SDS Faculty Spotlight: Maggie Myers

Maggie E. Myers, PhD., is a lecturer in Department of Statistics & Data Science.

Tell us a little bit about yourself - educational background, work experience, etc.

I grew up in a small steel town in Western Pennsylvania. I started to work in a textile factory at age 16. I graduated from Slippery Rock, a local college, studying mathematics education were I actually concentrated in computer science. After graduation, I started to teach at a high school in my hometown but quickly decided this was not the life I wanted. In May, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school so I contacted a former professor who made a call and I was immediately accepted at The University of Tennessee. There I completed a Masters in Mathematics and finished nearly all course work for a Ph.D. in Mathematics education. I was recognized for my teaching so I became involved in developing programs, courses and materials for the Mathematics department, which is why I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education. I completed a MS and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in Probability and Statistics with research on robust design of experiments for logistic models. My work experiences, even at UT, have been very broad, using my knowledge and skills in math, education, CS, and probability and statistics.

What led you to choose statistics as your field?

I was disappointed with some of the research for which I was involved. It seemed flawed. I decided that I wanted to know more about probability and statistics to become a better researcher. 

Tell us about a project or piece of research you have worked on while here at UT.

Twenty-nine years ago, my husband, Robert van de Geijn, and I came to The University of Texas where I immediately converted to Bayesian. I have held many positions over the years, including as a senior research scientist at the Dana Center where I was the early childhood expert as well as a lecturer and consultant in many departments. I have a few papers in a wide variety of venues. Some of my most enjoyable work over the years has been with my husband.  Our research has been on the systematic developing families of algorithms for linear algebra operations that are guaranteed correct.  Robert and I have built and run LAFF, Linear Algebra: Foundations to Frontiers, a Massive Open Online Course offered on edX.  We are currently developing LAFF-On Programming for Correctness that will begin next April.

Who is your role model, in the statistics field or otherwise?

I respect and admire everyone for their strengths, but I’ve never had a role model.

What is your favorite book or song?

Book: Socrates and the Three Pigs

Song: Joy to the World (playing on the radio when the oldest of my three sons was born.)

What is your favorite vacation destination?

I love to travel and roam. Vacation destinations are irrelevant to me. It’s the journey and new experience that I seek.

If you were not teaching, what would you be doing?

I would like to someday get back to writing children’s books and working with families to help kids learn math. If not teaching on campus, I would still teach but hopefully have more time to travel, garden, and refurbish old stuff.

Maggie Myers - Edx - Linear Algebra: Foundations to Frontiers

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