March 24 Day 381: Small World

Some days the world is smaller than others. I was cold-called by a group in the UK about the possibility of recording some math lectures for their start-up enterprise. This felt like a legit inquiry and I responded. Today’s conversation was a delight.

Amber, the person who contacted me, grew up ~11 blocks from where I currently live even though she now lives and works in the UK. She attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools as my oldest son. They overlapped in HS one year and in elementary a couple years—though I don’t think they knew each other. We reminisced about teachers and Tacoma. I shared #tacomamath’s Math Around Town series. She was delighted to be reminded of her home; I was delighted to be able to claim an international audience.

Our worlds got even smaller when I learned that she attended Lewis & Clark as an undergraduate mathematics major. She had been taught by several people I consider good friends, co-authors, and colleagues.

My husband will say I like the limelight, perhaps a little too much. When I was a young assistant professor in Southern California, I responded to a call cold from a film producer looking for a math consultant. In the end, I took a screen test and became the “on camera talent” for educational videos (for shame on you. I’m talking about honest to goodness VHS video tapes to support a mathematics textbook. I don’t know what you are thinking. ) I had a great experience and one summer turned the basement of my LA house into a recording studio. I was a woman before my time, suggesting we consider DVD as a possible distribution format. Waaaay before YouTube, WebAssign, Khan Academy, or the like.

I loved the conversation and am positively inclined to consider this opportunity.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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