Members' Seminar

Topic: Math for underprivileged high school kids

Speaker: Rajiv Gandhi, Dan Zaharopol

Affiliation: Program on Algorithmic and Combinatorial Thinking (PACT), Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM)

Date & Time: Monday March 12th, 2018, 2:00pm - 7:00pm

Location: Simonyi Hall 101


We will hear from two passionate creators of successful mentoring programs in math for high school kids in educationally challenged environments. They will give back-to-back talks about their experiences and educational insights.    Rajiv Gandhi "From Potential to Promise - Developing Scholars, one Eureka moment at a time."  In this talk, I will tell the story of our work with some truly remarkable undergraduate students at Rutgers-Camden, who despite many odds have achieved success that is unprecedented for the Camden campus. I will discuss the various challenges that we faced and some ideas that have worked very well (and some that have not) for us. We have been applying some of these ideas in our recent work with high school students and students at other institutions.   Dan Zaharopol, "Developing Warm Mathematical Relationships With Students from Diverse Backgrounds."  Mathematics is supposed to be a universal language, beautiful, expressive of human thought and a vehicle for the study of truth. Then why is it not equally accessible to everyone? Students from low-income backgrounds and underrepresented minorities rarely access deeper mathematical study, and so math and math-related careers can seem locked away from them.    Of course, it can be intimidating to reach out to groups where you're not familiar with their mathematical preparation, their culture, or the challenges they face in their lives. That's exactly the situation I was in five years ago when I started Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM). I'll talk about the lessons we've learned about how we tailored our programs to reach out to new communities; how to adjust problems and topics for students who might have less background; and how you can help make mathematics more accessible without sacrificing content.