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2020 Zweng Endowed Fellowship Awards

Charles “Chuck” Fessler and Valentin Küchle, PRIME mathematics education doctoral students, have been awarded the Dr. Marilyn Zweng Endowed Graduate Student Award in Mathematics Education for 2020.

Marilyn Zweng PhotoDr. Marilyn Zweng, a mathematics educator who completed her undergraduate work at Michigan State University, generously contributed funds establishing an endowment to provide fellowships to PRIME students. She earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She was a professor of mathematics and head of the mathematics department at the University of Iowa. In Iowa, she created a TV show called “Mathematics with Marilyn.” Dr. Zweng passed away in August 2019 and will be remembered as a philanthropist and an incredibly intellectual woman.

Zweng fellowship recipients were selected based on how they have been active ambassadors of mathematics education and what the student plans to do, in the upcoming year, to extend, deepen, or change their ambassador work.

Ambassadors of mathematics education exhibit active involvement in improving mathematics teaching and learning (pre-K-16+), publications and/or presentations that reach out to a broad community such as K-12 teachers, policymakers, etc., and/or service to mathematics education at MSU (e.g., mentoring) or nationally (e.g. organizing conferences).

Chuck Fessler PhotoChuck Fessler will be starting his fourth year in the mathematics education doctoral program this fall. He has taught mathematics content courses for preservice elementary teachers and was a field instructor for secondary mathematics teacher interns. He served as a student member of the PRIME Recruitment and Admissions Committee in the doctoral program. Chuck also volunteered at a local high school to help grade oral mathematics exams and helped to organize and run a mathematics education session at the 2019 MAA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting in Durango, CO.

Chuck noted that this coming academic year he plans to continue his commitment to K-12 mathematics education through research activities for the Connected Mathematics Project. He said, “Additionally, I am beginning my dissertation work this summer. In this work, I plan to contribute to our understanding of secondary mathematics teachers’ knowledge for teaching.”

Chuck continued, “The Zweng Fellowship would help fund living expenses this summer while working to prepare my dissertation proposal. Further, as my dissertation develops, there will likely be several research related expenses (compensating participants for their time, travel to sites, conference proceedings).”

Valentin Kuechle PhotoValentin Küchle is also beginning his fourth year in the program this fall. Since joining MSU, he has attended eight conferences and presented at five of them, as well as co-authored four publications. Valentin has taught mathematics content courses for preservice elementary teachers and the Transitions to proof course. He served as a student member of the PRIME Recruitment and Admissions Committee and the Course & Curriculum Committee in the doctoral program, as well as the Math Learning Research Group committee. Valentin also is a student mentor to 3 math ed doctoral students. He commented, “The Zweng fellowship would allow me to deepen my role as ambassador for mathematics education, particularly as a researcher, through financially supporting me with my dissertation study.”

Valentin noted, “After spending over 60 hours transcribing interviews for my practicum, I realize that I do not have the time to transcribe all the interviews I intend to conduct for my dissertation study.” He continued, “In addition to paying for transcripts, I would use the fellowship to pay for participant compensation."  He added, "To help me disseminate my research at conferences, I would use the money for travelling—for instance to ICME or PME which have both been postponed to the summer of 2021.”

Congratulations to Chuck Fessler and Valentin Küchle on receiving this prestigious award!