Conference at CCC focuses on sharing ideas among math faculty statewide

Date: Thursday, 4th May 2023

CCC Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences Jennifer Jameson speaks to a crowd of mathematics faculty from around the state during the the Arizona Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges conference in Flagstaff on April 7, 2023.



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Coconino Community College student Horizon Gillson is working his way toward a degree in astrophysics.


So, he jumped at the chance to attend the Arizona Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges conference in Flagstaff on April 7 because the featured speaker was Dr. Gerard van Belle, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory.


“I went to get a grasp on the vast opportunities in astronomy and astrophysics,” Gillson said. “I’m trying to burrow down deeper into what I want to do. That’s why I’m here. It’s a reminder of what’s to come, what’s expected and what I can do. It’s been eye-opening.”


Gillson, currently in a Calculus I class, was notified by his professor of the conference, and he joined dozens of math instructors from community colleges across the state to listen to Dr. van Belle and attend breakout sessions throughout the day.


Marcus Szwankowski, math faculty at CCC who was the lead organizer of the event, said, “The importance of the conference is to give a venue for the sharing of ideas between college math faculty. While ArizMATYC is geared toward two-year faculty, math instructors from all levels are always welcome.”


More than 60 people attended the conference, which had breakout sessions that covered topics that included: Reflective Practice in Developmental Mathematics; Culturally Affirming Precalculus; Building Thinking Classrooms; Unlocking Learning Potential: Exploring the Power of Mathematics in TACTivities; ChatGPT: Friend or Foe; and many more.


“The conference hopes to achieve an increased awareness of current trends, interesting facts, and upcoming policy changes that affect and may be of interest to teachers of math in Arizona,” Szwankowski said.


Among the activities for the day was a presentation by van Belle, who spoke about using the mathematical tool of Fourier Analysis to increase the resolution of telescopes viewing stars through the turbulent atmosphere of Earth.


Gillson also attended the event because a few textbook companies were present at the conference. Hailing from a rural area on the Navajo Nation, Gillson said that getting textbooks in rural areas can often be a challenge, and he wants to see if he can be helpful.


After he finishes his course requirements at CCC, Gillson said he will be heading to Central New Mexico University to work on his four-year degree. His choice is because he has family support nearby, and that support will help motivate him to continue his studies.


For more information about ArizMATYC, visit





All Dates

  • Thursday, 4th May 2023