Wheelock College’s Annual Math & Science Awards


In April, Wheelock College held its annual Math & Science Awards ceremony. Peter Foukal, a former Wheelock corporator who holds a B.S. in Physics from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Manchester University, U.K., and his wife, Elisabeth, founded the Math & Science Awards to recognize Wheelock College students who excel in these subjects.

This year, Samuel Cook, Wheelock College assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics & Science, delivered a keynote address. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas-Pan American and a M.S. in Applied Mathematics as well as a Ph.D. in Statistics from Stony Brook University. He is active in the research in undergraduate mathematics education (RUME) community, where he studies statistics education and inquiry-based learning of undergraduate students. He is a co-author — with Debra Borkovitz, Wheelock College associate professor of and co-chair of the Math & Science Department — of “Student Perceptions of a Mathematics Major for Prospective Elementary Teachers with an Inquiry Based Philosophy.” Cook is a proponent of quantitative literacy and quantitative understanding of social justice issues.

First, 43 Wheelock College students were recognized as Math Leaders. These students lead one or two weekly study groups to help other students grasp mathematical concepts, attend a biweekly seminar on mathematics, and write periodic reflections about their personal work. Their efforts help promote excellence in both learning and teaching mathematics at the College. They each received a Certificate of Professional Development as well as a book award.

Next, two recipients of the Walter Burke Award were announced. This award is named for the late Walter Burke, who — for 40 years — taught in the Wheelock College Math & Science Department and served as its chair for 15 years.

The first recipient, Ryan Antolick ’16, is expected to graduate this May with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Sustainability through the Colleges of the Fenway. Ryan grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, where he attended the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School and developed a love of nature and the environment. At Wheelock, he has participated in many service-learning trips and has traveled to Belize and Cuba. Currently, Ryan is the president of Wheelock Students for Environmental Action (Whee-SEA) and he has been since its inception three years ago.  Whee-SEA is working to develop sustainability and bring it to the Wheelock campus. It also helps to educate future teachers and social workers on the importance of the environment so that they can bring that knowledge into classrooms, furthering the goals of Wheelock College.

 The second recipient, Noah Burnett ’16 of Willington, CT, has a passion for working with children. He is pursuing a double major in Elementary Education and Math & Science, specifically on the Mathematics for Teachers Pathway. At Wheelock, Noah is part of the Peer Tutoring Program and has served as a Math Leader for six semesters, five of them as a Senior Math Leader. Additionally, he is a member of the Conduct Board and served as a Jumpstart Corps Member.

Finally, there were two recipients of the Foukal Awards for Achievement in Math and Science. Erin Bruce ’17 is pursuing a double major in Elementary Education and Mathematics. She is currently interning in a first-grade classroom in Roxbury, MA. Erin is also a Resident Assistant, a member of the Honors Program, and a math study group leader.

The second recipient, Alyssa O’Brien ’17, is pursuing a double major in Elementary Education and Math & Science. She grew up in Lenox, MA, and was inspired to become an elementary school teacher by her aunt and the kindness of her own first-grade teacher. Here at Wheelock, Alyssa is the treasurer of Whee-SEA. She is currently doing her part-time student teaching in Roxbury, MA, and she will begin her full-time student teaching in the fall.

Other speakers and presenters included President Jackie Jenkins-Scott; Debra Borkovitz, associate professor and co-chair of the Math & Science Department; Ellen Faszewski, professor and co-chair of the Math & Science Department; and Peter Foukal, former Wheelock corporator.