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In Service to Students

  • Mathematics major Yvette Niyomugaba with Shelton at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2013.
    Mathematics major Yvette Niyomugaba with Shelton at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2013.

Mathematics Professor Receives Prestigious Award from MAA

Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton has received the Ron Barnes Distinguished Service to Students Award from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The award is “given in recognition of faculty who have distinguished themselves through service and support of undergraduate students within the Texas Section (of the MAA).”

W. Ted Mahavier, professor of mathematics at Lamar University and Chair of the Texas Section of the MAA, says, “An MAA award represents both the teacher’s commitment to the students and the respect of the teacher’s peers, so is truly an honor.”

The award is named for Ron Barnes whose dedication to students has inspired Shelton. “I am honored to receive this award; it has been my privilege to have been the project supervisor, budget officer, chauffeur and mentor for these great students,” she says.

After earning a B.S. from Texas A&M University and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Clemson University, Shelton joined the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Southwestern University, where she has served as the Chair of the department, as well as Chair of the Natural Sciences Division.

Shelton says, “Students who wish to learn math can be guided effectively especially through examples, often aided by technology.” She believes that mathematics is a rich language which allows one to examine and express phenomena from our world as well as in a wider context, and allows for research to address a wide variety of topics from distracted driving to municipal water demand and from wear patterns in hip replacements to tennis competitions.

Thanks to Southwestern’s supportive and collaborative environment, and to funding from the MAA and Pi Mu Epsilon, the national math honor society, Shelton and her students have been able to make seven national presentations in the past five years, one of which won a national award.

Shelton’s areas of expertise include: mathematical modeling, technology as a pedagogical tool, dynamical systems – functional analysis, and assessment of math programs and student learning, and she has presented numerous presentations and papers around the country and the world. Her professional affiliations include the American Mathematical Society, the Association of Women in Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Texas Association of Academic Administrators of Mathematical Sciences.

When she’s not mentoring Southwestern students, Shelton is an avid gardener and recycler, and is active in the Georgetown community.

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