Dr. Elizabeth Bonawitz

Featured Faculty

Associate Professor
     Mathematics

How long have you been teaching at Rio?     
Is my 5th year at Rio.

Over the years how many different courses have you taught? (estimate if you can’t remember exactly )      
I have taught 10 or 11 different course at Rio.

What is your favorite course to teach at Rio…and why?        
For the math program I would say that Differential Equations is my favorite course to teach.  For the non-math majors I would say that it is Introductory Statistics.  In both classes I believe that a lot of the material is new, so I have better attention from the students.  Also both courses offer the students a chance to use their skills in new ways.  That is, they finally get to apply their knowledge.

In your discipline (i.e., Math),  what individual (or two or three) would you most like to spend a day with so you could pick their brain?  (you can choose someone no longer walking the planet…)           
I would like to have a day with Dr. Joseph Meier.  Dr. Meier was one of my professors in college.  He was also my neighbor when I was growing up.  Now that I have my PhD it would be neat to have a discussion with him as colleagues. (Unfortunately, he suffered a massive stroke on my 40th birthday and suffered brain damage.)

What is your favorite food?    
My favorite food is anything with CHOCOLATE.

What is your favorite all-time movie (or two)?           
While I enjoy a variety of movies, some of my favorites are “The Princess Bride” and “Young Frankenstein”.

What is your favorite hobby/past-time activity?          
I enjoy reading.  Some of my favorite authors are Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Jonathan Kellerman and Steven White.

If you were not a “mathematician”, what would you like to do as a profession—disregarding whether it paid more or less than what you are making now? 
If I weren’t a math professor I would probably be a psychologist.  If I had more talent I would like to be either a musician or an author.

Describe the one aspect of teaching you like the least.  (Preparing exams and/or quizzes? Grading?  Preparing a syllabus?  Developing a new course?  Lectures?  Labs?  Other?)    
The part of teaching that I enjoy the least is the actual writing down of a lesson plan.  I have no problem developing a lesson plan, but writing it down is the “hard” part.

How many years did it take you to earn your B.S. degree?   
I don’t have a B.S. degree.  I have a B.A. degree which took me 4 years to earn.

What century did your earn your B.S. degree in?      
I earned my BA in the 20th century.

What set of circumstances resulted in your becoming a mathematician?      
I think becoming a mathematician is in my DNA.  I had one grandmother who taught school.  My grandfathers and great-grandfathers were carpenters.  My father was a cost analyst and my mother was a high school math teacher.  So I guess you could say the teaching and math are in my blood. 

If you could choose to live anywhere else on this planet (i.e., not counting Rio Grande), where would it be and why?           
I have no idea where I would like to live.  However, I know it would not be a city.  A nice cabin by a lake (like in “On Golden Pond”) or a small beach house would be wonderful.

Identify one “thing” from “the good old days.”        
One of my favorite childhood memories is touring the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory.  In “the good old days” you could walk through the factory as if you were an employee.  You could have just reached out and touch the liquid chocolate.  And at the end of the tour you were given a full-sized Hershey’s bar.

What is your favorite quote?  
One of my favorite quotes is “The future isn’t something hidden in a corner.  The future is something we build in the present.” By Paulo Freire.