Lauren Cavner Williams
Began: Fall 2013
Research interests: My current research interests include student motivation for mathematics and how it changes over time. More specifically, I am interested in how a student’s past experiences in the subject influence his/her motivation for the subject today (i.e. as a college student…is their major in a STEM field?, are they draw towards math based classes?, etc). In addition, I am interested in student motivation and the effects that developing self-beliefs have on achievement, as well as issues in equity (in particular how classroom discourse affects minority student performance). I am also interested in the development of preservice elementary teachers in mathematics.
Lauren Cavner Williams began the Program in Mathematics Education in the Fall of 2013. Prior to her decision to join PRIME in order to strengthen her understanding of how to reach, teach, and motivate students, Lauren received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mathematics from Michigan State University.
Lauren has always been devoted to her unwavering passion for teaching mathematics. While working towards her two prior degrees, Lauren spent time as a teaching assistant for the Mathematics Department here at MSU. Now, Lauren is teaching Algebra and Statistics for Teachers at Ferris State University. Upon her graduation, Lauren hopes to continue teaching mathematics or education at the university level.
Lauren’s primary research interests focus heavily on student motivation for mathematics and how it changes over time, and how a student’s past experiences in the subject influence [their] motivation for the subject today. Lauren hopes to compose and defend a dissertation focused on student motivation that contributes to the field’s existing research on motivation. Another hope she has is to “build more connections with those who also share my interest in student motivation for mathematics.”
Recently Lauren has been quite busy. On top of school, research, and preparing a dissertation, Lauren and her husband are in the process of building their home in Cedar Springs, Michigan with their two hyperactive cats named Turbo and Nitro. Cedar Springs has been the perfect location for Lauren and her husband as it is only minutes away from each of their families. Lauren is also currently teaching two courses at MSU: TE 406 and TE 801, both of which she enjoys deeply. To Lauren, the most pleasing aspect of teaching is passing on her knowledge gained throughout her career about education and motivation to future teachers.
As the air warms, and school slows down for a season, Lauren speeds up. Every summer, Lauren can be found on the ball field as captain and coach of her softball team, made up of her high school friends. In addition to staying active with softball, Lauren fills in as a sub for a beach volleyball team, plays tennis and golf, and travels. In fact, Lauren has recently traveled to Europe, which included stops in Ireland, Scotland, and London.
Lauren, upon her graduation, says she hopes to “continue pursuing my research interests of motivation in order to improve my own teaching, improve my students’ understanding of mathematics, and to be an active contributor to the field of Math Ed.”
Written by John J. Thomas, III