Faculty Profile: Monica Gonzalez

Name: Monica Gonzalez

Title: Assistant Professor of Elementary Mathematics Education

Department: Mathematics Education, Science Education and Instructional Technology (MSITE)

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Colleges attended and degrees: I attended the University of Houston for all three of my degrees. In 2003, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. After teaching for a few years, I returned to the University of Houston and earned a Master of Education with an emphasis in Mathematics Education in 2013. I enjoyed learning about research relating to equity issues in mathematics classrooms, and I was invited to join a research team at the University of Houston so I could work on my PhD. I completed my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education in 2017.

Years working at ECU: I’m in my fourth year at ECU.

What do you love about ECU?

I love many aspects of ECU, but there are two things that stand out the most. First, I appreciate that elementary education majors can choose to specialize in a subject area of their choice. Our undergraduate students have access to courses in their concentration that many students at other universities might not have access to until their graduate programs. It is very exciting to be a part of the innovative teacher preparation program at ECU! My other favorite aspect of ECU is the people. As a transplant to the Greenville area, my colleagues have been welcoming and inclusive inside and outside of work. I truly feel supported and valued as part of the team within my department and program area. I am also fortunate enough to be included in groups within ECU that have helped me navigate higher education, stay consistent with my writing, and celebrate successes along the way.

What are your research interests?

My research is focused on preparing teachers to teach mathematics in equitable ways. I have examined specific teaching practices within mathematics methods courses, and I also examined the intersection of preservice teachers’ dispositions towards diversity (linguistic, racial, gender, ability, etc.) and their dispositions towards mathematics teaching and learning.

What are your current research or educational projects outside of the classroom?

I am currently working on a project that examines the bias of preservice teachers with who they identify as capable of doing mathematics in early elementary classrooms. This project was developed in conjunction with Special Education and Mathematics Education professors at Fordham University.

What is your favorite course that you have taught or currently teach?

My favorite course that I teach currently is MATE 2129: Investigations into Concepts of Elementary Mathematics. This content course focuses on geometry, measurement, and data. Geometry is a subject that I have always loved learning and teaching, and my enthusiasm during class is very obvious! I really enjoy helping my students make connections with mathematical concepts instead of focusing on the memorization of procedures.

What drew you to MSITE and, in particular, math education?

I always enjoyed math as a student, and I would often tutor my friends and classmates. I was intrigued that so many people I knew had math anxiety that would prevent them from achieving academically, and I wanted to know where the anxiety originated from and how to prevent it from occurring. This led me to pursue a career in teaching mathematics and eventually to preparing teachers of mathematics. I want to alleviate math anxiety by ensuring teachers have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to provide ALL students with high quality and meaningful mathematics experiences.

Outside of work, what are your favorite hobbies or interests?

My favorite hobby is baking. I am currently obsessed with cake baking and decorating, and I made many of my friends’ birthday cakes this past year. I love trying new recipes, especially if those recipes are equally beautiful and delicious!