Student Profile

Rachel Restani
PhD Candidate - Mathematics Education

Teaching mathematics has become a political movement. There is controversy over the most effective methods for student learning. Classroom practices influence the perceptions and identities that our students carry with them. My goal is to encourage everyone to have a positive relationship with mathematics.


Rachel taught high school mathematics in a rural, Northern California community for over five years before returning to school to pursue a PhD in mathematics education. Her goal is to continue advocating for education by researching classroom practices that make mathematics accessible for all learners.

My Faculty Advisors

Dr. Rebecca Ambrose and Dr. Tobin White

Research Interests

Classroom Discussion; Identity; Community of Learners; Accessibility


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education, University of California, Davis, 2018                  
  • Master of Arts in Education, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007
  • Bachelor of Arts Mathematics, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2006

Professional Appointments

  • (Aug 2014-June 2015, Aug 2016-Feb 2018) Associate Instructor for EDU 324A – Methods and Technology in Secondary Mathematics I. Introduction to methods and curriculum for teaching mathematics at the secondary level. Co-Instructor: Dr. Matt Wallace.
  • (July 2012-2016) GSR for ISTAR – Innovations in STEM Teaching, Achievement and Research. Professional development program for k-12 science and mathematics teachers to interpret the new common core practices and their implications. PI: Dr. Cindy Passmore.
  • (Aug 2012-2015) GSR for Strategic Alliance II – Professional development program that fosters elementary school teachers’ understandings of students’ mathematical abilities. PI: Dr. Rebecca Ambrose. Posters created by Mark Restani: Download Poster 1, 2 and 3 here.
  • (Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2017) TA for EDU 110 – Psychology of Education. Learning processes, cognitive development, individual differences, testing and evaluation. Instructors: Dr. Patricia Quijada (2015), Arash Jamshidi (2016), Dr. Cindy Passmore (2017).
  • (Spring 2014, 2016, Winter 2015, Fall 2017) TA for EDU 100 – Introduction to Schools. Skills for observing classroom practices. Instructors: Dr. Rebecca Ambrose (2014, 2015), Dr. Danny Martinez (2016), Dr. Cary Trexler (2017).
  • (Fall 2013, 2014) TA for EDU 275 – Effective Instruction: Curriculum and Assessment – Theory, Research and Practice. Best practices for secondary credential teachers. Instructor: Dr. Pauline Holmes.


  • (2018, February) Participant. Critical Issues in Mathematics Education 2018: Access to mathematics by opening doors for students currently excluded from mathematics Conference, Berkeley, California.
  • (2018, January) Workshop Facilitator. Developing and Promoting Student Agency in High School Math Classrooms. Creating Balance Conference, San Francisco, California.
  • (2017, April) Round Table Presentation. Exploring Student Voice in a High School Mathematics Classroom – Racial Positioning. AERA Conference, San Antonio, Texas.
  • (2016, November) Poster Presentation. Exploring the Voices of Marginalized Students in a High School Math Classroom. PMENA Conference, Tucson, Arizona. Download poster here
  • (2015, April) Paper Presentation with Ambrose, R., Banes, L., Bayley, R., Martin, H. Relating Performance on Written Assessments to Mathematics Discussions in High-Poverty Elementary Classrooms. AERA Conference, Chicago, Illinois. 
  • (2015, April) Paper Presentation with Banes, L., Ambrose, R., Martin, H., Bayley, R. Mathematics Classroom Discussions as an Equitable Practice: Effects on Elementary English Learners’ Performance. AERA Conference, Chicago, Illinois.
  • (2014, June) Participant. Culture in the Mathematics Classroom Conference, Denver, Colorado.
  • (2014, April) Round Table Co-Presenter with Ambrose, R., Martin, H., Banes, L. Orchestrating Equitable and Productive Discussion: Elementary Teachers’ Implementation of Mathematics Professional Development. AERA Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • (2013, November) Poster Co-Presenter with Ambrose, R., Banes, L., & Martin, H. Classroom Discussion Observation Instrument. PMENA Conference, Chicago, Illinois. Download instrument here. Download poster here.
  • (2013, November) Poster Co-Presenter with Ambrose, R., Banes, L., & Martin, H. Math Talk in Elementary Classrooms: What Features are Common? PMENA Conference, Chicago, Illinois. Download poster here.
  • (2013, July) Workshop Co-Facilitator with Ambrose, R. Data Days. Cognitively Guided Instruction Conference, Marriott Hotel, Des Moines, Iowa. Download PowerPoint here
  • (2013, January) Workshop Facilitator. Faces of Math Talks. Creating Balance Conference, San Francisco, California. Download presentation here

Honors and Awards

(2017, Spring) Research and Scholarship Award. Graduate Group in Education, University of California, Davis

(2015, Spring) Advancement to Candidacy Award. Graduate Group in Education, University of California, Davis

(2014, Fall) Mohini Jain Family Foundation Award. School of Education, University of California, Davis

(2013, February) Justice, Donna. Bringing English Learners into the Math Discussion. UC Davis SoE – Enewsletter, Research. Link to article

Leadership Positions

(March 2014-Jan 2015) Member of the Social Justice in Education Committee (SJEC) – Attend weekly meetings, advocate for students, plan events and meetings.

(Jan 2014-Dec 2015) Representative for the Education Graduate Student Association (EDGSA) – Attend monthly meetings, plan events, write proposals, provide monthly updates from Social Justice in Education Committee (SJEC) and UCD GSA.

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