The rule was clear in the community college math class taught by CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) alumnus Janine Bundy.

“If our cell phone rang, we had to bring a treat for the class,” wrote one student. “And she ended up having her cell phone ring every time and bringing us amazing treats each class!”

 It is this sort of human touch combined with her skill as a math instructor that turned some of Bundy’s math avoidant students into math majors. She credits her love of baking treats to her “sweet pea” of a mother, and her skills as a math instructor to CSUCI’s Master’s of Mathematics (M.S.) program, which is part of CSUCI Extended University.

“We have three types of students,” said Professor of Mathematics Jorge Garcia, Ph.D., who is the MS Mathematics Program Director and also taught for the program. “We have students who want to go into education in high schools and colleges, we have another type of student who would like to go into industry or work for the Army or the Navy—in this case Port Hueneme is hiring a lot of our graduates— and we have M.S. Math students who plan to go on to a Ph.D. program.”

Graduates of the M.S. Math program who have all gotten jobs immediately after graduation say the flexibility of the program combined with the outstanding quality of the M.S. Math faculty allow all types of students to excel—especially the non-traditional student who is coming back to school and needs to coordinate classes with professional and family responsibilities.

“I love the Math master’s program,” said 2014 M.S. Math alumna Kristin Tejeda, who landed a job teaching math at California Lutheran University (Cal Lu). “There were small class sizes with relatively inexpensive tuition. Instructors were always available to help. They genuinely cared about your success overall.”          

Tejeda said she spent many office hours with Garcia and Professor of Mathematics Ivona Grzegorczyk, Ph.D., often with her infant son.

“My first son was born when I was doing the master’s program,” Tejeda said. “He was born in November, I went to Thursday classes, and on Sunday he was born, so I had to take an incomplete. But both Dr. Garcia and Dr. Grzegorczyk are parents, so they were super understanding and gave me the time I needed to finish the classes I needed.”

Tejeda was the first in her generation to attend college, and in Valencia, “it was just assumed you were going to college,” she said. “I didn’t I didn’t even know you had to apply for college. I thought you just showed up.”

Tejeda later attended Cal Poly to study engineering, but after meeting her future husband—whom she was tutoring at the time—she transferred to CSU Northridge (CSUN) to be closer to him, then graduated from CSUN in 2009 with a degree in math and a teaching credential. She learned about CSUCI while doing a research project with Professor of Mathematics Cynthia Wyels, Ph.D.

Now, Tejeda and her husband have two sons who appear to take after their mom. Once, their dad made a mistake with the multiple of “x” and their younger son, now 7, said:

“Daddy! You need to go back to kindergarten!”

Bundy was working full-time for IBM when she decided to join the M.S. math program many years after graduating from California Polytechnic University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, then going on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Cal Lu.

Born in Ventura and raised in Camarillo, Bundy was inspired to go into teaching when she filled in as a substitute teacher at Somis Elementary School, where her mom, Marilyn Bundy, taught. Pairing food and treats with math was something Marilyn practiced regularly.

“My mom is thoughtful and hospitable and she knew some of the kids hadn’t had anything to eat that morning,” Bundy said. “She would bring in cereal and apples.”

When Bundy was asked to fill in for an aide in class at Somis, she agreed, taking a cue from her mom and bringing in graham crackers.

“I would break them into halves and fourths and teach about fractions,” Bundy said. “I would bake cookies and make white chocolate suckers with numbers on them.”

The superintendent happened to walk by Bundy’s class and saw that the kids were mesmerized. By the time the semester ended, kids who were only supposed to learn the basics were doing algebra.

“That’s when I caught the teaching bug,” Bundy said. “And my mom said, ‘You know, Channel Islands has this Math Master’s program….”

Bundy now teaches at Ventura College and loves it. Like Tejeda, she praised the faculty and the flexibility of the program with a special nod to Garcia, whose humanity and humor in class helped inspire her to be the teacher she is today, and to Wyels and Grzegorczyk, who always went above and beyond to help her succeed.

“They allowed me to take one class at a time, and the faculty bent over backwards to see I succeeded,” Bundy said. “I did not major in math as an undergrad so the faculty let me sit in on classes and ask them questions. It really was, for me, the epitome of what an education should be. The faculty’s willingness to help and their ability was off the charts.”

Garcia takes pride in the fact that the M.S. program is filling a critical need in the larger community.

“Our program feeds our local community colleges with teachers,” he said. “We have students who have been hired in all three local community colleges who are full-time. Even if a student is not finished with their master’s they have been hired because there is a need for math teachers at every single educational level.”

To learn more about CSUCI Extended University’s M.S. Mathematics program, visit:

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