In the eyes of Margaret Lynne West, learning is always an adventure. She loves the constant opportunity for discovery, enlightenment, and improvement, and has dedicated her life to helping others feel the same. Dr. West started her teaching journey at the age of 10, when she discovered she really enjoyed showing her stuffed bears how to do math. In 1976, she obtained her first professional position as a mathematics teacher for Harrison County Schools, and the rest was history. She proceeded to become a mathematics teacher at Ocean Springs High School, a mathematics teacher and department chair at Mercy Cross High School, a computer science teacher and department chair at Biloxi Public Schools, an adjunct faculty member for the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the Keesler Air Force Base, an instructor at the Center for Academically Talented and Gifted Youth at Johns Hopkins University, and a computer science and mathematics instructor at the Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Now, Dr. West is lending her services as a part-time computer science and mathematics research instructor to William Carie University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Mississippi Gulf Community College, and as an adjunct faculty member to the Gulf Park Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
The highlight of Dr. West’s career thus far has been getting to guide and help students. She always makes it a point to get to know her students as people, and is thrilled when they take her advice and succeed. Over the years, she garnered a reputation for making difficult subjects easy to swallow, particularly statistics, research, mathematics, and computer science, and for fostering talent. A moment that stood out was when Dr. West noticed that a girl in her class was underestimating herself. Dr. West spoke to the girl, who was on a nursing track, and helped her achieve her true dream of becoming a doctor.
Outside of teaching, Dr. West was very active in her community. She was the co-author of a state computer literature course, a fellow of the National Science Foundation, and a participant in the summer industrial fellowship for teachers at the Naval Oceanographic Command of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Economic Development Council, and Johnson Controls World Services, Inc. To this day, she remains a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mississippi Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mississippi Educational Computing Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and Delta Kappa Gamma.
Dr. West prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Education, and a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1976, 1979, and 2001, respectively. She also completed postgraduate coursework at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. West considers one of her greatest achievements to be her doctorate dissertation on gender inequity in computer science. It has been quoted or named more than 100 times. Looking to the future, she hopes to further her education a degree in Jewish studies.
When Dr. West isn’t working, she likes to keep busy with hobbies like knitting, crocheting, playing piano, swimming, singing, and reading. She is also a church treasurer, pianist, choir member, and Sunday school teacher.