Math & Stats Outreach
Mathematics & Statistics Department
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Passionate about Outreach
Swenson College is dedicated to inspiring greater STEM in our community and here in the Math & Statistics Department, we do our best to promote math learning.
We participate in a wide variety of local events and workshops and spearhead three very unique programs:
Imagine finishing high school and already being half way to a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. That kind of experience makes students irresistible to universities and is available to students in the Twin Ports area thanks to a program we offer.
The University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program or UMTYMP (pronounced “um-tee-ump") is an accelerated program for students beginning in 5-7th grade who are highly talented in mathematics. Although there are many math programs throughout the country, UMTYMP is unique in terms of the number of students, length of the program, scope of the curriculum, and the granting of college credit to students in middle and high school.
Looking for Special Skills
UMD Assistant Professor of Mathematics Tracy Bibelnieks is the coordinator of the program and emphasizes that qualifying for the program is not all about being a genius at computing.
We are looking for relational and quantitative thinking skills, so the fifth grader that has not had an algebra class in school may still qualify for this program.
Another benefit is that students join a social network where they can embrace their mathematical abilities at a young age and feel comfortable with their academic peers.
Classes on Campus
The UMTYMP classes meet at UMD once a week after school from 4:15-6:15 during the school year for a two-hour class.
Students who stay in the program finish their four years of high school math in two years and then begin college level Calculus. The program coordinates with local schools to ensure the students have time in their regular school day to work on UMTYMP homework.
Students currently in 5-7th grade who wish to join the program must take the UMTYMP Qualifying exam. The entrance exams are offered on the UMD campus in the spring. A prep workshop is also offered to help students do their best on the exam. More details will be shared here in the spring semester. To get on a mailing list for more information, contact Tracy Bibelnieks at 218-726-6803 or email@example.com.
The program consists of two parts: a summer hybrid online math classes (Basic Math and Intro to Algebra, College Algebra, or Precalculus Analysis) and an optional five-day camp at UMD where students participate in activities designed to increase persistence to complete a STEM degree.
Hybrid Online Math Courses:
The model is to “study-then-test-out” of prerequisite courses to Calculus I. Students work through an online math course for which they placed over the summer. The course is self-paced and non-credit.
Extra help is available online and study sessions are offered in the Twin Cities area. Students take a written final exam when ready (or at the end of the summer). Students who score 70% or higher are allowed to take the next math class in the sequence College Algebra, Precalculus Analysis, and Calculus I fall semester.
In addition to having the potential of moving up in the sequence of required math courses, students benefit from doing math over the summer prior to their first college-level math course. Students have reported the transition to their next math class as “seamless” and that they feel more confident and prepared than their peers.
Summer STEM Camp:
Dates for 2017 have not been finalized. Camp participants will visit UMD for 5 days to:
- Become familiar with the UMD campus before the fall semester
- Participate in STEM activities through mini courses or labs with UMD faculty and staff
- Gain awareness of UMD support services and communities
- Develop personal finance strategies
- Explore STEM careers and majors
- Develop bonds with other participants, faculty, staff, and returning undergraduate students
- Participate in fun activities at UMD and the Twin Ports area
- Receive intensified academic advising
- Register for fall courses
For nearly 40 years, one of our faculty members Joe Gallian has run a ten-week undergraduate research program in mathematics at the UMD.
Graph theory, combinatorics and number theory provide the source of most of the problems. Recent programs have had 8-10 undergraduates along with two former participants who act as research advisers and a dozen or so former program participants who visit for a week or more during the program. More than 200 applications were received in 2014 and 2015.
Selection of participants is based on:
- Letters of recommendation
- Responses on their application
- Performance in high school mathematical competitions and the Putnam Competition
- Reputation of a student's home school
- Course work
The Putnam Competition has proved to be a good predictor but it is not foolproof. Many students have done outstanding work in our program but did not participate or finish in the top 500 of the Putnam Competition. Desire to succeed, enthusiasm and willingness to work are as important as raw talent. A special interest in discrete mathematics and the ability to interact well with others are also important considerations.
This research program is loosely structured. Although each student has his or her own problem to work on, it is common for participants to work together. We emphasize cooperation over competition.
Each week the participants give talks on their progress during the previous week to the group. Program visitors also attend these sessions and occasionally give presentations on their research.
Participants, advisers and 20 or so short-term visitors, who are program alumni, live in the same on-campus apartment building and often hang out. We have lunch as a group a three times a week.
Field Trips to Enjoy Duluth
Weekly field trips on Wednesdays are part of the program, too. It's important students enjoy their summer so we go biking, white water rafting, hiking, alpine sliding, walking along the shore of Lake Superior and visit many beautiful parks. (See photos.) Watching the morning sun rise over Lake Superior is a program tradition.
On Wednesdays and weekends, participants have access to university vehicles at no cost. This makes it convenient for them to see movies, shop and eat out. Visit our Summer REU Program website for updated information and more details.