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Christopher Brownell

Chairperson of Mathematics and Science


Christopher S. Brownell, Ph.D., is the Chairperson of Undergraduate Mathematics & Science Programs (MSCI) at Pratt Institute. He has an education career touching five different decades, from elementary school through graduate school, in public and private settings. Dr. Brownell joined the Pratt Staff in 2023 after leaving a position as the Head of Instruction at the National Museum of Mathematics (MOMATH) in Manhattan.

He began his career as a high school Mathematics Teacher and Department Chair, then spent 22 years as a faculty member at both Fresno Pacific University (where he was named to the AIMS Chair in undergraduate mathematics) and Claremont Graduate University, both in California. His research interests have centered on the role of creativity in STEAM Education and international education trends in STEAM. Presently Dr. Brownell is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts and was recently named as the Overseas Director of the “Convergence Education Review,” a journal published by the Convergence Education Research Institute at the Korea National University of Education, Seoul Korea.

In his present role, Dr. Brownell hopes to facilitate the achievements of the faculty of the MSCI. The focused commitment of this faculty to educate students to embrace complexity and take on the “wicked” problems of the middle decades in the 21st century CE should be fostered, encouraged, and assisted. Brownell views the role as both a supporter and instigator of problem-solving.

PhD, Education Policy & Practice (Mathematics), Claremont Graduate University

MA, Mathematics Education, Fresno Pacific University

BA, Mathematics, California State University, Fresno

Pekonen, O., Fenyvesi, K., Brownell, C., Rumpunen, M. (2022). I am my research and the whole world is my stage, The Lumieres festival in Finland: a harmonious blend of music, art, science and subversive ideas. Brill-Sense (2022).

Lavicza, Z., Prodromou, T., Weinhandl, R., Lieban, D., Hohenwarter, M., Fenyvesi, K., Brownell, C., Diego-Montecón, J.M.: Developing and Evaluating Educational Innovations for STEAM Education in Rapidly Changing Digital Technology Environments. Journal of Educational Change (1-2022).

Brownell,C. Can University Admissions Requirements in Math Change the World? March 17, 2021. Invited talk to the “ISEP Seminars on Novel Teaching Technologies,” University of Porto, Porto Portugal.

Fenyvesi, K., Brownell, C., Sinnemäki, J., Lavicza, Z. (2021). Activating Creativities by Emphasizing Health and Well-Being: A holistic pedagogical practice from Finland. Chapter in ‘Sculpting New Creativities in Primary Education’ edited by: Burnard, P., Loughrey, M. in the “Unlocking Research Series,” Brill Publishing. (2021).

Burnard, P., Sinha, P., Fenyvesi, K., Brownell, C., Lavisza, Z., Steyn, C., Werner, O. (2020). Reconfinguring STEAM through material enactments of mathematics and arts: A diffractive reading of young people’s interdisciplinary math-artworks. Chapter in: Why science and arts creativities matter: Reconfiguring STEAM for future-making education. Brill Publishing, (2020). DOI:10.1163/9789004421585_012

Capozuccaa, A., Fenyvesi, K., Stettner, E., Miyazaki, K., Maehata, N., Brownell, C., Kaukolinna, M., Pekonen, O., & Lavicza, Z. (2020). Exploring spherical symmetries through hands-on and digital modeling: Temari in the classroom! International Conference on the Advancement of STEAM – ICAS.

Fenyvesi, K., Lehto, S., Brownell, C., Nasiakou, L., Lavicza, Z., Kosola, R. (2020). Learning mathematical concepts as a whole body experience. Chapter in: Why science and arts creativities matter: Reconfiguring STEAM for future-making education. Brill Publishing, (2020). Doi:10.1163/9789004421585_018.

Fenyvesi, K., Brownell, C., Salmi, H., Park, H.G., Muntean, A., Kaukolinna, M., Thuneberg, H., Bogner, F., Lavicza, Z., (2019). Environmental problem-solving and hands-on geometry learning through storytelling inside a geodesic dome: Ice, honey, and stardust. A workshop paper presented and published in the Proceedings of Bridges Math Art Conference 2019, Linz Austria.

Fenyvesi, Kristóf, Brownell, C., Burnard, P., Sinha, P., Olivier, W., Steyn, C., & Lavicza, Z. (2019). Mathematics and Art Connections Expressed in Artworks by South African Students. In On Art and Science (pp. 291–312). Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-27577-8_19

Brownell, C. (2019). Weird Math: A Teenage Genius & His Teacher Reveal the Strange Connections Between Math & Everyday Life (Book Review) in The Mathematical Intelligencer; Springer Science + Business Media LLC. Doi:10.1007/s00283-019-09889-5. ISSN: 0343-6993

Brownell, C. Singh, S. (2019).  Math Recess Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption. Book, pp. 241, ISBN: 978-1-948334-16-7 Published by the IMpress inc., Ontario Canada.

Fenyvesi, Kristóf, Brownell, C. S., Salmi, H., Park, H. G., Muntean, A., Kaukolinna, M., Thuneberg, H., Bogner, F., & Lavicza, Z. (2019). Environmental Problem-solving and Hands-on Geometry Learning through Storytelling inside a Geodesic Dome: Ice, Honey and Stardust. Bridges 2019 Conference Proceedings, 635–642.

Brownell, C. (November, 2018) “Real Data = Real Math: Incorporating Physical Phenomena in the Secondary Math Classroom” talk given at California Mathematics Council Southern Conference. Palm Springs CA 11-2-2018.

Brownell, C. (June, 2018) “A Physics Lab in Your Pocket?! The PocketLab opens the door to integrating physical phenomena into the mathematics classroom.” Delivered in Parallel Session 2 on Thursday June 28, 2018 published in the Proceedings of the 7th Congress on Digital Tools in Mathematics (CADGME) in Coimbra, Portugal.

Brownell, C. (December 2017) Interpreting Physical Phenomena via The PocketLab” A presentation to the California STEAM Symposium; San Fransisco, CA.

Brownell, C. (October 2017) “Exploding Dots, The Global Math Project: A Report and Review.  Presented to the California Math Council Southern Conference; Palm Springs CA

Brownell, C. (October, 2017 & December 2017 North) Paper Folding Geometry a Start on Calculus Concepts Presented to the California Math Council Southern Conference; Palm Springs CA and Northern Section in Asilomar CA.

Stone, L., Brownell, C. (July, 2017) “Versatile Genius: A Case Study Intersecting Math, Science, Art, and California’s National Parks.” Proceedings of Bridges Math-Art, Waterloo 2017 Conference. pp. 221-228.

Brownell, C. (27-April-2017) “A Brief History & Status Update on Mathematics Curricula in the USA” Invited talk, Jyväskylä University Conference on Mathematics Curriculum Innovation and Research. Jyväskylä, Finland.

Brownell, C. (20-April-2017) “On HexaFlexagons and the Binary Represenation of Integers” a presentation to Finnish teachers at the “Experience Workshop” Kuopio, Finland.

Brownell, C. (4-December-2016) “Understanding a Deep Principle of Number via Doubling” paper and presentation delivered at California Mathematics Council-North. Asilomar, CA

Brownell, C. (3-November-2016) “Understanding a Deep Principle of Number via Doubling” paper and presentation delivered at California Mathematics Council-South conference. Palm Springs, CA

Brownell, C. (2014-2018 approximately 150 episodes) “The Zone of Potential Construction” a weekly podcast of the AIMS Center for Mathematics & Science Education Research. Access @

Brownell, C., Blanks, D., Friesen, T., Hoff, L., McAleenan, A., Merritt, S., Perry, R. (13-November-2016). “Fresno Pacific University visits Finland & Estonia” a presentation to the faculty in Faculty Seminar at FPU. Reporting upon a research tour of educational systems in Finland and Estonia in May 2016.

Brownell, C. Pauls, S. (10-October, 2016) “The Physics of Falling Objects: An Opportunity for Cross-Curricular Integration” a workshop presented at the California STEM Symposium, Anaheim, CA.

Brownell, C. Pauls, S. (24-October, 2016) “Graphical Analysis: Where Science & Mathematics Meet” paper & workshop presented  California Science Teachers Association, Palm Springs, CA.

Brownell, C. (12-September, 2016). “Mathematical Modeling in the K-12 Classroom: How to Assess and Encourage Creativity” A paper and presentation given at the AIMS Center Colloquium Series 2016-2017.

Brownell, C. (29-July-2016) “Using Mystery to Enhance Joy of Learning” A TED-Talk delivered to the “Better Together: National Teachers Summit” held at Fresno Pacific University; Fresno, CA.

Brownell, C. Pauls, S. (25-July thru 29 July 2016) “The Integration of Life, and Earth Sciences and Mathematics to the teaching of California Eco-systems” a week-long presentation of content, pedagogy, and philosophy of learning in conjunction with the California Math-Science Partnership in Kings County California. (Co-PI’s and presenters)

Brownell, C. (24-February-2016) “Teacher Understandings of Transformation Geometry” A Seminar delivered to the Faculty @ Fresno Pacific University.

Brownell, C., Pauls, S. (29-October-2015) “Graphical Analysis: Linking the Mathematical and Scientific to Engage Students” a presentation @ California STEM Symposium; Anaheim CA.

Brownell, C. & Pauls, S. (2015). Art, math, and physics: All about FOR. The STEAM Journal vol. 2 issue 1. Published online @

Brownell, C. (December 2013) “Where do you find good problems to model in class: You don’t, make them yourself!” presentation @ California Math Council, Asilomar CA.

Brownell, C. & Foster, I. (November 2013) “Mathematical Models in the 7-12 Classroom” presentation @ California Math Council, Palm Springs, CA.

Brownell, C. & Foster, I. (October 2013) “TEAMES: Engagement via Applied Mathematics” paper presentation to National Council Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference, Las Vegas NV.

Brownell, C. (2013). Equations of light: The STEAM journal inaugural issue, cover art. The Steam Journal v. 1 issue 1. Published online @

Brownell, C. (2013). “A Short story about long lines: From Euclid to Hyperbole” invited speech for the launch event for the “Inaugural Edition of the STEAM Journal” delivered 28-March-2013 at The Claremont Graduate University; Claremont CA.