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2015 — Year in Review

I always enjoy taking time at the end of the year to review my blog.  It’s a great way to reflect on what I did and what I was thinking about, and it always reminds me how busy the year was!  And 2015 was definitely a busy year.

The Presidential Award

awards_PAEMSTWithout a doubt, the highlight of my professional year was being named a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

I traveled to Washington, DC with other awardees to meet with representatives of the National Science Foundation, the National Academies of Science, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  And the highlight of trip was meeting President Obama at the White House!

The trip to DC was part of an active professional summer.   I presented my paper “Monte Carlo Art” at this year’s Bridges Math and Art conference, and the following week I ran a fun workshop called “Games on Graphs” at the MOVES conference at the Museum of Mathematics.  At the end of a very busy few weeks, I was surprised to find myself in this terrific New Yorker piece, “Cogito, Ergo, Summer” by Siobahn Roberts!


In addition to presenting at Bridges and MOVES this summer, I traveled to Washington, DC earlier this year to speak at a policy briefing hosted by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) during the first ever National Math Festival.  I spoke about building the profession of math teachers, and was a bit intimidated to follow Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Al Franken!  I also ran a variety of workshops on math and technology for teachers, and hosted Math for America’s 4th annual Master Teachers on Teaching, a great evening of talks from MfA Master Teachers.


I always try to do new things in my classroom and my school, and 2015 was no exception.  I’ve been having fun playing around with 3D-printing in a variety of classes, building demonstrations for geometric ideas, printing hard-to-imagine surfaces, and getting students creating with mathematics.  I continue to develop and teach an integrated mathematics and computer science course, and I have taken on a part-time role as our department’s instructional coach.


For a variety of reasons I write less frequently than I used to, but I did surpass 1,000 total blog posts this past year!  My work critiquing the New York State Regents exams continues to get attention,  and I was informally consulted for an excellent report by the Center for New York City Affairs about the serious issues facing New York state’s algebra exams that eventually caught the attention of the New York Times.  And I continued my work with the New York Times Learning Network, contributing math lessons on evaluating compulsory retirement savings plans and asking students “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?”

So a great year comes to an end, but here’s hoping 2016 is just as challenging, productive, and rewarding!

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