Math major combines education with a moral purpose

Brittany Williams ’09
Mathematics major with Teaching Certification
Hometown: H
udson, Ohio

Co-authoring a Braille-inscribed book for disabled children in West Africa is one way this Messiah College mathematics major is stretching herself beyond the classroom.   

“Floating through four years of college is easy,” said Brittany Williams ’09, “if you just have to sit in a classroom. But doing the things you’re learning requires more. It isn’t easy . . . but it’s ten times more meaningful.”

Un, Deux, Trois (One, Two, Three), a 20-page book written in French, combines education and entertainment as sight-impaired and physically disabled students feel their way through embossed images and Braille symbols that tell the story of an African frog who wants to catch ten bugs in one day. His long, protruding tongue sticks out a little more on each page, as he plucks one more bug from the air.

“When I think of this project, I am reminded of the book Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers,” said Brittany. “He writes, ‘At the end of the day, helping people learn how to learn is one of the most important parts of any transformation process.’ Our team-the Education Group of Messiah’s Collaboratory [for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research]-believes that sustainability through education is critical to development.” (

Brittany describes the project as one that fully integrates her faith, values, and skills. “I think the Lord has given me talent in the area of math and I want to use it to glorify Him. Though my major has been challenging, I feel it is the right choice.”

Art major Greg Snader ’07 illustrated Un, Deux, Trois while French language students Kathyrn Fulton ’09, Jackie Van Arsdale ’10, and Chad Watkins ’07, assisted with translation. The book was co-authored by students Katie Patton ’09, and Kristen Wilt ’09, along with Professor Angela Hare, education group advisor and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. In January 2009, the team will return to Burkina Faso’s Handicapés en Avant School (translated from French as “the handicapped moving forward”) to deliver customized literacy materials and appropriate technologies targeted to the learning needs of Burkinabé schoolchildren and teachers. 

To learn more about the education group at Messiah’s Collaboratory, visit:

Posted in 2009, About Service, Collaboratory, Giving Back, Mathematics, Service and Learning, Study Abroad | Comments Off

Posted on August 12th, 2008

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