Malini Pillai, M.S.Associate Professor of Mathematics
Office: Wass Hall
Department: Mathematics and Science
- ABD for Ph.D. Applied Math, Boston University
- M.S. Applied Math, Brown University
- M.Sc. Pure Math, Central College, Mysore University Bangalore, India
- B.Sc. Math, Physics, and Chemistry, Maharani's College, Bangalore, India
- MATH 204 Quantitative Methods in Business
- MATH 205 Calculus I
- MATH 206 Calculus II
- MATH 207 Applied Trigonometry
- MATH 210 Math Applied to Science
- MATH 212 Finite Mathematics with Applications
- MATH 320 Differential Equations
- MATH 325 Linear Algebra with Applications
- MATH 328 Mathematics Applied to Management (Operations Research)
- MATH 330 Mathematical Modeling
- SVL 209A Seminar for Math Tutors
- SVL 215/315A Seminar for Math Tutors
Professor Malini Pillai is a highly dedicated teacher-scholar who uses innovative teaching and assessment methods that inspire, motivate, and challenge students of all abilities. She is passionate about teaching students the power and utility of math, and has developed pivotal strategies to combat math anxiety among students. A large part of her teaching career has been devoted to encouraging women to pursue math. After finishing college at 17, Professor Pillai completed her first Master’s degree in Pure Mathematics, finishing first in her class at Central College in Bangalore. She was then awarded a Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) fellowship for “the study of mathematical methods for electronic computers,” at National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), India’s analogue of NASA. In 1963, she published a paper in the American Mathematics Society (AMS) journal, Mathematics of Computation, which led to her receive a full fellowship to Brown University to study Applied Mathematics. When Professor Pillai arrived in Providence, she was the only female graduate student in the math department at Brown. While pursuing her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Boston University, Professor Pillai was offered a faculty position at Simmons College, a nationally renowned, women-centered university in Boston. It was there that she began her quest to spread the love of mathematics. She joined the faculty at Lasell College in 1987 and has since focused her efforts on bringing mathematics to the forefront on campus.
Professor Pillai always incorporates up-to-date, real-world application problems in her courses to ensure that students at Lasell appreciate the relevance of math in everyday life, and can creatively apply their knowledge. Her students have presented posters on topics ranging from the use of Markov chains to study the shrinking middle class in the United States, to the use of integral calculus to model the demand for and depletion of oil in the world. Professor Pillai established the Math Minor program in 2002 to provide students from all disciplines with the opportunity to master the math skills needed to excel in their fields and develop a passion for math. She also designed SVL 209: Seminar for Math Tutors, which trains outstanding students to be peer tutors, and benefits “at-risk” math students by helping them to develop confidence and good math study skills. This creates an active and supportive math-learning environment- both in and out of the classroom, and maintains a steady learning pace amongst all students, thereby promoting group learning and maximizing the amount of material covered.
When Professor Pillai is not teaching or preparing for lectures, she enjoys photography, world music, discussing politics, cooking gourmet vegetarian meals, and spending time with her family.
What do you like about teaching at Lasell?
“I realized the rewards of teaching math while I was a Ph.D. student and teaching fellow at the Boston University math department. Here, I decided to dedicate my life to motivating and inspiring students to excel, by instilling in them the joy of learning math and helping them to cultivate proper math study skills. At Lasell, we have the academic freedom to experiment and be innovative with our teaching styles, to do what is best for each individual student.”