on faculty since 2005
Fax: 708. 239.3987
Ph.D., Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2005
M.S., Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1998
B.S., Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, 1996
Sir Winston Churchill could have been describing associate professor of mathematics Mandi Maxwell when he referred to the former country of Russia in a 1939 radio speech as “…a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
Maxwell has combined successfully her diverse interests in mathematics, teaching, sports, and international missions work through her current position on Trinity’s faculty, which she joined in 2005. A graduate of Taylor University, she earned her bachelor’s of science in mathematics/systems in 1996, followed quickly by a master’s of science in mathematics with an emphasis in operations research from Miami University in 1998.
Maxwell had no intention of becoming a teacher. She believed that public speaking was not her strong suit; however, as a graduate student at Miami University teaching calculus, she came to the realization that she “really loved to teach. … It’s amazing how God can awaken in us desires and unveil skills we never knew we had.
“I enjoy the challenge of trying to make difficult concepts more readily accessible for students. I find the interaction with students to be exciting and I love the sense of accomplishment that [we] both feel … when they grasp a difficult concept,” said Maxwell.
After completing her master’s degree, she taught mathematics at Taylor University for one year. That experience confirmed for her that she wanted to pursue a doctoral degree so she could become a college professor.
“My graduate studies were difficult, but with my goal in mind and through God’s grace, I [earned my doctoral degree from Iowa State University in May 2005] and experienced the joy of joining the faculty at Trinity.”
Maxwell believes that “college is an important time in the life of a student as they wrestle with who they are and what they believe. … I enjoy the opportunity that … Trinity provides for me to encourage students as they make important decisions, which shape their worldview.”
Not content to teach just mathematical principals and concepts, Maxwell seeks to instill in her students “an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of mathematics. Whether they are math majors, future elementary school educators, or just intending to fulfill a general education requirement, I want them to see the interconnectedness of ideas in order to build a strong mathematical understanding … and explore and discover mathematical relationships.”
Maxwell promotes a hands-on, experiential approach to learning so students can arrive at their own conclusions and explanations. She believes that “students learn best if they see, hear, and do, so group activities and class discussions are a very important part of the classes that I teach.”
That approach has proved beneficial to her students as they develop a positive outlook toward mathematics and “grow into excited learners and capable teachers of mathematics” themselves. She is quick to acknowledge that “teaching isn’t the only option for math majors. [They] can use their analytical skills in business, industry, banking, government, and other settings; they could work in data mining or cryptography, or as a statistician, actuary, or financial planner.”
The Crestwood resident is equally enthusiastic about activities such as hiking, biking, and playing sports. She cheers for the Green Bay Packers as well as the Chicago Cubs, and can often be seen at Trinity athletics contests.
“Tanzania, Mathematics, and Me: Reflections From My Work With Tanzanian Teachers.” In Proceedings of the Sixteenth Biennial Conference of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences held at Messiah College,
May 30-June 2, 2007.
“Tanzania, Mathematics, and Me: Reflections From My Work With Tanzanian Teachers.” At the Sixteenth Biennial Conference of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences held at Messiah College, May 31, 2007.
“Reflections From a Journey: Diary Excerpts Highlighting the Content Preparation of a Middle School Mathematics Teacher.” At the Joint Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, January 5, 2007. With Dave Klanderman and Mary Webster Moore.