High School Students Learn College-Level Applied Mathematics

RWU math faculty members offer applied math workshop to 12 Mount Hope High School students over summer

By Jill Rodrigues '05 & Justin Wilder
Professor instructing a classroom.
Professor Ed Dougherty teaching Mount Hope High School students how to apply math toward investigating the rate of cancer cell growth using computer modeling software.

BRISTOL, R.I. – For one week this summer at Roger Williams University, a group of high school students learned how math can be used in the real world. Twelve students from Mount Hope High School participated in a 40-hour, intensive workshop taught by RWU math faculty members.

Sounds a little dry, right? But during that week, the students interacted with math through fun, hands-on lessons and used real data to apply math toward solving actual issues in biomedical, statistics and engineering. Working with computer programming and modeling software, they hypothesized and tested model safety braking systems for vehicles, examined how neurotransmitters in the brain fire in patients Parkinson’s disease, and compared the dynamics of competing populations and how they grow together.

At the conclusion of the Mathematical Biology, Engineering and Applied Statistics workshop, which was funded by a civic grant RWU’s Fund for Civic Activities, the 12 students presented their research to school administrators from Mount Hope High School and earned one college credit.