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Mathematical Sciences Academic Advisory Committee

Committee Members

  • Brendan Murphy, Chair

    Teacher, John Bapst Memorial High School, Maine

    Brendan Murphy is currently teaching at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Maine, and he is active in the Maine Association of Math Teams. He has taught for the last 25 years at the college, high school, and middle school levels.  He is a National Leader and is an endorsed consultant for AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and Pre-AP Mathematics.  In 2007, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in Maine.  In 2005, Murphy was a finalist for the Maine Teacher of the Year and was a 2005 Siemens Award Winner for Advanced Placement.  He was awarded the 2010 Academic Leadership Award from the College Board and is a former member of the SAT Math Development Committee and APAC Steering Committee. He serves on the College Board SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Development Committee and the SAT Advisory Committee. Recently he was awarded the 2015 Mathematics Teacher of the Year by the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation.

    Murphy has run weeklong summer institutes in AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and AP Vertical Teams® and Pre-AP Math.  He has presented numerous workshops for the College Board around the country and has been a speaker at many state and national conferences.  He has presented AP workshops in 12 countries. For nine years, Murphy ran a mentoring program for new AP Statistics teachers for the Maine DOE.  He is currently a Reader for AP Calculus and a former Table Leader and Reader for the AP Statistics Exam.  He is a leader in distance learning and was featured in Newsweek in the May 16, 2005, issue. He recently helped pilot an online virtual AP Calculus class for the Maine DOE and has taught both AB and BC Calculus online for the last eight years. Currently he has over 180 AP Calculus podcasts uploaded to iTunes University free of charge for anyone to view and use.

    Murphy has a BS in Civil Engineering  from Tufts University as well as an MBA from Bentley College.

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  • Tracene Nechamkin

    Junior High Math Learning Specialist , Wylie Independent School District, Texas

    Tracene Nechamkin currently serves as the junior high math learning specialist for Wylie Independent School District (ISD), where she monitors curriculum, instruction, and assessment for over 2,000 students. Her career path has led her from the high school math classroom to a curriculum leadership role. Her teaching experiences ranges from seventh- grade math to college algebra and includes both public and private school.  Prior to joining the Wylie ISD team, she taught at Lucas Christian Academy. As the department head, she was honored as Teacher of the Year in 2007. She is an active member of TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association), presenting regularly at the TCEA state conference and receiving the Jeri Hodges Leadership Scholarship Award in 2012. Nechamkin is also a member of NCTM, Texas Association of Supervisors of Mathematics (TASM), and McMath (DFW Area Mathematics Supervisors).  She is passionate about innovative teaching practices such as the use of technology in the mathematics classroom, the flipped classroom, and blended learning.  

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  • Talitha Washington

    Professor of Mathematics, Howard University, Washington D.C.

    Talitha Washington is an associate professor of mathematics at Howard University. She has been an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Evansville and the College of New Rochelle, and a VIGRE (Vertical Integration of Research and Education) Research Associate in the Department of Mathematics at Duke University. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of Connecticut and completed her undergraduate studies in mathematics at Spelman College. She is interested in the applications of differential equations to problems in biology and engineering. She serves on the executive committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), the Board of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), and the Board of Advisors for the National Institute for Mathematics and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).

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  • Chaim Goodman-Strauss

    Professor of Mathematics, University of Arkansas,

    Chaim Goodman-Strauss earned a B.S. in mathematics in 1988 and Ph.D. in mathematics in 1994, both from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin and works primarily in discrete geometry. He joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas (UA) in 1994 and has held visiting positions at the University of  Minnesota, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, and Princeton University. He served as departmental chair from 2008 to 2015.

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  • Katherine Halvorsen

  • Donald King

    Associate Professor, Northeastern University, Massachusetts

    Donald King is a faculty member of Northeastern University. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950s and early 1960s, at which time he developed a deep passion for mathematics and physics. With the help of very loving and supportive parents, along with a string of encouraging teachers, he excelled in the public schools (especially Stuyvesant High School), and graduated from Harvard in 1968. After a period of radical political activism, he refocused on mathematics and graduated from M.I.T. with a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1979.

    Besides teaching and research, King’s main focus is increasing the participation and performance of underrepresented minorities in the mathematical sciences. He is working on several aspects and several levels of the problem: (1) diversifying the AP Calculus community through Bridge to Calculus, a summer math enrichment program at Northeastern University, that prepares mainly black and Hispanic students to study AP Calculus in their senior year of high school; (2) offering financial support for undergrad STEM majors at Northeastern through the Mathematics and Science Talent Scholarship program at Northeastern; (3) mentoring students through the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences (Math Alliance) and the annual Conference of African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS); and (4) documenting the contributions of mathematicians of the African Diaspora to the mathematical sciences through a website.


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  • James Middleton

    Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University,

    James A. Middleton is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University (ASU).  Previously, he was director of the Center for Research on Education in STEM at ASU, and the Elmhurst Energy Chair in STEM education at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Prior to these appointments, Middleton served as associate dean for research for the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at ASU, and as director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. He received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, during which time he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar.

    Middleton’s research focuses on children’s mathematical thinking; teacher and student motivation in mathematics; and teacher change in mathematics.  He is currently developing methodologies for utilizing the engineering design process to improve learning environments in STEM. He has published extensively in these fields of research. He has also written on effective uses of educational technology in mathematics and science education as a natural outgrowth of these interests.  To fund his research, he has garnered over $20 million in grants to study and improve mathematics education in urban schools. All of his work has been conducted in collaborative partnerships with diverse, economically challenged, urban schools. This relationship has resulted in a significant (positive) impact on the direction that partner districts have taken, including a significant increase in mathematics achievement in the face of a rising poverty rate. 

    Middleton has served as senior co-chair of the Special Interest Group for Mathematics Education in AERA, and on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Research Committee, chairing that committee in 2006. He has served on several task forces for the NCTM, is a regular reviewer for the NSF (National Science Foundation) and the DOE, and he serves on the boards of several regional and national-level research. He has been a consultant for the Rand Corporation, the National Academies, the American Statistical Association, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and numerous school systems around the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.

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