Graduate Student Post: Chris Dubbs
Chris Dubbs joined Michigan State University’s Program in Mathematics Education in the fall of 2015. As a member of the PRIME program, Chris’s research interests center on issues of inequity in mathematics education. Chris is currently interested in what insights queer theory, Feminist theories, and critical qualitative methodologies, and their supporting epistemologies, might provide in the math education context. These critical, standpoint perspectives challenge the white, heterosexual, and masculine lens that is often privileged in education research. His current projects investigate (1) the intersection of queer theories, Feminist theories, and mathematics education; (2) power and the “meritocracy” of mathematics; (3) Discourse Analysis and its insights for student inclusion in classroom discourse and in textbook context (text and images); and (4) Critical Metaphor Analysis of public discourse about mathematics/mathematics education.
Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania but has called Michigan home since 2011. After receiving his B.S. in Mathematics from Lock Haven University, Chris earned his M.S. in Industrial Mathematics (MSIM) in the Department of Mathematics at MSU. During those two years, Chris worked with Lisa Keller and the Program in Mathematics Education as a teaching assistant for the Mathematics for Elementary Teachers courses which ignited his passion for education.
After earning his MSIM, Chris spent two years working at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA; formerly Chrysler Group) as an automotive engineer. During his time with FCA, Chris was part of an active research team that received internal and external recognition. In 2013, Chris was awarded a Chrysler Innovation Award for his contributions to the team’s groundbreaking work on vehicle energy management; work that was published with SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers) and presented at the SAE World Congress 2015 (Makam, Dubbs, et al., 2015).
During his second year at FCA, Chris decided that he would return to school to pursue his passion for education because, in the words of Alan Watts, “if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing.” He decided to pursue a PhD in mathematics education because of the disconnect that he felt between his work as an automotive engineer and what he perceived to be a pressing issue for social justice: the inequitable valuation of diverse perspectives in the education space. He is inspired to explore mathematics education through the works of Gloria Anzaldúa, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, and Norman Fairclough.
Chris’s personal goals for his time in PRIME are to build a community of like-minded researchers, to publish independent and collaborative work, and to continue working with pre-service teachers. Towards this first goal, Chris made connections with several other researchers interested in queer theory and intersectionality at the Equity working-group at the PME-NA 2015 conference; they continue to meet by video conference when their schedules permit. In addition to these personal goals, Chris serves the graduate community by serving as PRIME’s Graduate Employee Union (GEU) Steward and is currently acting as a “fourth” reviewer to gain acceptance into the official peer-review process.
As busy as Chris keeps himself with courses, assistantships, and personal research, he still finds time to cycle and spend time with the friends he has made in his MSU community. In what is left of his “spare” time, he shirks traditional media by watching and subscribing to a number of YouTubers and supporting local comedy—recommending the feminist trio The Comedy Coven at The Robin Theatre. His two cats, Jasper and Midi, offer an additional source of entertainment and are pampered in return. Additionally, he tries to be active in the academic Twitter sphere (@dubbschr) following journals, researchers, and institutions which support the work he admires and to which he hopes to contribute to someday.
With four years ahead of him in the program, he looks forward to additional courses in gender studies as he begins to carve out a critical, intersectional niche for himself in mathematics education research. His goal is to cover a variety of research (epistemological, theoretical, methodological) perspectives in his pursuit of a certificate in qualitative methods so that he has the resources (language, theories, methods) to be able to pursue his own research agenda, one that aims to amplify the voices silenced by hegemonic research.