COSAM News Articles 2022 April Sean Grate (Mathematics and Statistics), 2022 Outstanding GTA

Sean Grate (Mathematics and Statistics), 2022 Outstanding GTA

Published: 04/18/2022

By: Leslie Leak

Sean Grate is a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics studying under Hal Schenck. In 2020, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with minors in History and Classics at the University of Kentucky.

While at the University of Kentucky, Grate conducted research with the University of Kentucky Math Lab and as part of the Multimodal Vision Research Laboratory. His primary research interests lie in tropical geometry, machine learning, and topological data analysis. Currently, his collaborative research with Jordan Eckert focuses on using statistical methods directly on persistence diagrams to get a performance boost in computing persistent homology.

Grate has been a graduate teaching assistant at Auburn University since August 2020. He has taught Precalculus Algebra and Calculus I, and he has provided tutoring in Business Calculus I and Calculus I.

When asked what he enjoys most about teaching, Grate stated, “My goal in the classroom is to get students engaged. I like for students to understand that this is their class, and I am there as a resource and to provide support for them.”

Last semester after finals, Grate had a particularly rewarding experience when he received multiple emails from students – some attending their first semester at Auburn - who offered positive feedback about his class and teaching style. Grate plans to keep these emails as motivational reminders moving forward.

Grate has participated in a seminar that covers pedagogy in teaching styles. In the classroom, he likes to break students into smaller groups to work on problems, which he says gives him the opportunity to provide more individualized attention to students in order to better address questions they might have. “I like making the classroom more conversational by giving students opportunities for thoughtful discussions,” said Grate.

In his free time, Grate enjoys playing video games, hanging out with friends, and exploring Auburn.

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