SUU to Everywhere

Malina Oberg (’10)

Malina Oberg (’10)
SUU to Math Teacher

Originally published on March 30, 2021.

Malina Oberg always wanted to become a school teacher and Southern Utah University provided the means for achieving that goal. Today, she is a 10th grade math teacher at Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman, Utah.

Born in Washington State on Whidbey Island, Malina and her family moved to Roy, Utah, when she was 14 years old. It was while she was a student and peer tutor at Roy High School that she discovered how much she truly loved teaching and helping others learn the challenging subject of math.

“Math wasn’t always the easiest for me, but I enjoyed discovering new and unique ways to learn and teach it,” she says.

Malina enrolled at SUU in the fall of 2007 as a secondary mathematics education major and credits her alma mater for preparing her to be an effective teacher. She learned the importance of hard work, that students learn in multiple ways, and—importantly—if she would be creative in her teaching approach, she would do amazing things.

And she is doing amazing things.

Malina “flipped” her classroom this year and now sends lessons and lectures home via video for her students to watch. In-person classroom time is now devoted to completing assignments, eliminating the dependence on parents for math help at home. Students are flourishing, and Malina loves being a personal tutor to students each day. She says the “flipped classroom” approach is something she will continue to do for years to come.

Prior to teaching at Mountain Ridge, Malina taught and served as department chair at Oquirrh Hills Middle School, and was recognized by her peers as the teacher of the year during the 2016-2017 school year.

Of her SUU experience, Malina recognizes professors James Brandt and Sarah Duffin for making a difference in her educational experience. Prof. Brandt helped her with “proofs,” and she says she never would have made it through college without him. And Prof. Duffin taught her that teaching is not just about the math, it is about the students. That lesson has stuck with Malina ever since.

Her favorite SUU memories include living with “amazing women” who filled her sophomore year with fun, laughter, learning, and growth. Malina was also a member and president of the Student Alumni Association and says she had a lot of fun with that organization.

“I loved doing the finals survival kits each year and getting lost trying to deliver them,” she remembers. “I loved all of the relationships that I made there. It was a highlight.”

Malina and husband Preston (’11 & ’17)), whom she met in an education class at SUU, live in Herriman, Utah, with their two sons: seven-year-old Emerson and three-year-old Declan. She loves to read, do crafts, and has recently picked up photography. In addition to her regular class load, she also teaches a college prep math class.

“I love my cute sophomores, and I love getting students prepared for college and helping them be ready for the world of math outside of their small bubble,” she says.