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03/25/2015

Math Faculty Member Selected for Regional Association's Beginning Teacher Award

Quick Facts

 The award is given annually by the Southeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America to a faculty member who meets the following three criteria: recognized as extraordinarily successful in their teaching, has documented effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics and has had influence in their teaching beyond their own classrooms.
 This is the seventh awarding of the association’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty. The Winthrop math department becomes the first institution to have multiple faculty members receive the award.

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Kristen Abernathy
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Kristen Abernathy, a Winthrop University assistant professor of mathematics, was presented this month the 2015 regional Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member.

The award is given annually by the Southeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America to a faculty member who meets the following three criteria: recognized as extraordinarily successful in their teaching, has documented effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics and has had influence in their teaching beyond their own classrooms.

Nominees are eligible from any college or university belonging in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The award was given to Abernathy during the association’s March 14 annual conference at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

In the citation for the award, Abernathy was lauded for her excellent teaching record, substantial success in undergraduate research, enthusiastic mentoring and her transformative impact on the culture of the math department. “Dr. Abernathy is a vivacious and engaging instructor who successfully engages even the most ‘math-phobic’ student,” said Karen Kedrowski, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Winthrop is proud of Dr. Abernathy's accomplishment and we're thrilled she is part of our community.”

Tom Polaski, chair of the Department of Mathematics, added: “I am happy for Dr. Abernathy, but I am not surprised that she won this award. Her infectious enthusiasm for mathematics and her joy in teaching have been on display at Winthrop since she arrived, and I am glad to see that others in the region have recognized her ability.”

Abernathy joined the math department at Winthrop in 2011 after completing her Ph.D. at North Carolina State University. She also has a B.S. in mathematics from Catawba College and a M.A. in mathematics from Wake Forest University. Her research interests include functional analysis and mathematical biology, and she served as a research mentor for Winthrop’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program last summer.

This is the seventh awarding of the association’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty. The Winthrop math department becomes the first institution to have multiple faculty members receive the award, with Joe Rusinko winning it the previous year.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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