For more than fifty-five years, Carol A. Edwards's passion for mathematics education inspired mathematics students and teachers through mentorship and leadership.
In 1973, Carol completed her PhD in mathematics at the University of Illinois, and the Edwards family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Carol became a professor of mathematics at St. Louis University. She later took a position with St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, where she taught for twenty-four years, eventually becoming chair of the mathematics department and then Associate Dean of Mathematics, Science, Engineering, and Technology. She was a co-author of a college textbook in applied mathematics. Carol also maintained a professional relationship with the University of Hawaii in Hilo, where she participated in a variety of programs, including professional development for K-12 mathematics teachers, training of Peace Corps volunteers, and teaching in a special summer program for high-ability high school students.
Carol became an active member and leader in many national mathematics organizations. She was a well-known presenter at many national, regional, state, and local conferences of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). As a presenter, Carol became famous for her entertaining and educational “bubble show,” which illustrated the geometry of minimal linkages and surfaces by dipping simple models into a soap solution. She was Program Chair for three NCTM Annual Meetings, and she served as chair for the Mathematics Education Trust (MET) Board of Trustees. She also served on numerous NCTM task forces and committees and was the editor of Changing the Faces of Mathematics: Perspectives on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, published by NCTM in 1999.
Dr. Edwards also served on the board of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM); in 2012 she was awarded that organization's prestigious Ross Taylor/Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award, recognizing her unique and dedicated lifelong contributions to mathematics education.
Carol was the executive secretary of TODOS: Mathematics for ALL and worked with many other organizations including the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematics Educators of Greater St. Louis. She also belonged to the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) and served on several National Science Foundation (NSF) panels, reviewing proposals for programs in mathematics and mathematics education.
While in St. Louis, Carol was a co-founder of a math contest for local middle schools, sponsored by Math Educators of Greater St. Louis (MEGSL). The contest is now approaching its fortieth year and continues to promote student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The contest has now been named in her honor. In 1996 she also helped found a program called “Emerging Scholars” for high-achieving students at the community college level. She also found time to volunteer annually for the Senior Olympics in St. Louis and was a judge for the St. Louis Science Fair.
Carol retired in 1999 and she and her husband, Roger, moved to Chandler, Arizona, to be close to their son and his family. Carol remained active in mathematics organizations and took a part-time position as an adjunct mathematics faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College where she continued to tutor and mentor students and teachers at all levels.
Carol Edwards passed away on June 21, 2017. Her vision and inspiration lives on through the many people she touched and through the Carol A. Edwards Fund, which provides up to $3,000 in financial professional learning support to persons currently teaching at the grades 9-12 level to improve their competence in the teaching of mathematics by completing advanced course work.