Prestigious National Science Foundation award honors junior faculty teacher-scholar
Dr. Marta Magiera, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science in Marquette University’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a $792,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. The award will support her research on effective ways to build a knowledge foundation in mathematics teacher preparation, specifically focusing on mathematical argumentation.
The competitive five-year grant is one of the NSF’s most prestigious awards, which honors junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. “One of our key objectives in our strategic plan is to encourage faculty to grow in areas of their greatest research potential,” said Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School. “The National Science Foundation’s Career Award is the gold standard for recognizing and supporting young scholars who are able to integrate excellence in research and education in science and engineering disciplines,” she said.
Magiera’s goal is to “get teachers and students excited about the reasoning and thinking involved in mathematics.” Expanding on her past work in mathematics teacher education, her research will contribute to the knowledge base teacher education programs need to effectively prepare pre-service elementary and middle school teachers for meeting the challenges of how to make reasoning and proof an integral aspect of mathematics instruction. “Many reforms are related to STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), but we cannot reform without focusing on our teachers. The lessons we put into the hands of students will only work if we emphasize the teaching methods.”
“This significant grant will allow us to look at the entire educational experience in teacher preparation programs,” Magiera added. “We will be able to better understand the best ways of helping pre-service teachers become effective in developing mathematical reasoning skills in their future students and learning mathematics with understanding,” Magiera said.
Her research program will investigate three complementary dimensions that address the ability to formulate mathematical arguments, analyze mathematical arguments, and recognize and take advantage of situations that might engage students in mathematical argumentation and proving. The grant will also provide Marquette students an opportunity to engage in various aspects of mathematics education research.
Additional Marquette NSF Career award recipients:
Two other faculty researchers at Marquette currently hold NSF Career awards. Dr. Qadir Timerghazin, assistant professor of chemistry, received a $400,000 award in 2013 to investigate biological reactions of S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) and the mechanisms of the enzymatic control of these reactions using computational chemistry methods. Formation of protein-based RSNOs is one of the main mechanisms of the biological action of nitric oxide, and thus of great interest in life sciences and medicine. Nitric oxide is behind the action of several important drugs, such as trinitroglycerine, widely used for heart conditions.
Dr. Adam Fiedler, assistant professor of inorganic chemistry, received a $590,000 award in 2011 to design and synthesize transition metal complexes that mimic the function of metalloenzymes (a protein that contains a metal ion cofactor). Fiedler’s research has a potential significant environmental impact, in that it could lead to complexes that are capable of facilitating the aerobic degradation of single and multi-ring hydrocarbons, a major class of environmental pollutants.