Faculty Post: Monica Karunakaran
Monica Karunakaran is one of the newest faculty members of PRIME, joining the unit in August.
She teaches mathematics content courses for elementary teachers, and conducts research on how teachers build their professional identities within educational cultures.
Monica’s current work includes “examining how in-service teachers build their knowledge of justification and increase their use of justifying in their mathematics classrooms.”
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Monica received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from the University of California, Riverside. She was a middle school mathematics teacher before her move to Pennsylvania to receive a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Mathematics Education from Pennsylvania State University. After receiving her PhD, Monica went to Washington State University in Pullman, Washington where she had a postdoctoral position. Monica’s previous research has been focused on “better understanding of how educational stakeholders’ beliefs align with mathematics teaching practices utilized within their school district.”
Outside of working, Monica has a passion for traveling. Whether it’s taking short road trips or traveling internationally, Monica loves it all. Just recently, Monica spent three weeks in the United Kingdom with family, visiting England, Scotland, and Ireland. Monica describes one of her favorite days there was spent “driving along the western coast of Ireland, enjoying lots of stops to take in the breathtaking views of the cliffs and eating some amazing fish and chips off the beaten path.” Her other hobbies include playing tennis, camping and going on family walks with her dog, Bella. With Fall just beginning, Monica will be spending her favorite season “collecting and carving pumpkins, leaf peeping, and hiking among the changing colors.”
In the future, Monica hopes to spend more time learning how various stages of mentorship help preservice teachers build their identities as teachers of mathematics. Monica also says, “I am very excited about being at MSU and have felt very welcome coming in as a new faculty member.”