Skip to main content

Grad Slam Finalist Profile: Education Ph.D. Student Kayce Mastrup

Graduate student Kayce Mastrup
Monday, May 4, 2020 (All day)

Meet Kayce Mastrup, Mathematics Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist

Kayce Mastrup

Program, Degree & Year of Study
Ph.D., Education, 5th year

Research Interests
My research agenda centers around mathematics preservice teachers' development. This is a multi-layered endeavor and requires the consideration of how individuals make meaning from their past, present and future experiences. My work emphasizes the importance of having preservice teachers engage in reflective narratives to reveal and clarify their own notions about what it means to demonstrate mathematical knowledge and competency. This provides a springboard for preservice teachers to examine how some pedagogical practices can create social hierarchies in classrooms, valorizing some students while marginalizing others. The reflection can help them to consider how they want knowledge construction to occur in their current and future classrooms. In my research I will continue to focus on understanding ways to support preservice teachers implement reform practices in their mathematics teaching. I am developing my skills in interview methods, video data analysis techniques and identity theories.

Previous Degree(s) & College(s)
M.A. Educational Technology, CSU Sacramento; B.A. Mathematics Education, CSU Humboldt; B.A. Liberal Studies Elementary Education, CSU Humboldt

Title of Grad Slam Presentation
Storied Identities: The Journey of Eight Preservice Mathematics Teachers

Describe your presentation style in three words. 
Inviting, Animated, Inspiring

What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam? 
In order to prepare for Grad Slam I wrote up a draft of what I wanted to say during my presentation. I then crafted my slides and began practicing using a timer. I often practiced in my office in front of my kiddos and husband. I also shared my slides with a few colleagues for feedback.

What initially attracted you to your field of study? 
For the past thirteen years I have been submersed in the field of education, focusing on improving mathematics instruction and access at both local and district levels. My K-12 and university level experiences as a mathematics student led me into this field of study - I aim to be the math teacher I always wished I had as a child. I plan to continue working with future educators to develop their skills and confidence to teach mathematics at the secondary level, to be a mentor to aspiring math education researchers and to build a research program that advances the field of teacher education in meaningful ways.

What do you like to do in your free time? 
In my free time I bowl in a local bowling league with my partner. I also love to take my two young daughters out into nature as much as possible, from exploring our local Putah Creek to camping in the mountains.

Do you have any mentors who helped you develop your interest and strength in research communication? If so, how did they help you?
Dr. Rebecca Ambrose is a Professor of Education at UC Davis in the School of Education. Dr. Ambrose has taught me the art of clarity in communicating my research agenda and goals. Through our regular meetings we discuss research methods, goals, obstacles and successes. Her knowledge and background in mathematics teaching and learning has been monumental in supporting my graduate school journey. Dr. Matt Wallace is a Lecture/Supervisor at UC Davis in the School of Education. Dr. Wallace has shown me the type of teacher educator I hope to become. His active support in mentoring me designing and structuring math methods courses for preservice mathematics teachers has been invaluable. I am forever grateful for his willingness to open his classroom to me as I gathered data for my dissertation and his support as I develop into a teacher educator.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
I intend to continue my work with inservice and preservice teachers. I would like to assist in building sustainable relationships between preparatory programs and local schools. I believe this is a vital component to teacher preparatory programs and provides candidates access to learning environments that support innovative educational practices, as well as host teachers that embody programmatic principles. While supervising math preservice teachers, I was able to directly benefit from and continue to build and foster the trusted relationships that had been developed between administrators and host teachers that welcomed teacher candidates into their classrooms.

About This Year's Final Round

Due to the shelter-in-place order and the ongoing Coronavirus situation, UC Davis Graduate Studies chose to cancel the 2020 UC Davis Grad Slam final round event on April 7. 

Though the event’s cancellation draws this year’s competition to a close, Graduate Studies is eager to continue rewarding and recognizing the efforts of this year’s finalists. Graduate Studies, along with Grad Slam sponsors Public Scholarship and Engagement and Global Affairs, will be awarding each of the ten finalists a prize amount of $625. 

Graduate Studies will also be highlighting each of the finalists in web profiles and working with campus partners to identify alternative ways in which their contributions to society might be publicly recognized and celebrated over the course of the next year. 

For more information about UC Davis Grad Slam, visit the Grad Slam website or contact Kathryn Raley, Program and Event Manager for Graduate Studies, at

UC Davis Grad Slam Sponsors

Graduate Studies would like to thank this year's UC Davis Grad Slam sponsors for their generosity and support.

The Office of Research serves as the primary campus resource for matters related to research and technology commercialization. OR provides services and resources to simulate research, facilitate collaborations,  optimize infrastructure, ensure compliance and  translate innovations into commercial applications for societal benefit. Learn more by visiting the UC Davis Office of Research website.

Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) is fostering a culture of engagement at UC Davis that increases the university’s impact through mutually-beneficial relationships that have local, regional, statewide, and global reach. We envision UC Davis research, teaching and learning that serves society and makes a positive difference in the world. Learn more by visiting the Public Scholarship and Engagement website.

Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships.

Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.