Laurie Geller: Exponential drive and infinite determination
Do not be fooled by her easy nature and friendly smile. Laurie Geller is like the math she teaches: simple at first, but more complicated as you look deeper. Besides being an associate professor and department chair, Geller is the director of the Master of Arts in Teaching: mathematics program and the principle investigator of grants that support the MAT. Geller is more than the sum of her parts.
"Possessing passion, a strong work ethic, persistence and a positive attitude, have provided me with numerous, and often unexpected, opportunities and accomplishments, Geller said. "I am always happy working with others toward common goals."
Geller graduated from MSU with a bachelorís degree in mathematics and psychology in 1996. She earned a masterís degree in mathematics at the University of North Dakota and caught the "teaching bug" while a graduate teaching assistant.
"I love teaching mathematics and statistics to undergraduates," Geller said. "Helping them understand and see the power in statistics and calculus, and all areas of mathematics, is extremely rewarding."
Geller returned to Minot State as a faculty member in January 2002. She continued her education at Montana State University, Bozeman, earning a doctorate in higher education academics in 2003.
Geller advises numerous MAT: mathematics students, who are secondary math teachers, as they complete research projects in their classrooms to improve teaching and learning. Furthermore, several North Dakota math teachers have earned their masterís degrees at little cost due to the $3 million in grant funds Gellerís skills have garnered her department.
Geller was influential in implementing MSUís First-Year Experience program, piloted in fall 2009. From January 2010 to July 2011, she was the associate director of first-year experience in the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning.
Ironically, Gellerís greatest passion and accomplishment is NOTSTOCK, MSUís live arts and music festival. Screen printers, filmmakers, graphic designers, poets, publishers, authors and musicians come to MSU to demonstrate, create, display and promote their work. They collaborate and share their talents with K-12 and postsecondary students, teachers and others without the use of a slide rule, algorithm or calculator.
The inspiration for NOTSTOCK came from Gellerís passion for music, which led to collecting screen printed gig posters made for rock and other bands. After seeing an art presentation in the "History of Rock and Pop Music" class, Geller wanted to bring a poster artist to campus. Her professor introduced her to Bill Harbort, MSU professor of graphic arts; Harbort and Geller created NOTSTOCK in 2007. The event has grown every year.
"We are amazed at NOTSTOCKís evolution and tremendously grateful to so many talented and generous people who help make the event possible each year," Geller said.
Geller received the MSU Board of Regents Faculty Achievement Award for teaching in 2007. In 2010, she received a Minot State University Vision 2013 Award for her efforts toward promoting MSUís vision.