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Research Team

Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 6.59.44 PMMaria Aguilera is an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University, studying Secondary Education and Mathematics. She serves as an undergraduate Research Assistant for Project SIGMa, where she specifically looks at the role of groupwork and its amplification or disruption of existing inequities in the classroom. Her work with the project uses a socio-cultural theory of learning, as she recognizes the relationship between social, cultural and learning elements that are intertwined and thus necessary to study together. Maria is interested in opportunities teachers have and make for learning more about their practice; specifically how teachers identify and work to disrupt inequities in their classrooms. She is eager to learn more about teachers’ reflective practices and how the role of these practices impacts future lessons and personal professional development.

Patricia M. Buenrostro is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Project SIGMa where her analyses have focused on supporting urban mathematics teachers in their shift toward ambitious instruction. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016 in Curriculum Studies. In her dissertation, Humanizing Mathematics: Students’ Perspectives on Learning Math for Social Justice, she reported on students’ retrospective meanings in using mathematics to unpack community issues. She has a chapter in the first edited volume of Critical Studies of Latinx in the Americas and an accepted submission in the Special Issue of Cognition and Instruction, STEM Learning: For Whom and Toward What Ends? Prior to earning her doctorate, she was a high school mathematics teacher and coach in Chicago for over 15 years. Across schools, she collaborated with faculty to create counter-cultural spaces that support students’ positive academic, cultural and political identities. These experiences shape her research interests: student-teacher relationality, teachers’ orientations towards developing student in(ter)dependence, and justice-oriented pedagogies.

Grace A. Chen is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Teaching and Learning. A former high school mathematics teacher, she studies teacher learning around issues of race, power, and equity, grounding her research in critical and sociocultural theories. She is currently collecting data for her dissertation, a phenomenological investigation of veteran mathematics teachers’ sensemaking about relational work. Her work on Asian Americans in STEM has been published in Race, Ethnicity, and Education; work with preservice teachers has been published in the book Research on Teacher Identity, and practitioner-facing work has appeared in The Best of the Math Teacher Blogs 2015. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, gave a Twitter Math Camp keynote on the politics of teaching mathematics in 2017, and received the Peabody Faculty Council Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leadership Award in 2018.

Nadav Ehrenfeld is a doctoral student and a research assistant on Project SIGMa under the supervision of Dr. Ilana Horn. He is interested in questions of how to support math teachers’ professional development in a way that focuses on their knowledge and experience, and how to support math students’ learning in a way that focuses on their thinking and understanding. He is interested in the larger social meanings of math studies, or, as students might say, “What’s math good for?” In addition, Nadav leads the teacher group-work facilitation analysis in the Teacher Learning Laboratory. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Nadav taught math in pre-college and college programs. He holds a BSc in Mathematics & Computer Science and an MSc in Mathematics, with a focus on math education. His thesis on the intersection of culture and math-learning won the 2017 Haim Zabey Prize for Excelling MSc Thesis in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Ben-Gurion University.

Lani bio photoIlana Horn is Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University Peabody College, Director of the Teacher Learning Lab, and Principal Investigator of Project SIGMa. Using sociolinguistics and interpretive methods, her work examines secondary mathematics teachers’ learning in the contexts of their workplace. Her research aims to critique and improve teacher education, and, in turn, improve education for students and supports for teachers, particularly in urban schools. She has published her research in top journals including Journal of the Learning Sciences, American Educational Research Journal, Educational Psychologist, Journal for Teacher Education and Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, and she has published two books for teachers, Strength in Numbers (2012, NCTM) and Motivated (2017, Heinemann).

Lara bioLara Jasien is a research assistant for Project SIGMa, with her primary role as apprenticing new researchers into qualitative methodologies for video analysis. Her research interests lie in developing rich mathematics learning environments both inside and outside schools and understanding the sense making practices people use as they work within such spaces. This research is driven by situative and embodied theories of learning that help bridge multiple scales of cultural activity of cultural activity. She cares deeply about teachers’ and students’ experiences with mathematics and so her research is always grounded in uncovering mathematical competence and supporting mathematical confidence.

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 9.26.55 PMSamantha Marshall is a Ph.D. student and research assistant on Project SIGMa. Broadly, her interests revolve around mathematics education, justice, and teacher learning. Prior to graduate school, Samantha taught secondary mathematics in Oklahoma, New York, and Tennessee. After (attempting to) teach for justice and coaching mathematics teachers, she returned to graduate school to research these endeavors. In current analyses, she studies how teachers’ learning is shaped by enactment in context, as well as how teachers learn ambitious, asset-based, and culturally sustaining pedagogies. Taking a sociocultural perspective, her work seeks to theorize teacher learning through an equity lens. Supported by a National Science Foundation INTERN grant, Samantha works with Math for America Los Angeles Master Teacher Fellows to examine these questions. She uses discourse and interaction analysis methods to study teacher learning in both professional development and content-specific coaching settings. Samantha is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and an associate member of Sigma Xi.

Jessica Bio PhotoJessica Moses is an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University, studying Elementary Education and European History. She serves as an undergraduate Research Assistant for Project SIGMa, where she works specifically with the problems of practice that in-service teachers face. Her work with the project employs a socio-cultural theory of learning, as she believes that culture, society, and learning are inextricably intertwined, and therefore must be studied together. Jessica is interested broadly in discovering more about teacher-learning, and more specifically in learning about the problems of practice- dilemmas- that secondary teachers face in their classrooms every day. She is also interested in studying how teachers recognize, and attempt to solve, these problems. She is hoping to learn about what ambitious and experienced teaching looks like, and about how this form of teaching benefits students.

s8MujgZZT+mKUbQJmvIIog_thumb_b9dKatherine Schneeberger McGugan is a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University Peabody College and a research assistant on Project SIGMa. Her research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics teacher learning and curriculum design. Prior to her time at Vanderbilt, she worked as a middle school math teacher and mathematics coach in Massachusetts, roles that fostered a love for the classroom and an investment in celebrating students’ mathematical intuition. Driven by sociocultural and situative perspectives, she is interested in exploring the ways secondary teachers can be supported to balance the demands of fast-paced mathematics curricula with the diversity of mathematical sense-making offered by their students.

dyong-square400Darryl Yong is a Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He has served as Founding Director of the Claremont Colleges Center for Teaching and Learning and Associate Dean for Diversity at Harvey Mudd College from 2011-2016. He received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Washington.  His scholarly activities focus on the retention and professional development of secondary school mathematics teachers and improving undergraduate mathematics education. He is passionate about broadening participation in STEM and helping institutions build capacity for increasing diversity and inclusion. Darryl serves on the Steering Committee for Math for America Los Angeles and helps to design professional development for its Fellows. Since 2007, he has also been an instructor for the Secondary School Teacher Program at IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute.