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Spotlight on Sina Greenwood


Sina Greenwood is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics

Sina Greenwood

Sina taught secondary school maths for four years, before returning to the University to complete an MSc and then a PhD, which she received in 1999.

Around that time, Sina became aware that Pacific students were underrepresented and not passing at the same rate as other students in Mathematics, and so became determined to do something about it. She began by trying to bring students together over morning tea, and also became involved in a committee that set up the first room dedicated to Māori and Pacific Mathematics students.

In 2000, she developed a mentoring programme that was launched in 2001 with SSG funding, and also set up the ALDIS scholarship programme which ran for the first time in the summer of 2001.

Sina has continued to be involved in the development and trialling of many initiatives over this time, and has kept up with research and with other programmes as they were introduced. All the while, Sina and others involved in the programme have monitored student participation and feedback, and analysed results. In this way the programme has grown and evolved into the Maths Tuākana programme we see today.

Sina's advice to students is this:

"To be successful in maths, students should start work at the beginning of the semester and keep practicing examples and working on understanding - talking to others and taking advantage of any assistance available. If the understanding is developed over the semester then study for an exam can take less time that for other subjects. Mathematical understanding takes time to develop. It is almost impossible to acquire the mathematic understanding needed to pass an exam by leaving it to the last minute, no matter how many hours are spend cramming."