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Since the last newsletter, there have been some significant changes to the National Association of Math Circles (NAMC). This past November, David Eisenbud, the Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), welcomed Diana White as the new director. Below is a message from her to the math circle community.
Starting with Thanks
I am honored and humbled to serve the math circle community as NAMC Director. I’d like to thank Peter Trapa and Hugo Rossi, both from the University of Utah, for their contributions as the last two directors of NAMC. I’d also like to thank Brandy Wiegers, currently the associate director for NAMC and an assistant professor at Central Washington University, for her unending support of NAMC. She has provided continual leadership and support for NAMC since 2008, providing invaluable leadership and continuity. I would also like to thank MSRI for their extensive support of NAMC, particularly during my transition to director. Their team has worked quickly and effectively to make the transition as smooth as possible.
My graduate training in pure mathematics (commutative algebra) came from the University of Illinois and the University of Nebraska. I have been a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver since the summer of 2008, and I now specialized in mathematical outreach and teacher training. My own journey with math circles began that same summer, at the Legacy of R.L. Moore conference in Austin, TX. While there, longtime Math Circle leader Tatiana Shubin from San Jose State University, told me about Math Teachers’ Circles, and I was forever hooked. Together with a wonderful initial leadership team, I started the Rocky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle for middle level teachers in 2009, and it has run continuously ever since, now expanding to include an elementary component as well as several Math Students’ Circles.
Long-term planning for the future of NAMC is ongoing. Our current focus is on ensuring that NAMC provides in-depth support to Math Circle leaders. We want to continue to fund new and existing math circles, both for students and teachers, while increasing the level of intentionality behind our efforts. As a first step in this direction, we are developing a mentorship program that will connect novice and established circles. We are also looking to increase connections and synergy between Math Teachers’ Circles and Math Students’ Circles. For example, as part of pilot program in Denver, experienced Rocky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle participants are leading Math Students’ Circles at their schools.
We will enhance research and evaluation efforts, with a goal of having more concrete data to foster a deeper understanding of the impacts of math circles on both participants and leaders. We want to continue to support publication of materials that will support math circle leaders, growing the Math Circle Library and looking for other places to share the successes and lessons learned from our many Math Circle leaders. We are aggressively looking for funding for all of this work.
Upcoming NAMC Events
Over the next year NAMC will participate in the National Math Festival in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 18, an exciting booth at Mathfest in Washington D.C. in August 2015, and a revamped Circle on the Road that is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2016 in New York City.
Stay In Touch!
I am excited about getting to better know each of you and your Math Circles. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for general information about NAMC, or NAMC.email@example.com to reach me directly. Please stay in touch!
Director, National Association of Math Circles
Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver