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PRIME Spring Celebration

Congratulations to the Spring and Summer 2022 graduating mathematics education doctoral students! The celebration of their accomplishments occurred on Friday, May 6th during PRIME’s annual spring luncheon. PRIME graduates for the Spring of 2022 are Robert Elmore and Timothy Wegner. Charles “Chuck” Fessler, Andrew Krause, Valentin Kuechle, and Merve Kursav will be graduating in Summer 2022. Graduates of the Curriculum and Instruction in Teacher Education (CITE) doctoral program with mathematics education interests who were also able to attend include Lisa Hawley and Amit Sharma. Not only were we able to celebrate these individuals at a special luncheon, but also past graduates from 2020 and 2021 who did not receive a traditional celebration due to COVID. Earlier graduates who were able to attend in person were Missy Cosby (CITE, 2020) and Kevin Voogt (PRIME, 2021).   

The mathematics education community also recognized Math Ed faculty members retiring this year:  Robert Floden, Ralph Putnam, and John “Jack” Smith.   

Bob and Shiv 2022Here is a little bit of information about our 2022 graduates: 

Robert “Bob” Elmore 

Bob entered the PRIME doctoral program in the Fall of 2018, and completed the degree while working and teaching full time at Mid-Michigan College, MMC. While at PRIME his research interests have consisted of items that impact students at community colleges: developmental mathematics, placement, pedagogy and supplemental services. Bob will continue his career at MMC after the degree.  

Chuck and Shiv hoodingCharles “Chuck” Fessler 

Chuck set his PRIME journey in motion in the Fall of 2017. His research interests include incorporating technology in geometry, better teaching practices in calculus and how students learn to solve trigonometric equations. Before attending Michigan State, Chuck lived in Colorado where he taught mathematics at Fort Lewis College. Chuck accepted a position at the US Military Academy Prep School at West Point.


Andy Krause photoAndrew Krause 

Andy began the Mathematics Education Doctoral program in 2013 after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics, also at MSU. His research interests are centered around teaching and learning at the early undergraduate level, primarily in calculus.  He is currently researching student experiences with online homework in calculus classes. Andy is an Academic Teaching Specialist and co-Coordinator of the Center for Instructional Mentoring in the Department of Mathematics at MSU.


Valentin and Shiv hoodingValentin Kuechle 

Valentin set about in the Program in Mathematics Education in the Fall of 2017. Valentin’s research interests include collegiate mathematics education, as well as designing equitable learning experiences in mathematics, and the use of technology to support student learning. He is also curious about mathematical problem solving and inquiry-based learning. Valentin accepted a Postdoc position at Auburn University. 


Merve graduationMerve Kursav 

Merve also joined PRIME in the Fall of 2017. She has many research interests! She would like to investigate the role of innovative methods in teaching, learning, students’ thinking, and enhance the development of curriculum materials. Additionally, she has pursued mathematical knowledge for teaching using curriculum and teaching and learning of algebra; curriculum and professional development; proof and argumentation; equity; student’s and teachers’ reasoning about proportional relationships and the outline and implementation of technology-bases experiences that can support such reasoning. Merve accepted a research associate position at Dartmouth College. 


2022 Wegner FamilyTimothy Wegner 

Tim started the PRIME program in the Fall of 2013. His research interest is in the interaction of students and teachers with technology in post-secondary classrooms, and how technology tools can change the types of tasks that students are expected to do both in and outside the classroom. Tim began his mathematics career in 2005 with an adjunct position at Spring Arbor University. He now is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics Department at SAU, which he will continue after his degree. His passion for teaching has played a huge role in his motivation for the doctoral degree.  

Lisa Hawley 

Lisa is graduating from the CITE program and accepted a faculty position at Grand Valley State University. 

Amit Sharma 

Amit is also a CITE program graduate and will likely continue as a postdoc at MSU. 

Considering the crazy year that 2020 was some PRIME students were unable to get a standard celebration of their achievements. So, we would like to recognize all that they have completed here and now! 

Kevin Voogt PhotoKevin Voogt 

Kevin graduated from the math ed doctoral program in PRIME in the Summer of 2021. His dissertation topic included Influence of Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Mathematics Experiences on their Attitudes and Beliefs about Mathematics. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Education at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana.   

Missy Cosby 

Missy graduated from the CITE program in 2020. She is currently a post doc at the University of Michigan.  


Ralph, Jack, Bob retirement photoFinally, we would like to recognize a few individuals who are retiring this year. They have put so much of their time and energy into making the PRIME program and mathematics education into what it is today.  

Robert “Bob” Floden 

Bob is the former dean of the College of Education. He is also a University Distinguished Professor of teacher education, measurement and quantitative methods, mathematics education, educational psychology and education policy. Thank you for all of the work that you have done here at Michigan State University, Bob!  

Ralph Putnam  

Ralph is the Director of PRIME and Mathematics Education Graduate Program. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Education Psychology and Special Education and the Program in Mathematics Education. Thank you for dedicating your time and energy to Michigan State University and PRIME!  

John “Jack” Smith   

Jack is a Professor in the Department of Counseling Education Psychology and Special Education. His research entails the nature of people’s knowledge and learning of mathematics as evidence in school and other settings. Thank you for dedicating an immense amount of work and time to Michigan State University!  

We could not be more grateful for all of the hard work that each and every one of these individuals has put into this program and mathematics education in general. As a PRIME community, while we are sad to see them go, we are also excited to celebrate each of these new doctoral graduates and new retirees, and look forward to seeing all that they will continue to accomplish! Congratulations!

More photos appear below.

Written by 

Liz Havey  

2022 Shivites

2022 Group Photo2022 AJ photo


Ralph addressing groupJack addressing group

Elmore_Fessler FamiliesBillie_Amit_Valentin's mom




Putnams, Flodens, Lozens  KrauseFamily_Ben Wegner