Associate Professor Nancy Ann Neudauer Named Fulbright Specialist Award Recipient

Pacific University associate professor Nancy Ann Neudauer has received a Fulbright Specialist Award to teach at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town, South Africa.

Neudauer will spend three weeks over December and January teaching matroids at the institute, a center for postgraduate study that promotes mathematics and science throughout the continent, recruits and trains talented students and teachers and advances initiatives in education, research and technology.

AIMS opened in 2003 as a partnership between three African and three European universities. It has received international acclaim for preparing African students for research and teaching careers in the mathematical sciences.

Neudauer will take part as an educator in AIMS Master's, an intensive 12-month graduate degree program that equips students with knowledge of cutting edge scientific topics and helps them develop strong mathematical and computing research skills.

"The program I'll be teaching in is unique in that it offers students exposure to a range of topics, allowing them to make an informed choice of future specialization," Neudauer said.

She added that her course should help AIMS meet its goals by providing formal and informal academic instruction in matroids, a part of the combinatorics branch of mathematics that is not taught with regularity in Africa.

"The award will allow me to provide these students a specific type of instruction that would not otherwise be readily accessible to them," Neudauer said.

She has transformed a two-day course she has taught (Graphs, Designs and Matroids) into a three-week course for AIMS.

Because the course utilizes interactive exercises in addition to standard lecture instruction, Neudauer believes the additional time to administer the course, thanks in part to the Fulbright Specialist Award, will allow students more time to engage in the exercises, which will enhance their conceptual understanding.

"The highly conducive learning environment at AIMS gives students the opportunity to interact more intensively than is normally possible," she said. 

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013