The excitement of discovery inspires Assistant Professor of Mathematics Emily Cilli-Turner, PhD, to help her students gain a solid foundation in mathematics in the University of San Diego’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For Dr. Cilli-Turner, who began her undergraduate studies in psychology and transitioned into engineering before choosing mathematics, a cryptography course widened her perception of math beyond numbers and formulas. In graduate school, the experience of teaching broadened her career goals in academia.

“In cryptography, I liked looking at patterns and structures. It helped me see that I really did enjoy math,” Cilli-Turner says. “When I went to grad school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but as I was teaching, I realized I liked it. I like when students have the ‘light bulb’ moment.”

Joining USD last semester as part of the Borders and Social Justice cluster hire, Cilli-Turner has focused on pursuing diversity and equity goals in her area of study as well as social justice. Cilli-Turner is one of fourteen new faculty members hired as part of the university’s new collaborative strategy that focuses on bringing faculty from various thematic areas to join the College of Arts and Sciences community.

“I’ve been developing curricula for courses on gerrymandering and mathematics with social justice issues, and increasingly part of my research is looking at more inclusive classrooms,” she says. “In the broader (mathematics) community, there is a call to think about equity and especially access – who is in our classes, who should be in our classes, and creating an equitable and inclusive experience for all our students. The cluster concept also stimulates ideas for collaboration with students and faculty,” Cilli-Turner says….
Full story at University of San Diego.