Featured Alumnus: Deianeara Johnson

Everybody needs somebody to believe in her or him, and I was lucky to have a team that was confident in my success.

Below is Deianeara Johnson’s (TCP Milton) college essay:

It was the summer after seventh grade, “You are going to math camp Deianeara.” The tone in my mom’s voice told me that arguing was pointless. I was going to math camp and that was final. Let me tell you though, I was not going down without a fight. I spent the next couple of weeks making up every excuse in the book, pleading with my mom to let me enjoy a summer with my girls. Wen the first day of math camp came around, I laced up my beat up Converse and marched out the door. Little did I know that was the beginning go my love for math. 

It has been five years since I started the Calculus Project. Adrian Mims founded the Calculus Project, to increase the number of minority students in high level math classes. The teachers of Calculus Project introduced me to new math topic over the summer and tutored me during the school year. When I started Calculus Project, I was introduced to a support system of teachers and friends who believed in me even at times when I did not believed in myself. I am especially thankful to have had teachers who pushed me and motivated me because they believed in my potential. Ms. Meunier and Ms. Losi made math more enjoyable for me. When I started the Calculus Project, I did not have faith in my math skills. In the beginning, I was easily frustrated if something did not make sense. However, Ms. Meunier and Ms. Losi did not give up on me. They motivated me to be a better student and helped me exceed the expectation of myself. At my house, my brothers were the main focus during my transition from middle school to high school. So I looked for advice and found mentorship within the Calculus Project. 

Now in my twelfth grade year, I find myself wondering who I would be without the Calculus Project. It was seventh grade when I noticed a lack of color in my advanced level math class. All my middle school years, I looked around and saw people who did not look like me. Especially since I had come from a diverse on-level class the year before. It shocked me. I felt intimidated about asking and answering questions. I wanted to drop out and would have if my mom ha not persuaded me otherwise. The Calculus Project helped me find confidence in my math abilities, and brought diversity to my math classroom. Eight grade and the years following were different because Calculus Project encouraged other kids of color to join. Being supported by teachers and students alike made mat class more enjoyable. 

The Calculus Project led to many opportunities, broadened my horizons, and helped me take chances on myself. Through the Calculus Project, I became a math tutor. I was able to indulge in my love for math while supporting other Calculus Project students in their journey. Calculus Project also helped me find direction towards my future: a career in computer science. The Calculus Project introduced me to Girls Who Code, a seven week program that helps girls build a foundation in coding skills. Those seven weeks inspired me to become a support for minorities in STEM. Everybody needs somebody to belied in her or him, and I was lucky to have a team that was confident in my success.