• March 6, 2021
 UTEP Mathe-musician’s project earns NSF accolade

UTEP Mathe-musician’s project earns NSF accolade

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced that a team of researchers co-led by The University of Texas at El Paso’s Lawrence Lesser, Ph.D., professor of mathematical sciences, had won a grand prize at the NSF’s inaugural “We Are Mathematics” video competition.

Lesser’s video won the Mid/Advanced Career category. The festival, which drew about 20,000 people, screened the video.

“I was thrilled by every part of this experience,” said Lesser, who has won multiple awards as an educator and songwriter. “This project has been the most creative and fascinating interdisciplinary project of my career.”

The NSF presented the $3,000 award to Lesser and members of his team on May 3, 2019, at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., before the National Math Festival.

Lesser said several UTEP colleagues and students played a major role in the project. He specifically praised the Department of Music’s Dominic Dousa, D.A., associate professor of music theory, aural skills and composition, and Stephen Haddad, commercial music area coordinator.

The group’s NSF-funded Project SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs) created and is assessing an online collection of 26 high-quality, interactive songs that span learning objectives of introductory statistics.

The competition’s goal was to bring mathematics to life and encourage the study of advanced mathematics and research in mathematical sciences.

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