Faculty Spotlight – Supawan King
15 February 2022
Dr. Supawan King, Associate Professor of Mathematics in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) division, joined Harford Community College in 2005.
A highly valued and valuable member of the STEM division, she teaches most of the college-level math courses that Harford offers including Contemporary Mathematics, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus I-III, Differential Equations, and Statistics. In addition, she is a lead instructor for Calculus I and Calculus with Application and was formerly a lead instructor for College Algebra and Contemporary Math. Critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and why everyone needs math in their life are concepts she hopes students take away from her classes.
"Math has been my favorite subject and teaching is my passion. I teach math to help students learn about patterns and build their critical thinking, logical thinking, and computational skills. I love teaching students to learn something new, try different ways to solve problems, apply their existing knowledge to understand new concepts, learn not to give up and try again. These skills can be used in every aspect of life," said Dr. King.
She has developed unique teaching strategies to help her students succeed. “In addition to providing support outside of the class, I implement class activities such as group work, games, puzzles, and interactive lessons to help students have a better understanding of concepts and making connections. Students come to the class with different ways of learning. I introduce new concepts by connecting with something they're already familiar with and engaging them with activities. In-class group activities encourage them to work with others, sharing ideas and using different tools to solve challenging problems.”
In addition to teaching, Supawan serves as Co-Principal Investigator (PI) of Harford’s S-STEM program, a National Science Foundation-funded grant that provides scholarships to support academically talented full-time students majoring in STEM. In this role, she assists fellow PI Prof. Tami Imbierowicz in aggregating data, coordinating the High-Intensity Student Engagement Model (Hi-StEM) activities and workshops such as guest speakers, time management, resume writing, internship and scholarship search, networking skills, and career building opportunities. She also researches and compiles available engagement activities for scholars and serves as a faculty mentor. The goal of the S-STEM scholarship program is to assist academically promising, financially needy students in Harford’s STEM programs to achieve their best academic performance, remain in their selected STEM majors until they graduate with an Associate of Science degree, and successfully transfer into a four-year college or university to continue their STEM studies. The S-STEM grant team was awarded the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM award from INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine. “I am proud to be part of this team to support students to succeed,” she said.
Dr. King considers her participation in the STEM Scholar Step-Up program one of her top accomplishments at the College. This hands-on STEM summer bridge program was designed to minimize or close the mathematical gap for incoming students. She worked closely with Prof. Chris Jones to build the math activity-based curriculum that students used to review/refresh, develop academic and math skills throughout three-week program. At the end of the program, students retested to see if they were eligible to take college-level math. She was also involved in developing multiple assessment tools for the College. One of them is the Advanced Math Readiness Exam to determine if a student’s requisite mathematical skills are sufficient to succeed in a credit-bearing mathematics course. By taking this test, students can identify which topics need reviewing.
She is currently serving on the College’s Institutional Review Board, Math Program Review, and Math Curriculum Workgroup. She has also served as a lead and peer mentor to tenure-track faculty members. Previously she served on a variety of committees including the Learning Assessment Committee, Self-Study Steering Committee (2012, Standard 12 General Education co-chair), Alliance for STEM Education Advisory Board, and Enrollment Management Committee. In addition to her committee work, she represented the STEM division in helping to coordinate Harford Fest, a celebration of the College’s 60th anniversary in 2017. Fun hands-on activities highlighted the evolution and the educational impact of science, technology, engineering, and highly engaged a wide range of public audiences.
Supawan started the Harford Math Club in 2009 and continues to serve as its faculty sponsor. The goal of the club is to gather minds curious about the intricacies of, but not limited to, pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematical development and history, modern mathematical theories and problems, mathematical riddles, and most important, enjoyment of mathematics. She also serves as faculty sponsor for Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), which recognizes and encourages students who enjoy and excel in mathematics. Math Club and Mu Alpha Theta offer many fun and creative math-related activities. The annual Pi-day celebration is one of the club’s fun activities on campus. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she recruited and mentored Mu Alpha Theta students to participate in the Annual Student Mathematics Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament (SMMART). Harford’s teams did well, ranking in the top five in the last three years of participation. By participating in this competition, students have realized that in addition to being good in a subject and having good problem skills, it is also important to be a good team player.
In addition to her work at Harford, Dr. King is active in the National Organization for Student Success - Maryland Chapter (NOSSMD) serving as the Administrative Chair. NOSSMD engages teachers and professors who are involved in developmental education and it’s the statewide resource for all information pertaining to developmental education in Maryland. She is also an active member of Maryland Applied Calculus group, American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC-Math Intensive/College Math), Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the MD Statewide Affinity Group, and Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE).
She believes in Harford’s mission and says, “It’s fun to talk to people in the community and have opportunities to promote our College.” Supawan has volunteered at events sponsored by the College, Harford County Public Schools, Parent-Teachers Association, and the Thai Community. Some examples include Harford’s Open House, Chamber of Commerce Expo, Eco Run/Walk, Inspiration Walk/5k Run – Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program, Educator Effectiveness Academy by HCPS, National Education Week, Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, providing weekly math tutoring sessions for the Cedars Community, being a guest speaker at a local school, and serving as a judge at UMBC’s graduate research conference.
She also served on the Harford County Commission for Women and participated in the commission devoted to support women in the county in various ways, including generating the status report on Women of Harford County in 2010 and volunteering at community events such as the Health Education and Wellness Fair, A Female’s Journey Through the World of Food by Chef Cindy Wolf, Women of Tomorrow Award ceremony, Women Round Table sessions, and the Woman Build 2013 of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, Community Conversation series.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Math from Prince of Songkla University, Thailand and later attended the University of Montana, Missoula where she earned both master’s and doctorate degrees in Applied Math. Prior to coming to Harford, she worked as a math professor at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.
Supawan received a 2018 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award, which recognizes, promotes and celebrates excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges.
In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, gardening, swimming, doing jigsaw puzzles, and especially baking with her three-year-old daughter.
Supawan is a dedicated educator who cares about the success of math students, the STEM division, and other educators everywhere, and we are proud to recognize her as this month’s Faculty Spotlight. Congratulations, Supawan!