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Spencer Gulbronson '12
Spencer Gulbronson '12

Spencer Gulbronson '12 Awarded Watson Fellowship

She'll Explore Creative Approaches to Math Education in Four Countries

By Holly Foster
Posted March 23, 2012
Tags Computer Science Fellowships and Scholarships Mark Bailey Stuart Hirshfield Student Research Watson Fellowship

Spencer Gulbronson, a candidate for May graduation from Hamilton, has been awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2012-13. Her project, titled “The Universal Language: Exploring Creative Approaches to Math Education,” was among 40 national winners of the Fellowships.  This year, approximately 155 finalists competed on the national level, after their institutions nominated them in the autumn. Each fellow receives $25,000 for a year of travel and exploration outside the U.S.

Hamilton seniors have been awarded 23 Watson Fellowships since 1999.

In her proposal Gulbronson wrote, “In our increasingly complex and technological society, strong foundations in science, engineering, technology and mathematics disciplines are imperative to technological literacy, sophisticated problem solving, and equal opportunity. I propose to examine the role of math education in an economically and culturally diverse range of countries. I will volunteer in classrooms, help with extracurricular math programs, and attend conferences, meetings, and workshops. My project asks if an emphasis on science and technology applications encourages an increased focus on math education.”

Gulbronson is a mathematics major with a computer science and environmental studies double minor.  For her Watson project she will examine the role of mathematics education in an economically and culturally diverse range of countries: South Africa, Bolivia, India and Finland. 

Last summer, she was part of a research team that explored a project titled “Trust in Human Computer Interaction.”  The U.S. Air Force funded the Hamilton project to help measure the neurological responses to fear, frustration and suspicion of humans as they interact with computers.

Gulbronson, Diane Paverman ’13 and Matthew Farrington ’12 worked under Stuart Hirshfield, the Stephen Harper Kirner Professor of Computer Science, and Leanne Hirshfield ’02, a Hamilton research associate and member of the U.S. Air Force research team. The project goal was to produce a predictive model of trust between a computer user and his/her computer. 

During the summer of 2010 Gulbronson researched a project titled “Exploring Digital Security Through Course Development” under Computer Science Professor Mark Bailey.

Gulbronson is a teaching assistant in the Computer Science department. A dean’s list student, she is a peer tutor in the Quantitative Literacy and Symbolic reasoning Center, a mathematics grader and a member of the Audiovisual Services tech crew. Gulbronson is a WHCL DJ and an Hamilton Outing Club leader.

She is a site coordinator for Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity where she coordinates and runs a tutoring program at a Utica elementary school with Hamilton students. Gulbronson is also an outreach coordinator and college math literacy worker for the Young People’s Project.

Gulbronson, the daughter of Heidi and Mark Gulbronson of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is a graduate of Thousand Oaks High School.

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was created in 1961 as a charitable trust by Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., in honor of her late husband, the founder of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM). The Foundation initially used its resources in support of a variety of programs. In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Watson’s long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children decided that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program should constitute a major activity of the Foundation. Since that date, the Fellowship Program has granted more than 2,300 Watson Fellowship awards, with stipends totaling more than $29 million.

 

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