Dorina Mitrea has great talent for helping students comprehend and even enjoy calculus and other high-level math. “Never have I had a teacher who made such difficult material easy to understand”, one student says. Another student praises her “marvelous ability to restate a problem/issue in a different way (or graphically) to clarify the point.” One of her colleagues says that, as a woman, Mitrea is an important role model for female students in the field of mathematics. One such student whom Mitrea has mentored says: “She has deepened my desire to study mathematics in depth. The ability to get students to think not just about homework or test questions but about material not required for the course is the mark of a good professor.”
Mitrea earned her master’s degree from the University of Bucharest and her doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She joined the MU faculty in 1996 and has received the Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award. In 2001, the National Science Foundation awarded her and several others a $1.19 million grant to develop courses and recruitment models for middle school math teachers. As part of this project, she and a colleague created a pioneering new calculus course for middle school teachers and co-authored Calculus Connections: Connecting Middle School and College Mathematics for the class. Mitrea also coached a team of sixth and seventh graders for MATHCOUNTS, a national mathematics competition, in 2003. After her team placed first in the state, she coached the Missouri all-star team to second place at the national level.