MMI Preparatory School Head of School Thomas G. Hood announced that Dr. Joleen Beltrami has accepted his invitation to deliver the Founder’s Day Address during MMI’s 123rd commencement ceremonies, which will be held on Thursday, May 21 at the school.
Beltrami, a 1982 MMI graduate, joined the faculty of the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas in 2009 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. She was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2014.
She teaches undergraduate and graduate statistics courses at UIW, and worked to establish a minor program in Actuarial Science, which began in the fall of 2014. She is also Principal Investigator on a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).
Beltrami and her husband, Todd Schell, a member of MMI’s Class of 1980, both maintain a deep appreciation of MMI. She was speechless when Hood asked her to address the graduates, but was able to reflect on how graduating from MMI shaped her future.
“I was honored because we have such a close relationship with MMI and such fond memories. To be a part of something this big made me feel good,” she said. “I feel MMI has such high academic standards. I felt very prepared graduating and going off to college. The faculty and student interaction and small class sizes gave me a good grounding. When I got to college, I thought to maintain that interaction with my professors.”
Beltrami earned a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in 2011. Her dissertation was entitled “Competing Risks in the Step-Stress Model with Lagged Effects” and was dedicated to her brother, the late Joseph Beltrami, Jr.
After receiving Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and French from Wellesley College, she earned a Master of Science degree in Statistics from UTSA and taught in the university’s Department of Mathematics and Department of Management Science and Statistics from 2001 to 2008. She established several degree and minor programs at the university and implemented and oversaw a Bachelor of Science degree program in Actuarial Science and a minor in Actuarial Science.
As a result of her extensive background as a professor, Beltrami hopes to share some advice with this year’s senior class about what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level.
“I want to give them a perspective as a college professor. I think it will be beneficial to impart what I think will make them successful from a professor’s perspective,” she said.
In 2013, she received the Provost Legacy Teaching Award. Beltrami was also awarded UTSA’s President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004 and 2006, as well as the Dean’s Teaching Award for Core Curriculum in 2006. Beltrami is the author of numerous journal articles in both theoretical and applied statistics as well as mathematics education, and serves as co-Principal Investigator on several grants.
Beltrami and Schell live in San Antonio with their children, Austin, a Texas A&M University graduate, and Madison, a current student at the University of Texas at Austin.
Beltrami serves on a variety of university committees and is active in many service projects in the local community. Her family has served as a host family for exchange students from Germany and Serbia. In addition, they are proud to keep the MMI tradition alive and are hosting their nephew, Noah Beltrami, MMI Class of 2013, who relocated to San Antonio in 2014 to attend UIW.