Mathematics Department Welcomes New Faculty
Feryal Alayont is a new assistant professor in the mathematics department this year. Feryal became interested in mathematics at a young age and has always enjoyed solving mathematics problems, particularly when she could find novel ways for doing so. After completing her undergraduate degree in her native country of Turkey, Feryal earned a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and spent three years at the University of Arizona in a post-doctoral teaching position.
Feryal's mathematical interests are in the theory of automorphic forms and L-functions, which she describes as being related to the theory of numbers. She is also intrigued by coding theory and enjoys teaching a course on that topic in Arizona. In addition, Feryal is very interested in the scholarship of teaching and reads extensively to help understand how best to teach undergraduates.
Besides her research, Feryal has enjoyed teaching Math 210, Communicating in Mathematics, and some of the calculus courses. She particularly appreciates working with freshmen since she has the opportunity to help them learn to write, work in groups, discuss mathematics, and develop better habits that will serve them well throughout their academic careers. In the future, she would also like to develop a number theory course to broaden students' exposure to mathematics.
Outside of her professional life, Feryal enjoys photography, especially photographing nature, flowers, landscapes, and architecture. She posts many of her photos on her office door and encourages students to take ones they particularly like. Feryal is also looking forward to more opportunities to ride her bicycle now that the snow has melted.
Marcia Frobish joined the mathematics department this year as a new affiliate faculty member. Originally from Jackson, Michigan, Marcia comes to us from Northern Illinois in Dekalb, Illinois, where she earned a Master's degree in mathematics and was an instructor for five years.
As a sophomore in high school, Marcia had an excellent female math teacher who she found both inspiring and goofy. Through this experience and others, she learned that mathematics was a lively discipline and decided she wanted to help others learn mathematics.
Marica appreciates the opportunity she has at Grand Valley to create an active learning environment in her classes and especially enjoys using hands-on activities for students in the algebra courses she teaches. For instance, to help students understand the idea of proportion, she has asked them to drop bouncy balls and measure the heights at which they bounce. She also maintains an interest in mathematics education and hopes to teach mathematics for future elementary teachers some day.
Besides her degrees in mathematics, Marcia has a degree in German and has enjoyed traveling in Europe. In her time outside the classroom, she also enjoys kickboxing and karate, in which she has earned a blue belt while acquiring many forms over the last four years. Scrapbooking is another passion of hers. This coming summer, Marcia will be working for the West Michigan Whitecaps; though her exact duties are not clear at this time, she is looking forward to spending lots of time at the baseball park on summer evenings.