MGF 1106: Mathematics for Liberal Arts 1
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Abdellah Naanaa’s professional career is amazing. He successfully moved from the journalism field to a mathematics vocation as he relocated from his native country to the United States. Abdellah received his B. A. in Journalism from ISIC (Institut Superieur de l’Information et de la Communication) in 1974, Rabat (Morocco). Then he worked as a journalist for almost 30 years in several media, newspapers, and radio-tv stations throughout Morocco. He also taught journalism studies at “Institut Superieur du Journalism et de l’Information” in Casablanca. Both his education and his professional career required the use of French and Arabic languages which are the official languages in Morocco. Abdellah was fluent in both. He also had some intermediate knowledge of the English language that he learned in high school.
In 2005, Abdellah moved with his wife to Miami following their three children who emigrated to the USA a few years earlier. Once in Miami, Abdellah faced a real challenge: How to find a job in journalism when you don’t master either the English-American nor Spanish languages? Besides some tutoring courses in French and Arabic delivered to private students, he was forced to accept a part-time job in the plumbing department at a Home-Depot store in Miami. However, he wasn’t earning enough to make a living. Luckily, his children were there to help. But Abdellah was not satisfied with his situation. He was convinced that he had the potential to improve his career in the United States, the country of opportunities.
When looking for job openings online and in newspaper ads, he noticed that the profession of Mathematics Instructors was in high demand in South Florida and elsewhere. So, he decided that was the job that he must strive to get. What encouraged him to set that goal is that he remembered that he was a very good student in mathematics in high school, before moving to the school of journalism. However, he knew that he stopped learning mathematics since 1969, the year he graduated from high school. But Abdellah wasn’t one to let an initial difficulty hold him back. What convinced him is that he still loves mathematics. But did he still remember the basic rules of Algebra from high school, learned in French? To test himself, he started learning beginning algebra on his own and was excited to discover that it wasn’t so hard for him to keep up with the demonstrations in English since mathematics science is universal. He then registered in Miami Dade College, at Wolfson Campus to take intermediate algebra courses. He next moved to Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and finally, to Nova Southeastern University to complete his graduate mathematics courses with a master’s degree in mathematics in 2009.
Abdellah Naanaa started teaching college-level mathematics at Miami Dade College in 2009. Then he was offered to teach the same curriculum at Broward College in 2011. He is still working at both colleges.
To some of his new students who, from time to time, approach him saying that they have difficulty understanding the math course they are taking because they left school for three or four years, Abdellah likes repeating his story, and then concluding: “Look at me. I stopped learning mathematics in 1969! More than 40 years ago. Now I am teaching it!”. This simple answer is enough to motivate his students to successfully keep up with the course.