All in the Family
Pace University School of Education student Maria Minafra always knew she wanted to become a teacher. And not just because her mother, Donna Minafra, received a teaching degree from Pace more than a decade ago.
"My sixth grade math teacher [at Westlake Middle School in Thornwood] really inspired me,” Minafra said, “Mrs. Nazaruck—she was very passionate about math and extremely lively. A lot of people are scared of math and she inspired me to become a math teacher.”
Maria, an honors student, entered the School of Education in 2013 with a double major in Math and Adolescent Education. She is in the five-year master’s in educational technology program, as well.
More than two decades earlier, her mother studied biology and business at Pace and graduated with an MBA in Marketing Management. After working for nearly 10 years in pharmaceutical sales for Pfizer, Donna Minafra decided to return to Pace where she received her Master’s of Science in Teaching in 2005.
“Even though I enjoyed my career at Pfizer, I wanted to travel less and have a more family-friendly career,” Donna said. “While there, I spent many years in the training department and taught newly hired sales representatives about the human body and its diseases. I also worked on developing the curriculum that was taught to new hires. I realized at that point that I not only loved science, but I also loved teaching.”
Since 2005, Donna has been a middle school science teacher at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut. Maria has had the opportunity to see her mother teach and says that the School of Education provides students with an edge.
“Pace’s Education program is just very hands-on and interactive,” Maria said. “Getting into the classroom early is so helpful for me. And the TeachLivE Avatar is great, too. It allows you to get realistic feedback from students and provides hands-on experience.”
Maria is scheduled to receive her master’s degree in the spring of 2018. While she’s open to whatever math teaching opportunities come her way, there might be one that is particularly exciting to her.
“What if we end up working together at the same school?” Maria laughed. “I would definitely do it! That would be great.”