COSAM News Articles 2022 June Grant from the Mathematical Association of America adds up to increase a student’s positive math experience

Grant from the Mathematical Association of America adds up to increase a student’s positive math experience

Published: 06/14/2022

By: Maria Gebhardt

Melinda Lanius is the recipient of a Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant entitled “Promoting Success in Mathematical Enrichment through Graduate Teaching Assistant and Undergraduate Pre-Service Teacher Training” from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Through this project, Lanius will provide hands-on outreach educational activities to local middle and high school students.

The MAA seeks to encourage students to pursue further education in mathematics though this program. The $5,000 award will encourage students and provide hands-on learning of more complex mathematical information that may not be in a student’s standard curriculum.

“For me, outreach is about sharing my performance of research-level mathematics with populations who typically wouldn't have access to this experience. My goal is for my community to both develop intuition for what a mathematician does and to appreciate the creative side of mathematical discovery,” said Lanius, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

In fall 2022, a team of three graduate students will begin building lesson plans and preparing activities. “Early outreach training and experiences for graduate students not only benefits the K-12 students we work with. Because these young scholars will soon scatter across the country - and even world - the positive impact of this training is long term and far reaching,” explained Lanius.   

Heather Haskell, co-director of this program and lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has 12 years of teaching experience with high school students and will assist in curating a manipulatives library for the outreach programming. From soap bubbles to wonky-shaped tiles, the “outreach closet” will cover many core areas of math: Analysis, Algebra & Number Theory, Geometry & Topology, Logic & Foundations, and Statistics.

In spring of 2023, the activities will be taken into the classroom as well as presented at STEM-related events. The Office of Outreach in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, will feature these math activities at their annual programming throughout the year such as Destination STEM.    

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