COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics
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Mathematics Colloquium: "Mathematics Majors at All-Women’s Colleges: Exploring Identity and Context"


4:30 pm, Education Addition 216

Alexandria Theakston Musselman

In this talk, I will discuss my research agenda focused on students’ mathematical identity development as it relates to educational contexts. After situating my work within the field and providing a brief history of the research that informs this work, I will present my dissertation study entitled Mathematics majors at all-women’s colleges: Exploring identity and context. The primary purposes of this qualitative study are to gain insight into the identities of women mathematics majors, to understand their assumptions about what it means to know and do mathematics, and to describe the nature of learning mathematics at an all-women’s college. Drawing on identity theory, sociocultural theories of learning, and discourse analytic traditions, I engage in an analysis of in-depth, individual interviews at two all-women’s colleges and of observations of their social and mathematical practices and norms over an academic year. Overall, the aims of this research are twofold: First, to add to current conversations about how to conduct identity- and gender-related research. The second goal is to gain insight into potentially supportive environments and practices for women mathematicians-in-training, thereby contributing to the field’s understanding of the ways in which postsecondary institutions can support all students in succeeding in mathematics.