Date of Defense



Gender and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Rachel Whaley

Second Advisor

Dr. Terrell Hodge


One of my clearest memories of high school is of a day a couple of weeks into my first calculus course. All the students were working independently on the same problem, and the teacher was walking around checking on our progress. I was towards the far side of the room, and had finished the problem before the teacher reached me, as had the boy sitting next to me. The teacher came to him and asked, "Is there anything you didn't understand?" He answered the boy's question and then stepped toward me. I was mentally prepared to say that no, there wasn't anything I didn't understand, but I was struck silent when I heard his question for me: "What didn't you understand?" It was a subtle difference, but I noticed it all the same. It was a pattern that followed me throughout the course. If I ever finished a problem quicker, it was assumed that I stopped not because I had solved the problem, but because I was unable to finish it without help. I was insulted until a couple of weeks later when I noticed the pattern was the same for the three other female students in the class. A strange mix of anger and curiosity rippled through me. Was this the typical attitude towards females in upper level mathematics, or did I just happen to have a chauvinistic teacher?

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only