Assistant Professor of the Practice of Mathematics Tori Akin has been named one of the most innovative professors of 2019 by the education and training services company Arist for her approach to math education.
Akin was one of six faculty selected from among nearly 100 nominees from universities including Harvard, Stanford and Brown.
“Math isn’t an innate ability, becoming good takes struggling through complications and working hard,” Akin said. Rather than teaching math in a traditional ‘lecture’ format, she has students work through problems in class and utilize her help. In addition to working with Duke students, Akin has also been running the enrichment program GEM (Girls Exploring Math), a pilot Mathematics Program and Research Study through Duke. The free program includes Saturday math enrichment workshops that focus on encouraging middle school girls to explore math. At these workshops, participants work on challenging puzzles to build problem-solving skills and engage with math outside of the standard school curriculum. Participants also discuss gender stereotypes and the current environment for women in math.