Featured Colleague: Sidra Van De Car Combines Math and Psychology to Empower Students

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

By Jennifer Keefe

Some of us may have not-so-fond memories of our college math courses as challenging and difficult. Fortunately for today’s students, math professors like Sidra Van De Car present a different side of what is, for some, a difficult subject.

Sidra sees herself as more of a facilitator. She explains, “I create learning experiences that allow students to get introduced to new information, take steps toward mastery and discover more about how they learn in the process.”

As the advisor to the Women in STEM Club (WiSTEM) at Valencia, she helps students to focus on the future.

“I work with students to empower them to engage in activities that let them have a deeper dive into their intended careers and provide social opportunities for them to build relationships that will support them in the future,” she says.

But students aren’t the only people she’s molding at the College.

Sidra currently serves as assistant director for the Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA) and before that was a TLA program facilitator.

“Working with faculty, I act as a sounding board to help them best define the work and efforts they want to bring to life in the classroom,” she explains.

As if that’s not enough, Sidra was just named as the principal investigator on a $1.23 million National Science Foundation – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Grant awarded to the College in 2021.

Dean of Mathematics Keri Siler says Sidra is a big asset to her team.

“Sidra is a great thought partner,” she explains. “She has wonderful ideas to support both colleagues and students.”

Sidra says she has a deep appreciation for all Valencia does for our community.

“I like that we do work that matters, that we truly affect our students in ways that change their lives,” she says. “Mostly, however, I like that we do it as a family.”

Sidra enjoys the innovative spirit of the College and her colleagues’ commitment to teaching.

“What inspires me most is seeing my colleagues engaged in outstanding innovations,” she explains. “I love seeing my friends at the College step up to try something new in their teaching or engaging with colleagues in other departments to try to improve the student experience.”

Sidra incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to her work at the College because she’s a multidisciplinarian herself.

In fact, she holds separate Ph.D. degrees in both mathematics and applied experimental and human factors psychology, both of which figure into her approach to working with students at all levels.

When she’s not at work, Sidra says she enjoys time with family and friends. She also likes to travel, learn new things, and “Mayhem. I really enjoy causing general mayhem.”

She also likes going to the theater, quiz and trivia games, and trying new things like painting or crafts.

She describes her love for new things this way: “I enjoy challenging myself and proving the old saying that ‘you have to start somewhere!’”

Sidra has also contributed to, co-authored and proofread several papers in psychology.

For Sidra, Valencia is both a home and a family of colleagues, one she really appreciates being part of.

She explains, “I value very highly the remarkable experiences and opportunities I’ve had as a member of the faculty at Valencia, especially the incredibly diverse and talented faculty and staff who always impress me with their skills, knowledge, ingenuity and devotion to this community of learning.”

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Lisa Macon said:

    Congratulations on a great write-up Sidra! Well deserved – you're awesome. It's been my pleasure to know and work with you from our UCF grad student days to now!

    PMTue, 04 Jan 2022 16:55:35 +0000Tue, 04 Jan 2022 16:55:35 +0000pm22,4:55 pm

  • Nichole Segarra said:

    Sidra is an amazing faculty member and leader of Valencia's math team! So great to see her recognized 🙂

    PMTue, 04 Jan 2022 16:59:29 +0000Tue, 04 Jan 2022 16:59:29 +0000pm22,4:59 pm

  • Allie Yadav said:

    Congrats on this well-deserved recognition, Sidra! Your innovative mind and dedication to our students is evident to everyone who gets to work alongside you!

    AMThu, 06 Jan 2022 11:28:06 +0000Thu, 06 Jan 2022 11:28:06 +0000am22,11:28 am

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