Charlene Morrow

Lecturer Emeritus of Psychology and Education
Women in mathematics; pedagogy; use of origami in mathematical inquiries

Charlene Morrow has dedicated herself to changing the structure of mathematics education and to improving the pathways into mathematics for girls and women. She has codirected MHC's SummerMath program with husband and fellow MHC lecturer in mathematics, James Morrow, for more than 15 years. SummerMath is designed to help high school women develop a conceptual understanding of mathematics and increase their confidence. The Morrows have also designed and initiated a program for teaching mathematics in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The Morrows have recently developed a new mathematics program, SEARCH, for high school women who have a strong preparation in mathematics. This summer program will allow students to engage in research activities and gain awareness of the career life of a mathematician.

In 1999, Charlene Morrow won a Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education Grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant was used to develop enrichment materials for high school and college students. This funding also gave Morrow time and resources to take six undergraduate mathematics courses to pursue formal training in that discipline.

Morrow's mathematics professors and classmates have encouraged her to explore the field further, resulting in a recent paper title, Using Graphs to Color Origami Polyhedra. Morrow is currently exploring how origami can be used to study geometry.

A licensed clinical psychologist, Morrow is affiliated with the American Psychological Association, the Association for Women in Mathematics, and Women and Mathematics Education (WME). She served for more than ten years as executive director of WME and as president for several years.

Morrow is a scholar-in-residence at the Atlanta Girls' School, where she teaches a course on origami and mathematics during their winter intersession. She publishes extensively and widely on women in mathematics and is the editor of Notable Women in Mathematics. She is a frequent speaker at conferences all over the country.

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Courses Taught

  • Introductory Psychology
  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Psychology of Women
  • Psychology of Women: Focus on Women in Mathematics and Science
  • Learning and Reflecting on Mathematics in a Psychological and Social Context
  • Explorations in Algebra
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Enriched Calculus


Currently I am working on developing and using constructivist models of learning and teaching in mathematics, in collaboration with my husband, Jim Morrow (Mathematics Department). We focus on understanding how to best structure educational experiences for females, particularly in mathematics. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses we co-direct SummerMath, and SEARCH, both four-week programs for young women in high school to develop conceptual understanding in mathematics and to increase confidence and interest in pursuing mathematics beyond high school. Undergraduates are hired as teaching assistants and can earn internship credit for their work. We have consulted with public schools, for instance the Magnet Middle School in Holyoke where we designed and initiated a new program for teaching mathematics, and we have given many workshops and talks to educators across the country. In 1993, with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we designed a five day workshop for educators to learn more about teaching mathematics to young women. In 2001, funded by a grant from NSF, we integrated eight deaf students into the SummerMath program. In 2004, we launched the SEARCH program for well-prepared high school girls who want to explore advanced mathematics.  I have also published a series of articles on origami and mathematics.  I continue to develop this body of work, which is expanding to include gender issues in the origami community.

Recent Publications

Geome-gami: A Two Week Workshop Promoting Connections Between Origami and Mathematics (in press).  In P. Wang-Iverson and R. Lang (Eds.) Origami^5:  Fifth International Meeting of Origami, Science, Mathematics and Education.  Natick, MA:  A K Peters.

How Many Ways Can You Edge-Color a Cube? (2009). In R. Lang (Ed.).  Origami^4: Fourth International Meeting of Origami, Science, Mathematics and Education.  Natick, MA:  A K Peters, 351-360.

Stepping Beyond High School Mathematics:  A Case Study of High School Women. (2008). ZDM:  The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 40(4), 693-708. (with I. Schoengerdt)

Using Graphs to Color Origami Polyhedra. (2002). In T. Hull (Ed.).Origami^3: Third International Meeting of Origami, Science, Mathematics and Education. Natick, MA:  A K Peters, 269-282.