Degrees and Certifications:
Dr. Susan Lagrone
A ' little ' about me...
Some people say that I do not sound like I am from Alabama, yet I am. Born and raised in Tuscaloosa (won't say what year!). My teaching vocation was inspired by family members who were teachers and my own public schooling. I owe my sewing ability to a dear teacher I had in middle school, Mrs. Smith. She was so kind and helpful and so much more than a teacher as she took a real interest in us personally. In High School I was allowed to TA my math classes and Mrs. Ruby Miller was my first great math mentor. She is retired now, but still teaches at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa. Mr. Wilkinson was my Algebra II teacher and he had a special way of teaching which utilized a class president. I don't know how I was elected, because I did not apply for the job. Terrified because he informed me after the class election that my role as such was to get up in front of the class and teach anytime he had to run next door to the supply store. See he was the faculty sponsor of the school supply store, really just a window where students could purchase pencils, paper, or any item they needed for class. Well, I thought he must be kidding me, so the first time he exited the room I stayed seated. He definitely chastised me upon his return and restated my duties as class president in a firm and commanding voice. Next time I got up and performed my duties. Classroom management! I learned quickly that as a student I had none, but Mr. Wilkinson saw that they listened. These African American teachers had the earliest influence on my teaching style.
At Shelton State College I reconnected with Mrs. Miller as she was my calculus teacher. She scheduled me to be a peer tutor and began to nurture me as a math major. I was also taking science courses and had two wonderful professors in chemistry, Dr. Lee Albritton and Dr. Sanki Sherrer who mentored me in science. I began to work as a lab assistant for general and organic chemistry under their supervision.
I received the first President's Award (President Sumter) from Shelton State College, Math award, Ecology Award, and won a full scholarship to the University of Alabama as a double major, math and chemistry.
My greatest influence at UA was well loved by all who had him, at least all who passed him! Dr. D. F. Smith. He was the hardest teacher I have ever had to date and the one who taught me how to study! He receives all the credit for my ability to pass cumulative written exams my first year at Rice University (I was the only first year student to achieve a passing score). I catch myself using his mannerisms and style in my teaching!
I graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Chemistry from the University of Alabama. Dr. John Margrave, my advisor at Rice, offered a summer internship so I took that instead of my last math class required for the bachelors degree in mathematics.
I earned my Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Rice University. I taught math and chemistry part time at Jefferson State College while raising my children, adding high school teaching in math and science. I am proud to be at ASFA and feel that I have come full circle.
Dissertation Link: https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/16249/9012818.PDF?sequence=1
Besides teaching at ASFA and coaching Science Competitions, I love flowers, especially wildflowers (some call these weeds!), working in my yard, ringing change bells at my church, cantoring, spending time with my family, and listening to folk music.