"The mathematics education faculty and PhD program are phenomenal. I wanted to be here for the community, the guidance, and the top-level education -- and I was thrilled that it also happened to be in the Vancouver area, which has allowed me to continue teaching in the area, and enabled me to maintain my local professional relationships and mentors."

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Student Profile: Kelly Paton

March 22, 2022
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Mathematics Education doctoral student in the Faculty of Education

My university education spans engineering physics, applied mathematics, and mathematical biology. I teach a variety of mathematics at a university level (recently at Quest University, in Squamish; and currently at UBC), from problem solving and reasoning, to linear algebra, to differential equations. I've always loved mathematics, and communication, so it's no surprise that I've ended up in the Mathematics Education program pursuing the intersection of both.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

The mathematics education faculty and PhD program are phenomenal. I wanted to be here for the community, the guidance, and the top-level education -- and I was thrilled that it also happened to be in the Vancouver area, which has allowed me to continue teaching in the area, and enabled me to maintain my local professional relationships and mentors.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

Despite teaching at a university level -- where the focus is traditionally on the mathematical content -- my interest is not in, say, precisely how a student views or understands a differential equation. My focus is rather on what supports them to engage with that differential equation in the first place. I am interested in the flow of energy or emotion -- 'affect' (a noun) -- in the room, and how it is mediated by e.g. the teacher, the blackboard, the relationships, the context, and more. Additionally, and related: how does care come into play in the learning of mathematics? These are the types of questions that I am curious about.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The enthusiastic availability of the faculty to share their breadth and depth of knowledge is supportive, energizing, and inspiring. I get so much out of every interaction with a faculty member, and I am grateful to them for their time and energy, and their willingness to share and support.