Meet new faculty member Lauren Keough
When Lauren Keough started her college degree at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, becoming a teacher of English as a second language was her career goal. It all changed when Lauren decided to take one more math course to count towards her general education requirements after completing Calculus 2 and 3. The next course focused on introduction to proofs and turned out to be pivotal in changing Lauren’s teaching focus from English to mathematics. She absolutely loved the course, and the creative and logical nature of mathematics as seen in that course.
After her teaching experience as part of her mathematics education degree, Lauren decided to continue studying mathematics at the graduate level both to satisfy the State of New York’s continuing credentialing requirements for recently graduated teachers and to learn more interesting mathematics at a higher level. With this goal, she started her graduate studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she liked the dual focus on research and teaching in her work. Each graduate student attended a teaching seminar and was assigned a teaching mentor throughout their studies. During her time at Nebraska, Lauren also had the opportunity to be actively involved in the Nebraska Conference for Women in Mathematics, which she attended for the 8th time this year; to be a graduate mentor for a summer research experiences for undergraduates program at Hawaii; and to work with many in-service teachers through the NebraskaMATH program. She even had a chance to learn tap dancing while at Nebraska.
Lauren received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska in the area of extremal graph theory. She describes her research focus as the study of graphs with the most or fewest structures. An example would be assigning medical school graduate applicants to the residency programs. Such an assignment can be represented as choosing connections between applicants and residency programs. An assignment with maximum number of matchings where the most possible pairings of applicants to residencies would be an extremal case. After earning her Ph.D., Lauren spent a year as a visiting professor at Davidson College before coming to GVSU.
When applying to tenure track positions, Lauren considered Grand Valley because of the math faculty’s commitment to student success. She wanted to be a member of a group that engages in innovative teaching and pushes each other to be better. In her teaching here she has most enjoyed interacting with Grand Valley students because she finds that the students are enthusiastic, hardworking, and well rounded.
When asked what she likes about teaching, Lauren says that she likes seeing students succeed and do a victory dance after their hard work. She also likes to share her passion for and views on mathematics as a field of sense-making and a social activity.
Besides doing mathematics as a social activity, Lauren likes to play trivia and watch indie movies. Additionally, she is an avid rower and coxswain. Having been on the rowing team in college, Lauren tries to keep up on her rowing skills and Grand Rapids turned out to be the perfect spot for that with Grand River flowing right through downtown. Lauren has been a member of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association since last summer and has participated in multiple competitions since then.
We are happy that Lauren decided to join our department to share her passion and love of mathematics, and her research expertise with students.