Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet Elizabeth Fry!

Hi! My name is Elizabeth Fry, but a lot of people call me Liz. I’m a brand new student in the statistics education PhD program at the University of Minnesota. I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and when I finished high school, I moved to the U.S. to start college at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where I majored in math and French. By my senior year, I knew that I enjoyed statistics and was interested in teaching, but needed a little break from school–so after graduation, I spent a year doing Lutheran Volunteer Corps, where I worked with youth in Chicago. 

From Mexico to Minnesota, welcome Liz!
After that year, I got married to my husband Matt, and we moved to Columbus, Ohio, where I started graduate school in statistics at The Ohio State University (OSU). While I was at OSU, I was a statistics TA for a year, and I also pursued a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in College and University Teaching (yes, that’s a mouthful, but we also call it GIST for short). As part of the GIST, I was mentored by Dr. Jackie Miller, who introduced me to research in statistics education–who knew that there was a discipline that combined my interests in statistics and teaching so perfectly? And who knew there was a whole PhD program in it? After leaving Ohio State with my Masters in Statistics, I taught introductory statistics at Columbus State Community College for a year, applied and got in to the statistics education PhD program, and now here I am in Minneapolis, Minnesota! I’m excited to be in a new Midwestern state!

This semester I am taking three classes:  EPSY 5221 (Principles of Educational & Psychological Measurement), EPSY 5244 (Survey Design, Sampling, & Implementation), and EPSY 5247 (Qualitative Methods in Educational Psychology). I’m also a research assistant for the e-ATLAS (Evaluation and Assessment of Teaching and Learning about Statistics) project. I am looking forward to learning a lot this semester and advancing in my career as a statistics educator!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Catalysts for Change Blog: New Features

The Catalysts for Change Blog has recently undergone some changes of its own.

  • Follow by Email: This will send an email to you when the blog has been updated! To make use of this feature, enter your email address in the "Follow by Email" subscription field (on the right-side of the page)

  • Publications Page: This page lists the recent (and some not-so-recent) publications by the Catalysts for Change. We have also added links to any of the publications that are available online.

  • Presentations Page: On this page, we have added the presentations that have been made by the Catalysts for Change. These are in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent. We have linked to PDFs of the slides from some of these presentations.

    Welcome, CATALST Implementers!

    The following statistics instructors are coming from all over the United States to visit the University of Minnesota this fall. Their goal is to see the CATALST course in action and to gain some insight for when they teach their own version of the CATALST course.

    Jennifer Noll            September 7th and September 8th
    Joe Nowakowski     September 12th and September 13th
    Jim Albert                September 20th
    Sheila Weaver         September 28th and September 29th
    Dean Nelson           October 6th
    Sabrina Ripp           October 10th and October 11th
    Terri Pigott               Late Fall

    During their time in Minneapolis, they will be able to see how CATALST classes really work by observing some of them in person and experiencing their unique and vibrant atmosphere. The University of Minnesota instructors they will be observing are Andrew Zieffler, Laura Le, Rebekah Isaak and Laura Ziegler. The implementers will have a chance to chat with these instructors as well as with Joan Garfield and Robert delMas if they have questions related to teaching methods and the CATALIST curriculum. In addition to conversations about how the CATALST group does things, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussions on how the implementers can use and adapt the CATALST materials in their own teaching.

    Jennifer Noll and Robert delMas discuss the finer details of learning to cook...I mean eat.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Meet Anelise Sabbag!

    Hi everyone!

    I hope I can stay with that smile until the end of the program!
    My name is Anelise Sabbag and I am an international master's student from Brazil. I arrived here in Minneapolis 4 weeks ago and I am still getting used to my new life style here in the U.S. Like most Brazilians I have never seen snow but I hope with God’s help and the right clothes I can survive Minnesota’s winter!

    My undergraduate degree was in Statistics at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil and as soon as I started studying I was gently forced to teach my friend’s daughter who was having a hard time in math and physics at school. That was my first step towards teaching and I ended up loving it! I worked as an instructor in reinforcement schools and autonomously for eight years, tutoring mostly high school students.  

    Once I was done with my undergraduate degree it was time to work in the area, but after a short experience as a professional in statistics I realized that teaching was much more rewarding and fun than any other profession.  Being a teacher is the first step to change the world and make a difference! As an instructor you can interact directly with students, help them overcome subject barriers and show them the real meaning of numbers and graphics! On the other hand working as a statistician usually means interacting with the screen of your computer for loooong hours!

    So on one hand I had statistics and on the other education…what to do now?  Well, the best solution I came up with was looking for a master's degree that could combine those two areas of interest. By that time, I found out about the master's degree in Quantitative Methods in Education at the University of Minnesota. The perfect mix! Now that I started this program, I just need to successfully complete it in order to become a competent professor of statistics!