Student Successes

Andrew Gatza

Ph.D. in Urban Education Studies at IUPUI, Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Mathematics Education) at IUB

What degree are you working toward?

Ph.D. in Urban Education Studies at IUPUI
Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Mathematics Education) at IUB

I had the pleasure of working with some of the amazing IUPUI School of Education faculty in my former position as a secondary mathematics teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools. In working with Dr. Monica Medina and her secondary education students and hearing about the critical, cutting-edge nature of the then-new doctoral program in Urban Education Studies, I knew IUPUI was where I needed to be.

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

I had the pleasure of working with some of the amazing IUPUI School of Education faculty in my former position as a secondary mathematics teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools. In working with Dr. Monica Medina and her secondary education students and hearing about the critical, cutting-edge nature of the then-new doctoral program in Urban Education Studies, I knew IUPUI was where I needed to be.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

I was fortunate to receive the 2018-2019 Indiana University network-wide Wells Graduate Fellowship. In addition, I recently had a conference proposal, which focuses on the complementary nature of race consciousness and mathematical learning, accepted to one of the largest mathematics education research conferences. I’m excited on a personal level that my work was accepted and my efforts recognized through the fellowship, but I’m even more excited to be part of a larger conversation on the need to focus on racial equity issues in ALL domains, including ones more traditionally thought of as “race neutral.” None of this would have been possible without the critical feedback and support from the faculty at the IUPUI School of Education. If you haven’t visited the School of Education, you should. They are making powerful structural changes, which in my opinion, could be a model forward for other schools and universities.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

I always describe Indianapolis as a big city with a small town feel, and this is one of the many things I enjoy about Indy.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

I’d like to first thank the tremendous faculty and leadership within the School of Education, and particularly Dr. Erik Tillema, Dr. Crystal Morton, Dr. Craig Willey, and Dr. Dionne Cross. I’d also like to thank the many dedicated students within the Urban Education Studies doctoral program. Without this support network of critical scholars, my work would not be possible.

With that said, my work attempts to bring together different research domains more traditionally isolated from one another: mathematical learning and racial equity issues. Specifically, my work uses a design experiment methodology to investigate how secondary students’ development of race consciousness can support their mathematical learning, and how their mathematical learning can support their development of race consciousness. My research is situated at the confluence of four major calls within mathematics education: 1) work at the intersection of mathematical learning and race; 2) work using novel approaches for studying students’ understanding of quadratic relationships; 3) work examining students’ abilities to assess social information involving probabilistic processes; and 4) work supporting white teachers in navigating issues of race in mathematics. In addition, my research attempts to answer calls within mathematics education for collective professional collaboration toward equity by providing one example of how using work from traditionally different research “camps” (i.e., learning/cognition and equity) can strengthen inquiries, leading to better research as well as better teaching and learning experiences and outcomes, particularly for historically marginatized youth.

In my time as a graduate student, I have also been published in multiple peer-reviewed research journals, and have presented in nine different states and even Germany, including presentations at major national and international research conferences hosted by the American Education Research Association (AERA), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), The International Group of Psychology of Mathematics Education North American Chapter (PME-NA), TODOS: Mathematics for All, and the International Congress of Mathematics Education (ICME). I also serve as a mentor and advocate for secondary students and mathematics teachers locally; am a lead organizer for a regional conference focused on mentoring math education graduate students (Indiana Mathematics Education Research Symposium); serve as a board member on the state-wide organization Hoosier Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (HAMTE); and served on the Psychology of Mathematics Education North American Chapter (PME-NA) local organizing committee to host the PME-NA 2017 conference in Indianapolis.