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Couch recognized as a “highly effective” math educator

P.J. Couch, an associate professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lamar University, has been named one of the top mathematics educators in the country.

Couch was one of three mathematic educators to receive the esteemed Henry L. Alder Award given annually to beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been highly effective and successful in undergraduate mathematics.

"School has created many opportunities for me, and Lamar University's role in my success has been paramount,” said Couch. “It feels great to be able to parlay LU's investment in me to the benefit of others, and I hope that this recognition can help me create more opportunities for more people."

The recognition was announced at the Mathematical Association of America MathFest in Cincinnati on Aug. 2, 2019. During the event educators were recognized for excellence in mathematics teaching and the authors of education materials used in the classroom. The awards also honor MAA members for their service to the field of mathematics and to the Association.

“The contributions to the mathematics community we recognize today are crucial to the core values of the MAA. We are proud to honor our colleagues for their dedication to their commitment to MAA's mission,” said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA.

Since joining the mathematics department at Lamar University in 2013 as an assistant professor, Couch has displayed a passion for undergraduate research and the intellectual development of the University’s students and those in the Southeast Texas community. He has been an active part of the Texas STEM Conference and Undergraduate Research Expo at Lamar University since its inaugural year in 2013. He has given his time reviewing abstract submissions, event coordination and program execution. As a graduate student at Lamar University, Couch supported StatFest in 2008 and the Lamar Mathematics Conference in 2009.

Couch is the associate director and a founding member of the Mathematical Puzzle Program (MaPP), a program which designs events to help students have fun through learning and using mathematics. The program emphasizes collaboration and communication, teaching middle and high school students both the necessity of knowledge, as well as teamwork, in the industry and academia. The event takes place on campuses across the country and abroad. The next MaPP event will take place on the Lamar University campus Oct. 23, 2019.

Off campus, Couch is a part of the Key Communicators initiative with Beaumont ISD. The program consists of local community members who work with elementary and secondary campuses to mentor students in campus-wide group sessions. In this capacity he has been a mentor at South Park Middle School where he organizes and hosts tutoring sessions.

Beyond just striving to improve the access to academic help in the local community, Couch has also been an active member of the Lamar University Greater South Park Neighborhoods Partnership since it was formed in 2015. The committee works to create a more prosperous future for the neighborhood by creating opportunity and meeting challenges.

For his significant contributions to Lamar University and the community, Couch was the recipient of the 2018 Julie & Ben Rogers Community Service Award recipient established in 1979 to acknowledge members of Lamar University’s faculty and staff who make a lasting impact on the Southeast Texas community through an outstanding record of service and volunteer work.