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Meet Erin Krupa ’11 PHD: All Students Can Engage with Mathematics if Given the Opportunity

“After I taught high school mathematics for four years, I believed… I could make more of an impact if I worked with future and practicing teachers on improving their mathematics instruction.”

This is part of a series of profiles of faculty who joined the NC State College of Education in 2018-19.

Why I Chose the NC State College of Education: In my opinion, the mathematics and statistics education doctoral program and faculty in the NC State College of Education are among one of the top five mathematics education programs in the country. It is a true honor to be a colleague of such a dynamic group of scholars. It seemed less of a choice and more of a calling; a calling to continue to evolve as a researcher and educator.

Why I Chose Education: I like to think that I entered the field of mathematics and choose to focus on education. Both my undergraduate and master’s degrees are in mathematics, and I chose to pursue education because I liked the challenge of engaging students in mathematics in ways that are understandable and meaningful to them. I always believed there were more creative ways to teaching math so that students could find joy in learning math.

Why I Pursued a Ph.D.: After I taught high school mathematics for four years, I believed I could help more students be successful in mathematics by learning how to prepare future mathematics teachers. I believed I could make more of an impact if I worked with future and practicing teachers on improving their mathematics instruction.

My Research Interests: My research focuses on improving the quality of mathematics teaching and learning through innovative curricular materials and professional development. The main goal of my research is to make quality mathematics education more equitable, especially to underserved populations. The quality of mathematics education can be improved through a variety of sources, but I am most interested in the design and use of innovative curricular materials and in effective professional development that supports the implementation of those materials for teachers.

How I Became Interested: I am fueled by the challenge of making mathematics relevant and engaging for all students so I have always loved the creative aspects of designing curricula and materials for students to learn math. I now also feel the same way about designing learning experiences for math teachers through professional development.

What I Hope Students See In Me: I hope students see that I am passionate about innovative teaching and excited about the research I conduct. I hope this gives them the strength to pursue their own passions for research and teaching mathematics and the confidence they need to be successful. I also hope they come away with the belief that all students can engage with mathematics if given the opportunity.

*Krupa will join the NC State College of Education faculty in January 2019. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montclair State University.