How versatile is a degree in Mathematics from Keene State?
Chepina Witkowski Rumsey ’05 earned a BA in Mathematics and a BS in Elementary Education, then taught fourth grade before entering graduate school. Her passion throughout her education has been to understand how elementary-age children perceive and explain mathematics and arithmetic properties. She received a master’s degree in Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematics Education from Illinois State University, where she received the Outstanding Graduate Teacher award. She is currently assistant professor at Kansas State University, where she teaches undergraduate elementary mathematics methods courses and conducts research on childhood learning. She recently received a three-year, $450,000 mathematics and science partnership grant.
This is what Professor Rumsey has to say about her Keene State education:
At KSC I got to know all of the professors in the Mathematics Department well and had good mentors. I have integrated what I learned from both Mathematics and Education in my work with elementary school teachers and pre-service teachers in mathematics and pedagogy. While at KSC, I also ran cross country and track, so I had to learn to manage my time well and stay organized. I have used those skills in graduate school and now in my first year at Kansas State University. My advice to new students at KSC is to get involved in as many opportunities as possible, including presentations and conferences, volunteering, sports, and traveling abroad or in the US for a semester. Find opportunities that will build up your confidence, knowledge, and experience in whichever major you chose.
Erin (Corman) Watson ’03 received her BS in Mathematics, Pure Option, from Keene State and went to the work for the US Department of Defense as an applied research mathematician for more than nine years. In 2013, she accepted a position as a solutions consultant at Cloudera, Inc., which develops open-source software. She still thinks of the Math faculty as part of her family and credits their encouragement – and occasional firm pushes – for her professional success.
This is what she has to say about her college and work experiences:
The most frequent positive feedback I receive at work is that I am an excellent written and oral communicator. This skill was honed at Keene State in classes and through frequent presentations. To be able to explain something, one must have a deep understanding of the concept. Also, the skills I learned on team projects at KSC – sometimes succeeding despite the makeup of the team – have been critical to my work success. Many work environments are collaborative, and the ability to thrive in that environment is invaluable.
Also, as much as I tried to avoid computer programming during my time at KSC, the Mathematics faculty would not allow it. They recognized that the world I entered upon graduation would require this skill. This foundation allowed me to teach myself several programming languages on the job, leading to my new position in the computer science field.”
What Math Students Are Saying about KSC’s Program
I’ve worked with Dr. Ferrucci on an undergraduate research grant and I’ve participated in about three or four conferences since my sophomore year. At the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference, I was able to experience firsthand professional development in the field of mathematics education.”
The biggest strength of the program is the faculty. The professors are truly dedicated to helping each student achieve their own potential. Thanks to their support, I have spoken and presented at many conferences, and I’ve also been able to tutor math, travel abroad, and play on the women’s soccer team while dedicating numerous hours to my studies.”
The Math program has a phenomenal faculty. I have gotten to know many of the professors in the program on a personal level, an opportunity I may not have had anywhere else. I have been a Peer Course Assistant for two years and a math tutor, and those experiences have shaped me as a future teacher and a learner.”