Bethany College Appoints Komorowski to Matthew Quay Ammon Endowed Professorship in Mathematics

BETHANY, W.Va.Bethany College President Scott D. Miller announced that Dr. Mary Ellen Komorowski, Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, will serve as the inaugural appointee to the College’s Matthew Quay Ammon Endowed Professorship in Mathematics. Komorowski’s position will begin with the 2010-2011 academic year.

“I am delighted that Dr. Komorowski has accepted this appointment. Her selection is a true testament to her dedication to the students of Bethany,” Miller stated. “She has served the College for almost 30 years, always committed to nurturing the talents of our learners, including Matthew, whose abilities and potential the professorship was created to foster.”

Matthew Quay Ammon graduated from Bethany College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics. He went on to earn a law degree from Duquesne University and, after working for law firms in Pittsburgh, Pa., Austin, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City, Mo., was recruited by Microsoft — the world’s number one software company — to serve as an intellectual property and licensing attorney at the company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Less than a year after moving to Washington to begin his work with Microsoft, Ammon passed away at the age of 31 when a construction crane collapsed and crashed through the roof of his apartment. His mother, Dr. Kathleen Gaberson, initiated the professorship to honor her son and to help express the important role Bethany College played in his life.

“I can think of no more appropriate individual to be the first professor named as the Matthew Quay Ammon Professor of Mathematics than Dr. Komorowski, given that she was one of Matt’s professors during his time here,” stated Dr. Darin Fields, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Bethany College. “As Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Dr. Komorowski will hold the professorship with distinction.”

Komorowski joined the Bethany College faculty in 1982. She holds an Ed.D. in mathematics curriculum and instruction, an M.A. in mathematics and a B.A. in mathematics and Russian from West Virginia University (WVU). She has also studied at the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon.

Komorowski began her career in mathematics by teaching high school, eventually working as a graduate research and teaching assistant at WVU while a student there and then as a Bethany College professor. Since then Komorowski has established a strong reputation of expecting excellence not only from her students, but from herself as a teacher, scholar and mentor. Ammon was one of many students she has helped lead to professional success.

She maintains a prolific agenda of professional and community activities and continues to actively engage her research interests, which include technology in the classroom, equity in the classroom, curriculum and evaluation standards and alternate assessment. She has also authored articles for publications such as the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education.

Komorowski has worked with a wide variety of area organizations, including the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Instructional Materials Committee, WVDE Mathematics Curriculum Writing Team, WVDE STEP Test Writing Team and the Marshall County Board of Education. She served as vice president for the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics and project director for the Science and Mathematics Education Enhancement Council.

She regularly participates in conferences for groups such as the Research Council for Diagnostic and Prescriptive Mathematics, the International Congress on Mathematics Education and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Komorowski recently presented at the annual meeting of the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

In addition, Komorowski has spearheaded a number of key programs on Bethany’s campus and beyond, including a successful grant proposal with the Appalachian College Association to the Teagle Foundation. The project was designed to help mathematics come to life for students by enhancing curriculum and providing state-of-the-art technology with which students can interact.

Three of Komorowski’s students were winners in the 2010 West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics poster contest in which students were challenged to create a poster demonstrating mathematics using the theme “Mathematical Getaway.”

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.