Conferences, Workshops, and Enrichment Teaching Highlight Busy Summer for SM Math Department

Posted: July 3, 2012

This summer, several members of the St. Mark’s Mathematics Department have been very busy, taking part in a variety of professional development programs. Karen Bryant, Rick Umiker, Allyson Brown, Doug Piper, and Lauren Riva are among those taking advantage of these enrichment opportunities.

For six days in late June, Department Chair Karen Bryant was joined by Mr. Umiker and Mr. Piper at the 28th annual Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics, Science and Technology, held on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. The primary emphasis of the conference concerned mathematics focusing on the impact and applications of technology in the classroom and the role of technology in today's and tomorrow's mathematics and science curricula. Educators from eleven states in the U.S. (as well as from Canada, Scotland, and Australia) led the more than 50 workshops and sessions, while university professors and education specialists were featured presenters.

Throughout the summer, Doug Piper has also continued teaching. Mr. Piper is on the faculty of Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center, “educating children of promise since 1965.” The Double Discovery program at Columbia is an intense 6-week summer program, and Piper will be working with 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, “most of whom,” he says, “are potential first generation college students.”

Somewhat closer to home, St. Mark’s math teacher Allyson Brown travels to Worcester for WPI’s STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-and-Math) Education Center’s Summer Robotics Institute for Educators. The Summer Institute offers workshops that weave together robotics content and practice with STEM education pedagogy, supporting teachers in the field of robotics.

Finally, in mid-July, Lauren Riva, new Director of the St. Mark’s Institute of Mathematics, will be attending the 5th annual Math Circle Summer Teacher Institute on the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, IN. The Math Circle is a program founded in 1994, designed for students who enjoy math and want the added challenge of exciting and mathematically rigorous concepts and topics that are normally outside average school curricula. Since 2004, the St. Mark’s Institute of Mathematics has been successful in its mission to enhance, promote, and foster creative mathematical thinking, high-level intellectual awareness and achievement, and enjoyment of the subject, as well as to provide community outreach of mathematical excellence.

These and other members of the St. Mark’s Math Department will return in the fall, enriched and energized to bring their experiences from the summer into their classrooms for the 2012-13 academic year.