Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is honored to announce that College of Arts & Sciences mathematics instructor Angela Antonou, Ph.D., has earned the Early Career Teaching Award through the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (ISMAA). Antonou, who has been an assistant professor with USF since 2014, will formally accept the award at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the ISMAA.

Antonou highly values the opportunity she has each day to interact with students. She also embraces the resonance those interactions have with them.

“As faculty at USF, we have the opportunity to impact our students’ lives in a significant way. Since our department and the students in our programs often become very familiar with each other over time, we are able to provide more tailored guidance and encouragement,” Antonou said.

“From my own experiences, I have had students tell me that I was a big influence in their decision to continue onto graduate school, even if others had discouraged them in the past. Being able to help guide students to see their potential, whether through personal mentoring sessions, by inviting them to attend conferences, or by encouraging them to conduct research, is one of the most encouraging aspects of teaching. From my own experience, I had never imagined I would have pursued a doctorate degree. It took the encouragement of a faculty member to make me realize I could and should continue further in my education, and so it brings me great joy to be able to share that experience with my students,” she added.

Antonou has identified two key attributes that she feels have contributed to her effectiveness at teaching at the collegiate level.

“The first of these is a willingness to try new approaches and to learn and grow through those experiences. The second is the intentional pursuit of opportunities. In fact, the opportunities that I have gained through my career at USF to share mathematics with the community overall have been among the most enjoyable aspects of my job.  Through running professional development programs for teachers,  running math camps for middle school students, conducting research with undergraduate students, organizing events with the math club at USF, or working with other colleagues on projects, I am able to connect with students, teachers, and the community and experience a renewed enthusiasm for my field as we explore mathematics and the teaching of mathematics together,” she said.

Antonou earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (with a minor in computer science) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and both a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctoral degree in mathematics from Northern Illinois University.

About the Early Career Teaching Award through MAA

In January 2003 the MAA established the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member to honor beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extra ordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. In 2017, the Awards Committee of the Illinois Section decided to create its own Early Career Teaching Award to recognize those within their professional community who are early in their career and have already established a record of effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics. MAA defines individuals as being early career if they have been teaching as full-time faculty in a department of mathematical sciences for at least one but not more than six years since receiving the Ph.D.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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