Biosketch: After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College in Computer Science and History I entered the Teach For America program and taught middle school math and science in the Baltimore City Public Schools. After two years of teaching math and science in Baltimore, I applied to the Ph.D. program in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in order to build better math software. I was pleased to be accepted out of a pool of 800+ applications (entering class of 22 students). All of my research work has been dedicated to the single task of helping students learn how to write algebra expressions. I have conducted many classroom studied in that time and published my results in the scientific literature.
In 1998 I left CMU to help my brother-in-law in a dot.com startup but I immediately had a seizure and found out that I had a slow-growing malignant brain tumor. I was told by one doctor that I had 2-3 years to live. Fortunately, I found a great brain surgeon who removed the tumor. I lost interest in the dot.com company and instead did something I knew I liked; I taught algebra in a public school in Massachusetts while I underwent a year of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. That ended in July of 1999. I get MRI's every 4 months and I show no recurrence of the brain tumor. I love living in the early 21th century!
Since returning to CMU I have been fortunate to receive funding from the Spencer Foundation and the National Science Foundation through CIRCLE. This has enabled me to put this new software on the web for anyone to freely use. I believe students will benefit from this and consequently do better in math.
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