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Math Star

Assistant Math Professor Jason Samuels
Assistant Math Professor Jason Samuels
February 9, 2012

When Jason Samuels, an Assistant Professor in BMCC’s Mathematics department, heard about the STaR Fellowship from a colleague last year, he decided to apply—and he’s so glad he did.

STaR stands for Service, Teaching, and Research, and fellowships are granted to those who possess a promising early career in mathematics education. The fellowship is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Samuels recently learned that he was one of 34 people—and the only community college professor—to receive a 2012 fellowship. This summer, he’ll further immerse himself in the world of math education, as he studies at a research institute in Park City, Utah.

STaR was designed, in part, to respond to the shortage of people with doctorates in mathematics education. Samuels completed his doctorate in 2010 at Columbia University.

Understanding math

“Many people don’t understand what math is about—it’s a way of thinking and problem solving,” said Samuels, who co-coaches the BMCC Math team. “It allows you to think in a logical way; not as a collection of arbitrary rules. I’ll oftentimes ask my calculus students, ‘How does this apply to the real world?’”

In Park City, Samuels expects to find “a greenhouse of ideas with math educators and researchers from different working groups.”

“I’m personally interested in learning more about Technology in Math Education and the Training of High School Math Teachers,” he said. “When I’m in Park City, the Park City Math Institute will be holding a conference there, which is great because they’re pretty prestigious.”

Samuels recently created a calculus curriculum reorganized around technology that is being utilized at BMCC and other schools, nationwide.

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