Given the wide range of environmental and social justice issues facing the world, I have chosen to make my contribution to creating a just, equitable and sustainable world in the education sphere – by developing connections between mathematics and sustainability.
For a number of years, I have taught a community based Praxis course called Math Modeling and Sustainability (Syllabus, Course assignments). Students learn how to use mathematics to examine issues of sustainability and also use their talents to serve as consultants and assist a community group that is examining an issue of sustainability. Over the years, students have carried out a wide range of projects, sometimes with on campus community partners and other times with partners from the Philadelphia region.
In spring 2020, I taught this course as part of the Climate Change 360, in partnership with Professor Carol Hager, who taught a course on Global Politics of Climate Change, and Professor Bob Dostal, who taught Science, Technology and the Good Life.
Through my work in math and sustainability, I was chosen to be the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the national Math Awareness Month 2013 – The Mathematics of Sustainability and was invited to create a TED Ed annimated video on Climate Change, Tipping Points and Chaotic Billiards (my research area).
At Bryn Mawr, I am a member and past Chair of the Sustainability Leadership Group and as, Co-Director of the Environmental Studies program, helped oversee its development into the Bi-College Environmental Studies Department offering a major.
I have shared my work on Math and Sustainability in regional and national venues including as the keynote speaker at the SENCER national Summer Institute and as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Hawaii.
During the 2017-18 academic year, I was the Principal Investigator on the Education for Sustainability – Philly project funded by the National Science Foundation which supported the School District of Philadelphia’s GreenFutures Sustainability Plan by developing and testing out a model of teacher leadership in Education for Sustainabilty. To learn more about what is meant by Education for Sustainaiblity, look at the materials produced by the Cloud Institute including their EfS Standards and Indicators.
Articles about Math Modeling and Sustainability:
- Climate Change 360 (spring 2020): (i) Courses Adapt to Covid, Student presentation on lessons learned from Freiburg, Germany.
- Tri-Co Philly program: (i) Cool Math Class, (ii) Students Do Math and Fun in Philly (fall 2019).
- Student projects from the spring 2018 course.
- Emily Barry, summer intern, helping the Education for Sustainability project (2017).
- The Mathematics of Climate Change for BMC Alumnae Bulletin (2016).
- Bryn Mawr goes 100% renewable electric energy (2014).
- Greening the Bryn Mawr campus (2013).
- Projects from the 2013 course.
- 360 on Sustainability (spring 2012)
- The first version of the math and sustainability course in 2010.
- Students help get Haverford Township to install geothermal system (2010)