Math Faculty Teaches in Guatemala

This summer Ms. Loi Booher, Lecturer in Mathematics, had the opportunity to work in an elementary school deep in the mountains of Guatemala. She was a member of a team , Teachers-2-Teachers International, an organization that provides culturally sensitive professional development for mathematics teachers in developing countries.   During the week at the school, her mornings were spent in the fourth grade classroom and afternoons were reserved for professional development and one-on-one planning with a local teacher.

The residents of this small village are very proud of their Mayan heritage. They wear traditional clothing and speak the local Mayan dialect of Ixil. Children begin to learn Spanish at school in first or second grade. To be a teacher at the school, one is required to finish a high school program that is designed for future teachers. Academically speaking, this may seem like a minimal requirement; however, Guatemalans are only required to complete the 6th grade. In fact, there is no secondary school in this village, so a child would have to travel two to three hours by bus to attend the nearest school.

The team helped the local teachers to take their math classes beyond the textbook. They encouraged and demonstrated things such as group work, culturally relevant word problems, new approaches to familiar problems, and an improved number sense.

Speaking of her experience , Ms. Booher said, “I was privileged to work with a diverse group of educators from both the U.S. and Guatemala. I’ve traveled abroad before, but teaching in Spanish really made me appreciate the challenges faced by international students. It was truly an honor to be able to share my knowledge with the Mayan teachers as well as gain invaluable knowledge from them – both equally. Playing jacks during recess… that’s icing on the cake!”

SA group stairs



2015 Summer Math Master’s Graduates

L to R: Dr. Long Le (Graduate Advisor), Dr. Ramesh Garimella (Chair), Kayle Rutherford (MA), Jaime Garcia (MS), Kristen Ellis (MA)  and Kaiyi Chen (MS)

L to R: Dr. Long Le (Graduate Advisor), Dr. Ramesh Garimella (Chair), Kayle Rutherford (MA), Jaime Garcia (MS), Kristen Ellis (MA) and Kaiyi Chen (MS)


Congratulations to the the following students for receiving  masters’ degree in mathematics during the 2015 summer commencement:

Kaiyi Chen (M.S. Applied Mathematics); Kristen Ellis (M.A. Mathematics Education); Jaime Garcia (M.S. Applied Mathematics);Kayle Rutherford (M.A. Mathematics Education).

Kristen and Kayle accepted  high school teaching positions in mathematics  in Arkansas. Jaime is seeking to be a data analyst for insurance / health care organization, whereas  Kaiyi would like to pursue a doctoral degree in statistics in the very near future. We wish each and every one of them the very best in their future endeavors.

New Math Faculty

FetterlyDr. James M. Fetterly will join the Department of Mathematics in Fall 2015 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. His research interests are related to mathematical creativity and problem posing. Prior to joining UCA,  Dr. Fetterly served as a faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (2011-2015) and Florida State University (2007-2011). At both of these universities, he taught mathematics methods courses along with a variety of other courses for several programs (i.e. Mathematics, Secondary, Middle, Elementary, Early Childhood, and Special Education). He received his PhD in Mathematics Education from Florida State University in 2010.   In 2002, he received his master’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Prior to teaching at the collegiate level, he taught secondary mathematics for five years and coached middle school mathematics teachers for another two years in the Conway Public School District. He is married and has five wonderful daughters.  In his leisure time, Dr. Fetterly enjoys working in the yard and reading.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Dr. Nesrin Sahin will join the Department of Mathematics Fall 2015 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. She earned her PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of Central Florida in spring 2015.                                              For her doctoralSahin Nesrin - Webresearch, she investigated the effect of Cognitively Guided Instruction on students’ problem solving strategies and the effect of students’ problem solving strategies on their mathematics achievement. She received her master’s degree in Applied Statistics from Kennesaw State University and her BS degree in Chemistry Education from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. She taught Mathematics at the secondary level for two years and Chemistry for one year while living in Turkey. She is married and has two lovely children. In her spare time, Dr. Sahin likes reading, jogging and traveling.

MSIT’15 at UCA

IMG_6452_1The 8th annual MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE, & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY (MSIT) was conducted during the week of July 13-17, 2015 on the University of Central Arkansas campus. The Department of Mathematics, Department of Computer Science and the STEM INSTITUTE at UCA sponsored the event. This one-week program is designed for promising 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students in central Arkansas. This year eleven students attended the program. The main objective of the program is to stimulate and enhance interest in mathematics and its applications to computer science.

This year’s activity, Web-designing, was taught by Dr. Mark Smith, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. Brandon Ashley, a graduate student in MS Applied Mathematics provided support to Dr. Smith as well as to the students. The participants learned the most popular Web technologies and services used in building an e-commerce website. Web technologies such as HTML 5, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Javascript, PHP, along with web services provided from Google and PayPal enabled students with all the tools necessary to build a complete and functional e-commerce website. Students utilized web development tools while creating their own Blog. The activity was conducted in a hands-on computer laboratory setting provided and maintained by the UCA Computer Science Department. Students used Microsoft Visual Studio Professional when developing a multimedia website that integrated images, audio, video, and animations. Students fully implemented and tested their website using Visual Studio before publishing it to a free web-hosting site that supports PHP.

The lunch time activities during the week included a visit to the UCA Planetarium, chemistry lab and a presentation on mathematics and science programs at UCA.  For more information about the future programs, please contact Dr. Ramesh Garimella at 510-450-3147 or e-mail rameshg@uca.ed.



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Summer 2015 PD Workshop: Blending Mathematics and Science

Blending Mathematics and Science was the focus of a two-week workshop for middle grades teachers held on the UCA campus during the summer of 2015. The workshop, sponsored by the UCA STEM Institute, was led by Dr. Charles Watson, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Mr. Jerry Mimms, Lecturer of Biology. All the activities for the workshop were based on the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and the new science standards as adopted by the Arkansas Department of Education earlier this spring.

This workshop was based on Math 4314, which is a capstone course for middle grades teachers and engages students in a variety of hands-on learning activities that are based on mathematics content with underpinnings from the physical and biological science or science content with a strong mathematics base.

For the culminating activity the class made “home-made” ice cream but not before it calculated the amount of heat that had to be removed from the “mix” before its temperature was lowered to 0o C and then changed state from a liquid to a solid.

Participants will be expected to incorporate activities from the class in lessons during the fall semester. Dr. Watson and Mr. Mimms will be visiting these teachers in their classrooms during the fall semester.

Middle grades teachers interested in participating in a similar workshop in the summer 2016 should contact Dr. Uma Garimella, Director, UCA STEM Institute at 501-450-5663 or


2015 Math-sci middle inst

Summer 2015 Algebra Workshops at UCA

During the month of June, Dr. Clarence Burg, Associate Professor of Mathematics,  taught three tracks in a summer Algebra camp for students planning to take Pre-Algebra, Algebra I or Algebra II during the upcoming academic year.  He also taught the Algebra II class for Upward Bound for the 8th year.  Meeting for fifty minutes each day, the students reviewed certain arithmetic and algebraic skills needed for success in their upcoming Algebra class.  The students also gained experience and confidence with some of the key concepts such as solving linear equations and inequalities, graphing lines, factoring quadratic equations and determining the equation of a line between two points.  As in past years, Dr. Burg administered a pre- and post-assessment test to each class.  The average gain on the assessment test was between 40 and 50% for these four classes.  Dr. Burg plans to offer similar classes next summer and hopes to expand the program to include other subjects and instructors.  For more information, please contact or call 501-450-3147.


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2015 Summer Computer Coding @ UCA for Middle and High School Students

The Department of Mathematics at UCA in co-operation with the Department of Computer Science and the STEM Institute offered the first summer camp in Computer Coding.  Thirteen middle and high school students in central Arkansas took part in the camp, which was held on the UCA campus  during the  weekdays from June 9 to July 3, 2015from 12:00 to 12:50.

The lead instructor for the camp was Mr. Sudheer Kavi, a Senior Solutions Developer at Acxiom and an adjunct professor of Computer Science at UCA.  Mr. Brandon Ashley, a   graduate student in applied mathematics, provided technical support to participants during the sessions.

During this camp, Mr. Kavi laid out a perfect platform for students to build computer programs by using Scratch Software (created by MIT) as a starting point. Students learned basic computer coding concepts including control structures, decision making, and repetition using loops.

Several hands-on labs in the class helped students to understand the concepts better. Also, they learned the best practices for naming conventions for variables, blocks and projects. During the last week, they participated in a team project, where they learned about teamwork, co-ordination and planning. For information on the future computer coding programs, please contact Dr. Ramesh Garimella at 501-450-3147 or .


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