Written by: Chelsea Cabral
After five years of being a classroom teacher, Travis Weiland, PhD '17 wanted more. He wanted to make sense of the issues he was seeing in the classroom, and he wanted to improve the experiences that students have with learning mathematics. He believed that UMass Dartmouth’s Mathematics Education PhD program was the perfect way for him to accomplish that.
In his final year in the program, he plans on moving to Boone, North Carolina to start his tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Appalachian State University. “It amazes me how much I have learned over the past four years in the program,” said Weiland. “I feel very prepared to begin my new career because of the amazing support and preparation I have received from the faculty who have prepared me to be able to hit the ground running in my career after I leave UMassD.”
Mentors play an important role
Some of his mentors—Dr. Chandra Orrill and Dr. Shakhnoza Kayumova—helped Weiland navigate through his transition as a doctoral student and gave him room to learn and grow as a scholar. “They have helped me immensely in refining my ideas and writing while also creating a space for me to explore philosophy and theories and how they intersect with the work I am doing for my dissertation,” said Weiland.
“I would say the most important factor in deciding upon a program is the faculty, because they are the ones that you are going to being working closely with throughout the program and who will be supporting you in your development as a scholar; the professors at UMassD do an amazing job of working with students in the program.”
Internship and research are vital experiences
During his time at UMass Dartmouth, Weiland had the opportunity to intern with Dr. Richard Lehrer at Vanderbilt University to research middle school students in developing statistical reasoning by engaging them in the construction of data, the invention of statistics, and the development of models of chance. He has also presented his own research at UMass Dartmouth’s EMIRGE conference, and at the International Congress of Mathematics Educators in Germany, along with teaching courses in the STEM Education and Teacher Development departments.
“Through reading about philosophy, theories, and methodologies, I have gained new insight into how I can make sense of both the physical and social world around me,” said Weiland. “In applying those readings and ideas in working on faculty research projects and carrying out my own research, I have learned new ways of gaining fresh insights and using them to shape the world around me.”