I joined the mathematics department in 2005. I teach a wide range of undergraduate mathematics courses, focusing on introductory statistics courses. I am also very involved with Ithaca College's graduate teacher education programs: I teach a mathematics course for future elementary teachers, a graduate seminar in mathematics education, and I supervise student teachers during their professional semester.
My research interests are in mathematics education, which is a field that uses tools from psychology, philosophy, history, sociology, and literary criticism (and more!) to investigate how people learn and understand mathematics.
In particular, I am interested in the way the words and symbols we use while doing mathematics shape the way we participate in mathematical activity. As Brian Rotman, a mathematician and semiotician, writes:
Mathematical signs play a creative rather than merely descriptive function in mathematical practice. Those things which are 'described'... and the means by which they are described... are mutually constitutive: each causes the presence of the other; so that mathematicians at the same time think their scribbles and scribble their thoughts.
That is, when we do mathematics, we interact with representations to think about mathematical ideas, and these ideas are what enable us to create the representations. In this way, things like algebraic notation, graphs on a computer, or math textbooks are thinking tools: they are the product of mathematical thought and, at the same time, enable us to think about mathematics. I am interested in analyzing the way we create these tools and how their aspects can help or hinder us as we try to do mathematics.