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

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.
May 12, 2011
An article in last week’s Inside Higher Ed discussed the option of teaching at a religiously affiliated college. It caught my attention since I am in my 42nd year of religiously-affiliated education. I went to Catholic grammar school, Catholic high school and college and then even earned my Ph.D. at a Catholic University.
May 5, 2011
OK, so Donald Trump found me out. His recent statement that "most economists aren’t very smart" made me realize that my act wasn’t fooling him, after all. Of course, he has no idea of who I am, but the fact that he pronounced to the world that people with my degree are not very smart well, it just smarts. Ouch. So he knows that I am just skating by, hoping to survive day to day, knowing that my past success is all a fluke and that I don’t have any real talent, after all? How did this person I have never met figure that out?
April 28, 2011
In statistics we often talk about an idea of the “expected value.” By multiplying outcomes of something that involves uncertainty by the probability of each outcome occurring, we are able to find a value that is a good representation of the outcome that would most likely occur. For example, in a lottery, a large payoff is often offset by the huge number of people who buy a ticket just that once, in hopes of cashing in on the large payoff. This leads the expected value of a person’s winnings to possibly be less than the price of a ticket to even enter the lottery.
April 14, 2011
I chose my first job out of graduate school for several reasons. The president of that university was a graduate of my graduate program, had been working in some very unusual areas, and wanted me and my research as part of where he saw the university going at the time (he died a few years later, but I believe that much of his vision did eventually come to be, if only, sadly, without me.) I had come to maturity with the Jesuits, and therefore wanted to teach with them, and the position was in a Jesuit university.
April 7, 2011
I ran into the chair of the Sociology department the other day as I came out of my Calculus class. He stopped me to ask me about a question that had come up in discussion in his class. He wanted to know why it seemed that women were still avoiding majors that were focused on math and the sciences, since he and his students, like one of the responders to my column a few weeks ago, realized that high pay is strongly correlated with the amount of math and science education one acquires in their educational journey.
March 31, 2011
Economics teaches us that we make choices based on the constraints we face. Often, these are based on the limits of the income we have at our disposal. I was reminded of this concept as I recalled my graduate school days of living in Boston.

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