Welcome to this month’s edition of the alumni eNewsletter! Halloween is winding down and the candy jars are running low, but empty space is filled with the excitement of enjoying turkey and pie. As the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas fill our hearts, we here at the college can’t help but be grateful for the many blessings we’ve been given. In this season of giving and gratitude, I would like to thank each of you for all you do to help not only your alma mater but also to help the science world as a whole. We’ve come a long way because of your willingness to give back.

Just recently, we visited with the College Volunteer Leadership Council at Timp Lodge, where we reported that, overall, the college is doing very well. We have seen an 18% increase in student enrollment over the past decade and 75% of faculty members are receiving funding for research or have submitted proposals. The college currently leads the university in patent applications and patents. This emphasis on research has allowed us to mentor 732 undergraduates. These opportunities have given our students necessary skills to secure employment after graduation.

But along with the increase of students, we’ve also seen an increase in your efforts to help us achieve our goal of raising money for both undergraduate and graduate studies in the sciences.

This is just one more reason for us to be grateful this Thanksgiving season. We are still aiming towards the mark of raising $10 million for undergraduate studies and $10 million for graduate studies. We know that with your help, we will reach our goal and help change the lives and ambitions of our students in the sciences.

There were many events last month to keep our college busy. Chem Week was full of magic shows, ice cream, and workshops; it provided a fun time for the whole family. We were fortunate to hear several insightful lectures. The statistics department hosted Dr. Douglas W. Nycha, director of the Institute of Mathematics Applied to Geosciences, who spoke on the ability to predict weather and climate patterns. Josh Price, a faculty member of the chemistry department, spoke at a lecture sponsored by Education in Zion. His talk was based on how his experiences in chemistry have gone hand in hand with the four aims of a BYU education: spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building, leading to lifelong learning and service.

As the holiday season is approaching, we wish you all a delicious Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Happy holidays from CPMS!

A World Without Chemo
Research and Mini-Muffins
Turning Practicality into Passion
Hooked on Physics
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Kate Johnson is a new assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics Education


Where Do Teachers Come From?

The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences would like to welcome Kate Johnson as a new assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics Education.

Johnson graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a BS degree in mathematics in 2002. She then received her MS degree in education with a focus on the education of students who are deaf and hard of hearing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.

After receiving her MS degree, Johnson taught high school math at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind until 2008. Johnson then went to Michigan State University where she received her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education in 2013.

“I am interested in mathematics education because I have opportunities to explore mathematical ideas, which I love, as well as think about what it means to know and do mathematics,” Johnson said. “I am also interested in studying how people become teachers.”

Her research focuses on how teachers’ past social experiences and background influence their teaching.

“I am interested in how who people are informs who they are as mathematics teachers. What I mean by this is people have races, religions, genders, classes, experiences, and so on that inform their teaching practices,” Johnson said. “I am interested in illuminating both what these identities are and how they influence the work in mathematics classrooms.”

Read more of this story.


For more information about the college, contact Lynn Patten at
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