An interest in both teaching and human rights brought Wei “Toby” Xinhai to UConn from his home in China, but he hopes to stay in Connecticut after graduation to work as a teacher – bringing the “joy of productive struggles in math” to future generations of students.
Why did you choose UConn?
UConn was a good mix of what my parents wanted and what I wanted. My parents wanted high-ranking universities, and I wanted a dedicated education program and was very interested in human rights. After learning this is where the Dodd Center and Neag were located, it was a no-brainer choice for me.
What’s your program of study and why did you choose it?
My program of study is the Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) at the Neag School of Education for Secondary Mathematic Education. I chose this program because I want to make an impact in the future generations and spread joy of productive struggles in math. (Yes, math can be hard and fun at the same time!)
What are your plans after graduation?
Hopefully, I will be able to teach somewhere in Connecticut.
What activities were you involved with as a student?
I was the student director for the Human Rights and Actions House for two years while working with the Community Outreach Office. I also participated in the UConn Gaming Club, which was a blast. Of course, a lot of tutoring programs and educational outreach organizations.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
Meeting different people and exchanging cultural experience helped me to get a feel of encountering the diversity that exists in the world. Not to mention that Neag guided me to get a teaching certificate!
Any advice for incoming first-year students?
Be open to ideas and experiences. And start thinking about financing if you haven’t already.
What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
Ask professors about their projects or research! Seeing their excitement about knowledge is inspiring.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Megan Staple, she is my Connecticut mom. Since I’m so far away from home, I don’t get to go back home just for a short holiday break. So, I partake in holiday traditions here through her family!