Dr. Katrina Palmer taught high school math before earning a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from Appalachian State University in 1999. After earning a PhD from Emory University, she came back to Appalachian to teach in 2004.
She said she hadn’t thought of teaching in higher education until one of her Appalachian professors suggested she pursue her PhD.
Palmer said her choice to return to Appalachian centered on the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ great culture, which she said made it “awesome.”
“It’s just a close niche, even though Appalachian is a relatively large school,” Palmer said. “I feel like I get to know my students.”
Palmer said she enjoys being a mentor to her students through research projects, career advice or personal mentorship.
“I like to do research projects with students and I want them to do something that they are interested in, so it is often not in my specific research area but something I know enough about to help guide them,” she said.
Palmer’s mathematical research interests include linear algebra and how it can be applied to image restoration. For example, she has looked at how an image from a telescope can be restored for a better, clearer image.
Within education, her interests include online teaching and engaging middle and high school students in mathematics.
Besides wanting students to learn more about specific mathematics topics, Palmer said she hopes her students learn something about how they learn and think.
“It is important to be a better student, not just in the classroom but in life,” Palmer said. “If you know what environment you learn best in, it helps you become a life-long learner. It helps you communicate with other people when you realize not everyone thinks the same.”