Kicking Back With Kate Pettrey


Baton Rouge – Kate Pettrey is a 3rd Year Education, Curriculum and Instruction, PhD Student in the College of Human Sciences & Education at Louisiana State University.  

Pettrey is originally from Rochester, NY. Today she shares her experiences, goals, and gives some advice to her fellow Tigers.  Image of Kate Pettrey

Involvement and Achievements

Pettrey is a graduate assistant for Dr. Paul Mooney in the School of Education’s Special Education Department. She tells us that one of her favorite parts of work is teaching undergraduate preservice dual certification (special education/general education) majors during their junior and senior years and supervising their fieldwork in West Baton Rouge Parish. She believes that it is a true joy to be able to mentor and support undergraduate students.  

Pettrey has been honored through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics by receiving a Mathematics Education Trust grant for action research in the area of error analysis in Mathematics. She has also spoken at the Louisiana Educational Research Association conference in 2020 and 2021.  

Why Education?

Pettrey notes that her background may be a little different from others. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Virgina Tech in Mechanical Engineering. She went on to work in NASA’s Mission Control for the Space Shuttle. When that chapter of her life was over, she earned her teaching certifications in Texas where she taught math.  

She decided to attend LSU for her PhD so she could learn how to better help students who struggle in mathematics. She hoped that by doing this, she can also offer resources and supply information to other teachers who want to help their students.  

Goals After Graduation

Pettrey plans to open a math center at LSU where any student who struggles in math could be evaluated and offered a learning plan that would suit his/her individual needs. She says that ideally, it would offer tutoring as well as professional development options.  

Advice To Current Students

"Find a good mentor who is caring, supportive, and thoughtful!"

Closing Thoughts

Pettrey would like to remind everyone to remember that how you speak to children about math greatly impacts their thoughts and feelings about mathematics. She asks that people be mindful about phrases like “I am not good at math,” and remember that if you wouldn’t say something about another school subject, saying it about math could hurt more than it helps.