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 6^{th} 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!”

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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.

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**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 doctoral research, 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.

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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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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 0^{o }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 ugarimel@uca.edu

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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 rameshg@uca.edu .

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In this workshop, Dr. Lenin covered basic computer programming topics such as expressions, functions, simple control and looping statements using the user-friendly software known as ‘Alice’ during the first half of the workshop. In the second half, he introduced a high-level computer programming language known as ‘Python’ to understand deeper concepts of computer programming. The participants were provided with computers, and each topic was covered by the instructor through extensive hands-on-experience in computer coding. On the last day of the PD, various topics of the Praxis test were covered by going over the sample questions of Praxis study companion – Computer Science 5651.

Details about the content of this PD can be obtained by contacting Dr. R.B. Lenin (rblenin@uca.edu). Details about future offerings can be obtained by contacting Dr. Uma Garimella (ugarimel@uca.edu).

Some comments from the participants are …

“I*t was such a pleasure to take your class. I hope I have the opportunity to study with you again.*

*I never would have thought that this would be a field that I would be so interested in, but it may be just the ticket for me. Thanks so much for making it interesting and fun.*

*I am excited about the opportunities that this could bring, and I don’t think that I would be thinking in those terms if we didn’t have a knowledgeable, patient, and passionate instructor. Thank you so much for that.* ”

“*This was the best PD I’ve ever attended and most engaging. You made the learning fun yet kept us challenged everyday. Thank you for all of your help and I look forward to seeing you in the future.*”

“*I really enjoyed being in your class and am looking into taking more courses.*“

Here’s what our students have to say about the Math Resource Lab:

“It’s a great place to hang our and discuss homework in a relaxed environment. Plus there’s ample room to write it out on the white boards.” Erika Sparkman, senior, pure math major.

“Prior to the math resource lab, I had a difficult time organizing study time. Now I have a place to go everyday! It has been the greatest resource for me as a math major!” Jamie Mullins, junior, pure math STEM Teach major.

“The new math resource lab has been a fantastic place to meet in groups as well as work individually on homework and projects. The math faculty has utilized the facility very well in providing assistance with homework and projects.” Perry Claunch, senior, applied math major.

“It’s convenient and the white board space is awesome!” Christina Junkans, senior, pure math major.

Students clearly appreciated having a common place to study and where they can get help if needed. The Mathematics Department is very excited to provide such a great resource to it’s students!

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