Modesto’s Beyer High School and completed her Master of Arts in Education, because she is thinking beyond her classroom.
“I aspire to take on leadership positions that allow me to contribute to the development of educational programs and policies,” Vardeh said. “I am driven to make a difference in the lives of students and educators on a larger scale. Whether it is through curriculum development, teacher training initiatives or educational research, I hope to play a part in shaping the future of education.”
That doesn’t mean teaching isn’t her first love.
“I aim to make a direct impact on the lives of students in our region,” she said. “By applying the knowledge and skills acquired during my studies, I can provide quality education, inspire a love for learning and equip students with the necessary tools to succeed. Through innovative teaching methods and a focus on personalized instruction, I aspire to foster a positive and engaging learning environment that empowers students to reach their full potential.”
Many of her future goals require more scholarship and research, but she’s familiar with that.
Vardeh, who is pondering a future doctorate, has had two articles published and presented research in several settings and competitions, most recently placing second in the Grad Slam competition at Stan State and presenting a poster with Ashlynn Walker (Developing a New Teacher Retention/Aid Program in a Post-Pandemic World) at the University’s Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Celebration.
Although Vardeh is looking ahead to her career, her time at Stanislaus State has been memorable.
“From my initial interactions with professors during the application process to my experiences as a student, I witnessed firsthand the dedication and commitment of the faculty members in supporting their students,” she said. “They fostered an environment where students could build meaningful professional relationships, seek guidance and receive valuable mentorship.”
Beyond that, Vardeh sought programs and opportunities to help her reach her goals.
“They highlight the importance of getting involved, utilizing campus resources and advocating for oneself,” she said.
Master of Arts in Education with focus on educational technology
What memories stand out most from your time at Stanislaus State?
“I am grateful for the numerous milestones and achievements that have shaped my academic and professional journey. The opportunities afforded to me through the McNair Scholars and Noyce Scholars programs, along with the recognition I received for my research and the financial support I obtained, have propelled me forward in my field. I am proud of the impact I have made and look forward to continuing my pursuit of knowledge and contributing to the education sector.”
Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?
“I have deep gratitude to my late professor, Dr. Viji Sundar, who introduced me to the world of teaching. Her guidance, knowledge and unwavering support were instrumental in shaping my passion for education.
“Throughout my participation in the Noyce Scholars program, Dr. Björg Jóhannsdóttir consistently advocated for my growth and pushed me to reach new heights as a Noyce Scholar and was my McNair Scholars research mentor.
“Dr. Veronica Chaidez’s expertise and dedication have enriched my pedagogical skills and Dr. Jamie Gravell served as my mentor during my graduate research.”
What advice would you give to current and future students?
“Engaging with various student organizations, clubs and activities not only enriches your college experience but also provides invaluable opportunities for growth and learning. Networking with fellow students can offer a wealth of knowledge and insights that go beyond what you learn in the classroom.
“Additionally, I encourage you to take advantage of academic support centers, career services, counseling and mentorship programs.
“Believe in your own potential and actively seek opportunities to showcase your talents and accomplishments.”
Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2023. Read more StanGrad profiles.