Elizabeth Stapel is the author of Purplemath's lessons and the creator of its graphics. Though she now has a master's degree in mathematics, she never would have believed while growing up that she would one day be a math teacher. In grammar school, her two worst subjects were math and phys-ed ("physical education", or "gym"). For her high-school years, her parents sent her to a religious school where the prevailing philosophy seemed to be that women needed to be married, not educated. (Yes, those kinds of places still exist.)

Upon graduation, her parents put her to work at their church and then at their religious business. After five years of barely paying her ($125/week take-home, for sixty-two hours of labor), her parents finally had no further use for her and allowed her to try college, so she enrolled at the local state school. One of her first classes covered early-high-school algebra.

Ms. Stapel quickly discovered that, though she often found math to be quite difficult, she had a taste for the subject and enjoyed the challenge. She started helping fellow students through the university's tutoring service, later becoming a grader for the math department. While grading homework for different professors' classes, she observed common problems that students have and common mistakes that they make. When she tutored one-on-one, she again encountered these areas of difficulty, and was able to figure out which techniques generally helped students to succeed. These techniques were often those that Ms. Stapel had used to conquer her own confusion when earlier taking these same classes herself.

As a graduate student, Ms. Stapel worked in various tutoring and teaching capacities, and learned to incorporate her success techniques into her instruction. Many times, calculus students would come in to the weekly lab session completely confused by the instructor's lectures. In one mini-lesson based on what she had seen work in the past, Ms. Stapel was usually able to completely un-confuse them. It is these same tips and techniques that she weaves through her in-class instruction and the Purplemath lessons. Her basic philosophy regarding algebra is "If I can do this stuff, then so can you!"

While being proud of Purplemath's success, there were some roadbumps along the way. Ms. Stapel's childhood experiences left her often unable to recognize, before it was too late, that certain people and relationships were unhealthy or unsafe. (reference) It has taken her years of diligent effort to extract herself from at least most of the resulting unpleasantness, and she freely admits that she still has a ways to go, but now, in addition to maintaining and expanding the Purplemath website, Ms. Stapel feels blessed to be working with other people who found themselves in similar predicaments. Ms. Stapel says, "We are all striving to support each other in learning how to have 'healthy, loving, and fulfilling relationships', in ways which are 'safe for us, and respectful of' others. I believe that we all deserve to have 'a life worth living'!" She hopes that all users of Purplemath are finding happiness and contentment in their own lives, as well.

Western International University, Phoenix, Arizona

teaching prealgebra, algebra, and business math to students of diverse backgrounds in a business environment; helping design an introductory proseminar that provides entering students with information and encouragement regarding college success; leading faculty study group on the subject of effective lecturing.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, Arizona

teaching algebra courses; proctoring common exams

South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Arizona

teaching high school students in a collaborative pilot algebra program; teaching elementary algebra classes; piloting and teaching in a reform calculus class.

Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

teaching elementary algebra and elementary linear algebra; assisting department's book-search committee

Simply Mathematics Tutoring, Ballwin, Missouri

tutoring middle school, high school, and college students in various areas of mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus.

Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri

teaching an evening calculus course for non-traditional, multi-cultural students.

St. Louis Community College of Florissant Valley, Saint Louis, Missouri

teaching non-traditional, multi-cultural students in remedial arithmetic and beginning algebra.

Southwestern Bell Telephone (in cooperation with Florissant Valley Community College), Saint Louis, Missouri

teaching a weekend algebra review session for Southwestern Bell employees, preparing them for a college-administered placement exam (a sufficient score on the exam entered students in a special study program, leading to a promotion within the company).

Sylvan Learning Center, Creve Coeur, Missouri

tutoring students of all school grades and of all abilities in Reading, Mathematics, Study kills, and ACT Prep Programs.

Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri

leading weekly supplementary calculus help sessions, grading quizzes; collecting and assessing student feedback and opinion; leading supplementary calculus help-sessions in student dorms.

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

teaching precalculus algebra students; staffing Math Help Room, providing on-demand assistance to students in all classes through calculus; proctoring (group tutoring and teaching) for an innovative self-study remedial math program; grading homework for math department; proctoring tests; assisting in developing a departmental homework grading policy; tutoring all lower-level math classes and all classifications of students, including the physically disabled and LD.

Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona

a course for teachers in community colleges

Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri

courses geared toward a teaching degree; GPA: 3.92/4.00

Meramec Community College, Saint Louis, Missouri

courses for Missouri teacher certification; GPA: 4.00/4.00

Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri

M.A., Mathematics; GPA: 3.36/4.00

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

January 1988 to June 1991: graduate study, teaching experience; GPA: 4.000/4.000

B.S., Mathematics, summa cum laude; GPA: 3.922/4.000

- "Purplemath" chosen as one of HowToLearn.com's top three "Best Educational Websites for Algebra"
- "Purplemath" awarded third place in
*She Knows*national poll - "Purplemath" referenced in
*The New York Times* - "Purplemath" added to Schoolzone's webguide of recommended sites
- "Purplemath" included in Homeschool.com's "Top 100" Web sites list
- "Purplemath" featured "Web Byte" in the NCTM news bulletin
- "Purplemath" included in the listing of "Net Goodies" in the NADE "Math SPIN News" journal
- "Purplemath" included in T.H.E. Journal's listing of General Math Resources
- "Purplemath" listed as a TechLearning "Site of the Day"
- "Purplemath" featured in the Webwatch column "The Telegraph" newspaper of Calcutta, India
- "Purplemath" added to EEVL's Mathematics listings
- "Purplemath" rated by Education World as an "A+" site
- "Purplemath" added to the Internet Scout Report's archive of educational resources
- "Purplemath" included in the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse's Digital Dozen
- "Purplemath" added to Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators
- "Purplemath" listed as a Links2Learning "Premier Page<"
- "Purplemath" selected as an Education Planet "Top Math Site"
- "Purplemath" listed as a PBS "Recommended Site"
- "Purplemath" mentioned in the
*Wall Street Journal* - "Purplemath" chosen as a Learning in Motion "Top Ten Selection"
- "Purplemath" listed as an Internet Web Guide Magazine "Molecule of the Month" site
- "Purplemath" placed on the "Top20" list for algebra
- "Purplemath" listed as the Math Goodies newsletter "Site of the Month"
- "Purplemath" received the "Web Site Excellence Award" from The School Page
- Was nominated by Florissant Valley Community College students for a departmental award recognizing excellence in teaching.
- Published "Steps to Better Homework" in the
*Tips for Beginners*column of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematic'smagazine (March 1993 issue). The article discussed assessment techniques, writing requirements, reasoning skills, and student feedback.*Mathematics Teacher* - Developed a program for grading undergraduate mathematics homework, following the philosophy established in the above article, and demonstrated that high standards, introduced early, can have beneficial effects on students' study habits and depth of understanding.
- Represented Wright State University students at a conference with Erich Bloch (director, National Science Foundation) during Wright State University's 25th Anniversary Lecture Series.

In addition, Purplemath has been listed as an online resource in such books as Cliffs Quick Review: Algebra II, and Elizabeth Stapel has been quoted in various texts (such as this one).

URL: http://www.purplemath.com/resume.htm

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