National Impact: People's Choice Award
We are thrilled to announce that Primarily Math has been named the People’s Choice Award Winner in the NSF We Are Mathematics Video Competition! Thank you to everyone who voted for our Primarily Math video; we couldn’t have won without you and your ongoing support of Nebraska teachers. This competition aims to showcase NSF-supported work in mathematics and statistics, including applied mathematics and mathematics education. Our video, which highlights Primarily Math teachers who are improving the way math is taught and learned in Nebraska schools, was chosen as the winner out of 16 semi-finalists. It is fitting that we won following Teacher Appreciation Week, and we hope that you were celebrated for your outstanding work. Certainly, the winning of the People’s Choice Award demonstrates that our community appreciates its teachers. Share our good news with your friends, family and students on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow us on Twitter @NebraskaMATH.
National Impact: STEM for All Video Showcase
A video featuring the Nebraska-led SEMINAL project — a multi-year effort to promote and study active learning in calculus classrooms — has received special recognition from the National Science Foundation. The video was one of 21 named as a Facilitators’ Choice in the 2019 NSF STEM for All Video Showcase, held May 13-20. A panel of NSF facilitators from across the country evaluated 242 videos submitted to the showcase. The university’s Department of Mathematics and its Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education collaborated with several other U.S.-based institutions to develop the SEMINAL project, which was funded by the NSF in 2016.
National Impact: Presidential Early Career Awards
Nebraska researchers Angie Pannier (pictured) and Marilyne Stains have received Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor presented by the United States government to scientists and engineers who are in the beginning stages of their research careers. It is reserved for individuals who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology fields. Pannier, a professor of biological systems engineering and a past Women in Science keynote speaker, was nominated for the award by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Stains, an associate professor of chemistry and faculty for the CSMCE, was nominated for the award by the National Science Foundation.
Statewide Impact: Adapt, Implement and Research (AIR@NE)
Nebraska researcher Leen-Kiat Soh is using a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead an interdisciplinary team of Nebraska researchers in developing and deploying a program aimed at helping the state’s educators effectively teach the subject to a diverse group of K-8 students. Soh’s program focuses on the training and professional development of about 100 educators from diverse districts statewide, including majority-minority, rural and Native schools. These include the Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Nation Public Schools, Grand Island Public Schools and at least eight other rural districts. The teachers will take summer courses designed to bolster their fundamental computer science knowledge and familiarize them with a K-8 computer science curriculum launched in 2014 by the Lincoln Public Schools district. It’s resulted in 97 percent of LPS elementary students earning a proficient rating on each Computer Science Teachers Association standard, and 98 percent of LPS middle school students passing computer science courses. The research team includes LPS' Kent Steen and UNL's Gwen Nugent, Wendy Smith, and Guy Trainin.
- Dr. Wendy Smith, associate director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, was awarded the Don Miller Distinguished Service Award at the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics Conference on Sept. 21, 2018, in Kearney. "Dr. Wendy Smith is a champion for all mathematics educators in the State of Nebraska. She is one of the most dynamic, yet also one of the most humble, leaders I have ever met. She inspires educators to continually grow in their practice by modeling for us the very teaching practices and processes that we thrive to implement with our students. She works tirelessly to understand the varied needs of educators across the state and then, instead of merely providing resources to improve instruction, she comes alongside educators to build their capacity to become reflective practitioners and to develop into leaders themselves. While she is not one for recognition and accolades, Wendy I want to thank you for your influence - I am just one of many educators who are so very grateful for you," said Alicia Davis, an NATM board member and an eighth-grade mathematics teacher at Scott Middle School in Lincoln. The NATM board established the Don Miller Distinguished Service Award in 1989. Its purpose is to honor mathematics educators for their contribution to the improvement of mathematics education in the state of Nebraska.
- Dr. Jim Lewis, Aaron Douglas Professor of mathematics, became the university’s first director of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education research initiatives on Jan. 1, 2019. An award-winning educator with deep experience leading teaching and learning initiatives, Lewis’ role bolsters support for Nebraska faculty engaged in STEM research, education and outreach. The position is under the Office of Research and Economic Development’s purview. He will work closely with faculty and center directors to increase extramural funding from the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies; increase the number of faculty pursuing NSF-sponsored research and support their success; boost efforts to recognize top faculty through national honors and awards; build large-scale research projects and resources for STEM education and its broader impacts; and serve on ORED’s senior leadership team. Lewis took a leave of absence from 2015-18 to serve as deputy assistant director – and then acting assistant director – of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources.
- Omaha Public Schools teachers and Math in the Middle graduates Maggie Douglas and Jessica Korth and Primarily Math participant Michelle Meyer are three of the 15 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award winners for 2019. Maggie Douglas, of OPS TLA Math in the Middle, is a fifth grade teacher at Wilson Focus School. Besides earning her Master of Arts for Teachers degree from UNL, Maggie has a master's from UNO and two bachelor's degrees from Creighton. She has worked for six years with OPS. Jessica Korth, of the National Science Foundation-funded Math in the Middle grant, is a math teacher at Bryan Middle School. She earned her bachelor's from Wayne State and master's from UNL. She has 20 years with OPS. Michelle Meyer, of the NSF-funded Primarily Math Cohort 4 Omaha, is an ESL teacher at Belle Ryan Elementary. She has 17 years with OPS. The teachers received $10,000 each, $1,000 in McDonald’s gift cards and an Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award medallion.