Rosemarie Emanuele

"Math Geek Mom"

Although she holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, Rosemarie Emanuele is a professor and the chair of the Department of Mathematics at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. She loves to teach math but also pursues research related to the economics of nonprofit organizations and volunteer labor, and has published in both economics and interdisciplinary journals — as well as in the book that inspired this blog. She is the proud mother of a wonderful daughter.

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Most Recent Articles

July 21, 2011
A town not far from where I work defines itself as “The City of Choice”, and I used to laugh that perhaps I should move there, since I am an economist. Economics is essentially the study of how people make decisions, or choices, given the constraints they face. For example, given our budgets, we choose what products to buy, with one of these products being “leisure”, or, more accurately, “leisure and home production”, since one thing we can choose is to spend our time caring for our family.
July 14, 2011
Even though we all know that discrimination continues to exist in our economy, economists often say that discriminatory actions will lead to market opportunities for competitors, as those competitors hire qualified workers who are eliminated from the hiring pool based on factors unrelated to productivity. The same would apply to firms that refuse to sell products to whole groups of people, as such preferences are “purchased” at the high price of lost revenue.
July 7, 2011
As a math geek, I often find myself using math language to describe everyday life. For example, if I don't think that someone is credible, I might say "just take what he has to say and multiply by zero." Of course, multiplying by zero makes the product disappear to zero. I couldn't help but think of this when I learned recently that a big part of my life as a graduate student had, in effect, been multiplied by zero.
June 30, 2011
I recently found myself working a problem on the board in Statistics in which two values were subtracted to find the difference that turned out to be 0.1972. As I read the value from the board, reading it as “zero point nineteen seventy two” when I stopped for a second and asked my students “ok, so who else in here remembers 1972?” I expected a wave of groans from people born since 1990, but instead discovered that most of the students in that particular class were close to my age, with several being older.
June 23, 2011
When my daughter switched schools this past year, I knew from the beginning that I wanted her to attend a camp this summer with friends from her new school. That would solidify friendships from the school year, and help her further develop language and social skills. Luckily, I found a camp that two of her good friends attend, and signed her up. I must admit that I was a little nervous about the dynamics of having three girls together in such a setting, but I trusted that, as they usually do, they would work out any problems.
June 16, 2011
In looking at the integers, we note that even and odd integers alternate, with each even integer being followed by an odd integer. In many ways, in our department, this is how the duties are distributed between the two full time faculty members. For several years, I will serve as chair, until I get to pass it back to my one full-time colleague in what seems like an academic version of the game “hot potato.” I thought of this recently when Ursuline College ordered a new pattern for our business cards, and I ordered two boxes of them.
June 9, 2011
There is a concept in math called the “well ordering property” that states that every nonempty set of integers has a least element. If we were to list, for example, the positive odd integers, we could start with the first odd integer, one, and go on from there. Although seemingly obvious, this concept is used to prove some important theorems. It is an idea that I thought of as I realized that the first of a series of days known as “summer vacation” began this past week.
June 2, 2011
One of the joys of teaching at Ursuline College is that I often get to teach women (and an occasional man) who come back to college after being away for many years. I am constantly amazed at their courage as they turn a new corner in their lives, a corner that is often difficult and brings with it a new set of challenges. Although my job is to teach math, I often find myself being as much a cheerleader as a math teacher, as I convince people who have raised multiple children that they, can, indeed, learn the material I am teaching.
May 26, 2011
We often think of equality in two different ways. On the one hand there is equality of opportunity, where everyone has an equal chance to succeed according to their own efforts and skills. On the other hand (and, of course, we assume that economists all have two hands…), there is equality of outcome, which looks at the results, and not at the opportunities afforded different people. Both measures are flawed in their own way. Just because people have equality of opportunity, does that make it ok for there to be huge discrepancies in outcomes?
May 19, 2011
The phrase "one-to-one correspondence" is sometimes used in mathematics. This describes, for example, how numbers, often learned as abstract sounds in early childhood, can be, one by one, matched with objects. As parents may realize, this is how we teach a child how to count. One-to-one correspondence also shows up in other places in math, as, for example, when rational numbers may be put into one-to one correspondence with the integers, thus showing that there are a countable number of rational numbers.


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