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PRIME Welcomes New Math Ed Faculty

PRIME is pleased to welcome Monica Karunakaran and Shiv Karunakaran to the Mathematics Education community at MSU. In addition to his work in PRIME, Shiv has an appointment in the Department of Mathematics. Monica also has an appointment in the Department of Mathematics, and an appointment in the CREATE for STEM Institute. Both Monica and Shiv received their Ph.D.s in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in mathematics education, from the Pennsylvania State University.

Shiv commented, “I have always been attracted to MSU for the stellar people that are here.” He continued, “I have known Kristen Bieda since we were both graduate students, and through her I was aware of MSU’s reputation for excellence in mathematics education.”

Monica added, “I am looking forward to learning about the exciting work that is happening at MSU with regards to teacher education. The faculty who work at MSU are inspiring to me, and I am excited to be a part of a program that is so energetic.”

Shiv and Monica Karunakaran Photo at PhD Graduation Penn StateWhen asked about their current research and plans for work at MSU, Monica responded, “My research is on how teachers build their professional identities within educational cultures. My previous research has been focused on better understanding how educational stakeholders’ beliefs align with mathematics teaching practices utilized within their school district. My current work includes examining how inservice teachers build their knowledge of justification and increase their use of justifying in their mathematics classrooms.”

Shiv responded, “Broadly speaking, my work involves the study of how post-secondary students of mathematics and professional mathematicians learn and do mathematics. More specifically, I work in the area of the teaching, learning, and doing of mathematical proof and argumentation.”

“This line of research currently takes two main forms. The first involves the course MTH 299, which is the introduction to proof course offered in the mathematics department. I will be coordinating that course beginning in May, and currently I am working on getting up to speed on the ins-and-outs of that course. I primarily do research in the teaching (pedagogical strategies, curriculum development, and TA training) and learning of proof (the process of proving, student comprehension of various proof strategies such as mathematical induction) within the context of this course.”

“The second avenue of research lies in the intersection of my interest in post-secondary mathematics and of cognitive neuroscience. With my collaborators, we are currently working on developing and validating measures of neuro-cognitive load experienced as individuals prove mathematical statements.”

Shiv and Monica Karunakaran Photo 2Monica stated, “In the future, I hope to spend more time learning how various stages of mentorship help preservice teachers build their identities as teachers of mathematics.”

 “I also teach mathematics content courses for elementary teachers at MSU, and hope to work with mathematics education graduate students in the future,” she added.

“One of my greatest joys with regard to being a professor is to work with graduate students,” remarked Shiv. “I am very excited about the current and future cohorts of stellar mathematics education graduate students. I am looking forward to working with many of them as they successfully finish their degrees and begin their careers in academia.”

We welcome them both to MSU!