Indiana University has awarded the College of Education and Human Development’s Lynda Wiest with their Distinguished Alumni Award. This honor has existed for over 40 years and is only presented to alumni who have made incredible contributions to their field and community.
What does this award mean to you and your years of hard work?
I am very honored to be recognized by the institution where I earned my doctorate. The faculty and program there laid the foundation for the knowledge and skills I developed in my field, and my years at Indiana University were a particularly special time in my life.
How did the University of Indiana set up the foundation for your years of success?
During my doctoral program at Indiana University, I was afforded an opportunity to work with faculty who were prominent in the field of mathematics education. Attending a top research university prepared me for the expectations and demands of being a faculty member at a research university.
What is your fondest memory from your time at the University of Indiana?
The experience as a whole was somewhat magical for me by providing a setting for cutting-edge advanced learning on a strikingly beautiful college campus that housed and fostered progressive ideas both academically and socially. I also had an opportunity to meet students and faculty from across the country and around the world, some of whom I am still in touch with today.
Do you have any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps regarding pursuing a Ph.D.?
I believe it is important to carefully research universities that support oneself academically and socially. It is important to attend a university where faculty are active in the specific field (e.g., mathematics education) and subfield (e.g., mathematical problem solving) one wants to pursue and that is research active. The university still needs to prepare a student for all aspects of the career, including teaching and service for those who intend to become college professors. It is also important to identity a university and community setting where an individual feels comfortable and supported on a personal level.
What do you hope to leave behind as your legacy in the field of mathematics education and STEM?
I hope that I will have contributed some new ideas on topics of interest to both researchers and practitioners, for example, in the areas of out-of-school-time learning and gender and mathematics education.