UTM Math professor wins Fulbright Scholarship
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 14:10
The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) recently announced that Dr. Karoline Pershell, UTM assistant professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.
Pershell will travel to India in the spring 2013 semester where she will teach mathematics at the college level and collect data regarding methods of mathematics education so as to understand, interpret and then integrate the successful practices of the host institution into her own teaching methods. This data will focus on the preparedness of the mathematics students to transition to higher-order thinking and the retention of women in mathematical disciplines.
“As the largest democracy, and with some of the highest mathematics and science scores internationally, India holds a fantastic opportunity for me to grow as a math educator. In addition to the mutual learning of classroom techniques and standards between my host institution and myself, I also am in a unique position as a woman mathematician in a country where the representation of women in math is disproportionately low,” Pershell said.
In addition to teaching in India, Pershell will conduct research toward understanding why more women in India do not pursue careers in mathematics.
“The major objective of this fellowship is to identify the overlooked resources that are positively contributing to social change in the United States by identifying what these women believe are the reasons for the success of their American counterparts,” she said.
Numerous reports and articles describe a noticeable gap in the United States when it comes to equally educating its populace. To understand the nuances of the problem, Pershell will gather both quantitative and qualitative data on the population of female mathematicians in academics in India.
By constructing a comprehensive picture of the current status of female mathematicians in India, she will examine the collegiate mathematics positions held by women across that country, even looking at the graduate student population, if data are available. She will then assess if the U.S. model of the pipeline for women in math is a feasible model for other countries.
To understand how female mathematicians have succeeded, she will collect stories and perspectives of women mathematicians who have stayed in the career academic route. The purpose of this project is to investigate the experiences they have had in their own country compared to their perceptions of mathematics in the United States.
The objective is to identify the overlooked resources that are positively contributing to social change in the United States by identifying what these women believe are the reasons for the success of their American counterparts. By identifying the career roadblocks that are shared across cultures, Pershell will unpack the social context of impediments of women in mathematics to be overcome here in the United States.
The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), the scholar division of the Institute of International Education, is well known for its expertise and extensive experience in conducting international exchange programs for scholars and university administrators. For the past 60 years, CIES has administered the Fulbright Scholar Program, the United States flagship academic exchange effort, on behalf of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since 1996, CIES has been a division of the Institute of International Education (IIE), a premier nonprofit educational and cultural exchange organization established in 1919.
For more information about the CIES, visit their webpage at www.cies.org/fulbright/.