Richard Tchen

What he does:
 Like most of his colleagues, Richard wears many hats for the Math Forum @ Drexel, a center for mathematics and mathematics education on the Internet. "Mainly, I administer the Forum's dozens of discussion groups on math and math education. I also collaborate with offsite associates to prepare and position new content on, for example, pattern in Islamic Art."
Math on the job:
 Richard helps develop, vet, and troubleshoot the Forum's Problems of the Week. The Forum currently offers four such creative, nonroutine challenges—in geometry, algebra, prealgebra, and math fundamentals. "Try as we might during our 'Math Monday' meetings, we never anticipate all the interpretations and solution paths that students come up with  and we love that richness."
Richard's background:
 Richard graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in mathematics, and a concentration in Environmental Studies. "I had also enjoyed taking many Education courses  enough to have almost certified to teach in the state of Pennsylvania. So after graduation, I took advantage of the Department of Educational Studies' generous ninth semester program to earn certification in secondary level math." Richard got to integrate his math, environment, and education studies by practicing teaching in a placebased curriculum that revolved around local watersheds.
Richard's advice to students:
 "I value my math major for what it taught me about clarity of expression and clarity of thought—strengths applicable to any walk of life. But I don't recommend pursuing higher mathematics simply because you're good at it, or because you think it's 'good for you.' Do it because you have to—because your curiosity won't rest until you've unravelled a counterintuitive result, or because you thrill for the moment of insight when you realize the elegant proof."