Wentworth Speaker For CSC Graduate Commencement

CHADRON – Chadron State College winter commencement is Friday, Dec 13, with 229 candidates and separate ceremonies for graduate and bachelor’s degrees.

Mathematics Professor Dr. Beth Wentworth is the speaker for the graduate ceremony in Memorial Hall at 2 p.m. She is North Dakota native who joined the CSC faculty in 2004.

Wentworth earned her doctorate from the University of Minnesota after receiving a master’s degree in 1998 from Northern State University and a bachelor’s in elementary math education from Minot State University in 1972.

Wentworth has been nominated for the college’s Teaching Excellence Award five times. In a recent nomination, her colleague, Dr. Rob Stack, said Wentworth’s students receive the highest quality instruction, including technology, group work, and hands-on experience.

Stack said Wentworth’s leadership in math education is unparalleled in western Nebraska. She regularly shares her expertise and passion about math education by including CSC students when she travels to state, regional, and national conferences.

Wentworth has been described as a cheerleader for her students and she embraces that portrayal. Unsurprisingly, she wants her math education students to also advocate and mentor their pupils.

In addition to being a champion for future teachers, she has served as a member of campus committees including Graduate Council, Academic Review, Faculty Development, Educational Preparation Program, and the Scholastic Contest.

Wentworth’s reputation at CSC is in part linked to the outreach programs she helped establish for elementary and middle school students.

In 2010, she proposed a collaborative program with Chadron Public Schools and since then CSC students majoring in elementary and middle school math education have been helping area youth strengthen their math skills during the school day and after school.

Lorna Eliason, director of the Chadron After School Program, said the district is fortunate Wentworth’s vision brought to life the dreams of several CSC alumni and young educators. Additionally, the experience gives CSC math tutors real-world experience and an edge in the job market.

In 2013, Wentworth expanded the program to include a Family Math Night for K-6 pupils and their families in Hay Springs, Nebraska, in response to a request from Jessie Anderson, a fifth grade teacher.

Anderson said she appreciates Wentworth’s dedication to the partnership and admires the CSC students for creating educational games that are accessible and age-appropriate.

CSC math education students work in groups and provide Wentworth with feedback and suggestions for the following year. Wentworth believes it is important for pre-service teachers to understand they do not simply dispense knowledge, but rather help their students solve problems and find answers.

In 2018, Wentworth’s innovative teaching techniques, devotion and commitment to her career were recognized by her peers when she received the Milton W. Beckman Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference.

Deb Romanek, a math education specialist with the Nebraska Department of Education, nominated Wentworth, who was one of 12 teacher leaders in a pilot project that became the model for the statewide Nebraska Mathematics Professional Development Series. That program eventually affected thousands of K-12 math teachers, according to Romanek.

Wentworth also served two terms on the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics Executive Board as College Math Education representative.

Wentworth’s husband, John, is a retired farmer. They have been married since 1976 and have two adult children, and four grandchildren.

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