Jason Frand

Personal Notes and Travel

Since 1966, I have been privileged to explore life with my best friend and wife, Lois. Our nightly walks and talks, cooking, baking, going to the theater, are among the activities we enjoy together. We also treasure spending time with our two children and five grandchildren.  

Traveling is among our major passions. Before we even met, Lois spent four months touring Europe using Frommer's Europe on Five Dollars a Day as her guide, and I had hitch-hiked around the United States.  In the early years of our marriage we did extensive camping (our honeymoon was six weeks in a VW van exploring the US).  Our children started camping when infants and over the years spent many weeks under the stars in the southwest, northwest, and throughout California

In addition to our travels throughout the US, I've been fortunate to be invited to give talks in many countries and each time we try to extend the visit to learn more about our hosts. Writing about our trips is very satisfying, enabling us to relive them over and over again. I have summarized (in electronic form) our travels to Japan ('93), China ('93), Costa Rica ('95), Taiwan ('98), France ('00)Russia & Denmark ('02), and New Zealand ('07).   Other countries we have been fortunate to visit include most of the countries of Europe, Israel, Mexico, Tahiti, and Canada, as well as the Australian continent.

We've also made travel a key feature of our anniversaries.  For our 25th we did our first cruise, a trip through the inside passage from Alaska to Seattle.  For our 30th anniversary, we took a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands ('96), and for our 35th, we joined an expedition to Antarctica ('01).  For our 40th anniversary we ventured toward the North Pole/Arctic Circle via the Norwegian Fjords, and then visited Ireland (Arctic, Fjords and Bogs ('06) ).  For our 42nd anniversary we took a cruise to Portugal, Spain and Italy to visit ports we had never heard of before, and to close out the year we toured India and the Maldives. 

My daughter, her husband and three daughters, moved in with us during in July '09 and moved out June '10.  We didn't realize just how much we missed traveling, so we booked three trip for the rest of 2010 to places we've never been:  Micronesia snorkeling (May), Fire and Ice/Greenland and Iceland (July), and Adriatic Sea to Barcelona (Oct).  We maintained a healthy travel schedule ever since.  We have been privileged to visit six continents (North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Antarctica, and Australia)  and travel on all five of the world's five oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern and Arctic).  We've also have been to Florida, Caribbean, and Maui for snorkeling vacations. Click here for an index of all our travel logs.

Summer 2002 presented a very special trip.  My daughter Stacy married a wonderful young man in Israel (as he is Israeli).  We've summarized what should have been a dull plane ride to the wedding but turned into quite a humorous (in hindsight) adventure. (Israel '02).  Summer 2003 created a different set of exciting options, but no travel. Our son Kevin married an incredibly wonderful lady.  We now have five additions to the family and I had forgotten just how much fun kids could be!   Interacting with the grandkids makes life really super!

In March, 2014, Lois and I traveled to Washington DC to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a cousin, and I contacted a colleague, Evelyn Granville, I had not seen since the 1980s who lives in that area.  We took Evelyn out to celebrate her 90th birthday (May 1st)    In the course of the weekend, I realized that Evelyn was the single most important individual influencing the course of my career.  (Evelyn's own truly incredible story is summarized in this short biography.)  My doctoral studies focused on how young children learned mathematics, a far cry from my career in computers, but it was a major factor in my success at the university.  Throughout my tenure at UCLA, I was an educator looking to appropriately integrate technology into the learning process (as oppose to just a technologist enamored by the latest gadgets).  And all this came about because of a lecture presented by Evelyn.

Both my bachelors (Cal State U, Fresno, 1966) and masters (Cal State U, LA, 1969) were in mathematics, and I was accepted into a doctoral program in mathematics to begin in fall, 1969.  However, in spring 1969, I attended a one-hour colloquium presented by a Cal State professor, Evelyn Granville, about her teaching in an inner-city elementary school as part of a program to put professional mathematician into grade school classrooms.  That talk changed my future.  Instead of starting the doctorate, I spent the next two years as a math specialist teaching at a Compton elementary school and co-authoring a college math textbook for teachers with Evelyn.  The book was published in 1975 (and second edition in 1979).  My two years working with young children convinced me that mathematics education was a more appropriate academic pursuit than pure math.  The agony and joy of my first year in my doctoral program was captured in an article written back in 1973 - Year One - but seems timely to me even today.  I completed my Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at UCLA in 1976.

I spent the next couple of years teaching part-time at California State University, Los Angeles and several community colleges, working on the second edition of the book, and coming to grips with the eye-problem which had been diagnosed in 1974.  I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease which ultimately can leads to complete blindness.  RP is tunnel vision and night blindness, which is my situation -- I can see only that which is exactly straight ahead of me.  It's like looking through a straw;  I cannot see off to the side nor toward the ground.  When I was diagnosed, my visual field was assessed at 30 degrees (legal blindness s 20 degrees and the time you need to stop driving).  I continued to drive until 1991, when my visual field was at 25 degrees.  I didn't want to cause an accident nor hurt anyone, so stopped.  Giving up that independence was one of the hardest things to do given the horrible public transportation in LA.  However, I have been extremely lucky as so many wonderful people have gone out of their way to provide me carpool opportunities. 

After completing my doctorate, I had planned to teach part-time and write mathematics textbooks full time.  However,  I realized with my eye problem that I needed something more permanent, with greater long term security, and a fixed commute rather than driving to several different schools around LA.  Thus, when I found the opportunity at UCLA, I jumped!  And when I was selected, I celebrated.  Thus I begun by full-time career at UCLA in 1978.

My UCLA career was my trip to the moon:  it was an exciting and challenging ride.   With the ongoing innovations in computer, communication, and information technologies, future leaders need to be comfortable working in complex information intense environments. I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the development of information services in higher education and to enable our school to be a technological leader for many years.  Being part of the UCLA community was a great honor.

In 2006 I made the extremely difficult decision to retire (Frand retires).  Little did I know that my new second career, as a volunteer math teachers, would be as spectacular and as satisfying as my earning years career.  The school year is very full:  Tuesday and Thursday mornings I teach math enrichment classes, specially mathematical problem solving strategies, to 4th and 5th grade boys and girls.  The 4th grade is a pull-out, and I have 20 students selected by their teachers.  For 5th grade, I've insisted that I have a full class of 30 Mathletes as I know that I would never have been selected for a pull-out program and we just don't know who or how we are impacting these bright young minds.   In the fall I've been doing a Math4Parents class on Wednesday morning, teaching the basic material that can help parents help their children with their homework.  In the spring, I have organized and run the LA County-wide Math Olympiad for 4th and 5th grades.  Each March we have 150 athletes on 30 five-person teams competing.  My overall goal is to stimulate and reward these young people's positive attitude toward mathematics in the hope to see them as students at UCLA or other great institutions as a way of continuing my legacy.

Goal   Person/Travel   Teacher   Director   Researcher


You can reach me via email at jason.frand@anderson.ucla.edu.

created September 15, 1996
last update April 1, 2014 (not a joke!)