“My first hope is that [my students] do not leave [my class] with math anxiety… that they see the application of what they learned in society, in practice.”
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Shadisadat Ghaderi seamlessly combines the scholarly and abstract with the pedagogical and practical. With her Ph.D. in the combinatorics branch of pure mathematics, Dr. Ghaderi is working on what she calls “the most important open problem” in her field, the matroid intersection conjecture proposed in 1990. In 2018, she introduced a new methodology and techniques to prove this conjecture for singular matrices and showcased the results at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, CA. Dr. Ghaderi also recently earned a PSC-CUNY Research Award toward completing the manuscript, currently in progress, which details and explains this noteworthy contribution to her discipline. In future research, Dr. Ghaderi will work to generalize her proof to a broader family of matroids.
Even while pondering “infinite structures” that defy the imagination, Dr. Ghaderi is also engaged with the pressing inequities within higher education and STEM-related fields. Through a travel grant from the Mathematical Science Research Institute (MSRI), she contributed to promoting, educating, encouraging, and supporting women of color interested in mathematics and statistics at the 2018 Infinite Possibilities Conference (IPC) in Washington, D.C.
At Guttman, Dr. Ghaderi models energetic scholarship on the theoretical and proactivity in the practical. “This is a college focused on teaching,” she remarks with excitement, which “supports inquiry-based learning and is student-centered. I have the freedom and the support to implement active learning.“ For instance, her Statistics students worked on a highly practical project during Fall 2018: to “collect and analyze the data on apartment rents for two neighborhoods in New York City,” using a series of statistical variable calculations. Through such structured experiences, students participated in identifying and examining key data points and characteristics for a neighborhood comparison. More significantly, they experienced firsthand how mathematical knowledge can directly impact their life decisions, “specifically, statistics because [it] has application almost everywhere.” Dr. Ghaderi’s priority is to guide students in developing the perspective to “see the whole picture” and recognize which steps to take to comprehend it.
Therefore, Dr. Ghaderi implements active learning every chance she gets. She is especially interested in the flip-model classroom, where students read or watch the assigned “lecture” on their own and do the “homework” by discussing and practicing the content in class afterward. Impressed with the learning outcomes of this approach, Dr. Ghaderi plans to apply it more extensively in her future courses and to delve into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) on the subject. Having observed that her students are “open” and “not afraid to share their ideas,” Dr. Ghaderi aims to “use this energy and direct it toward their academic goals, toward the things they want to accomplish at Guttman,” and position them for future successes.