ESAM Schular Scholar Outreach Program

On October 30, 2013 the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics (ESAM) held an outreach program for AP calculus and precalculus Schuler Scholars sponsored and organized by the ESAM RTG project. These are underserved students at partner high schools in the greater Chicago area chosen for mentoring and support based on their academic, communication, and organizational skills.

The objectives of the program were to make students familiar with real-world applications of calculus to motivate them in their study of calculus and encourage them to pursue further math courses in college. Seventeen Schuler Scholars and coaches were present.

The program involved presentations by the McCormick Undergraduate Dean Steven H. Carr and Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Susanna Kwan. Dean Carr's presentation involved the role of engineering in everyday life and the critical role mathematics plays in engineering disciplines. Susanna Kwan then spoke about the college admissions process in both general terms and terms spec c to Northwestern.

There followed five presentations by ESAM faculty and RTG trainees. The participating ESAM personnel were Professor Daniel Abrams, Professor Hermann Riecke, Golovin Assistant Professor Sarah Iams and RTG trainees, Avinash Karamchandani and Sara Clifton. Assistant Professor Iams spoke about Benford's law, and illustrated it with examples of based on the sizes of lakes in Minnesota. Professor Riecke spoke about how the neuronal activity in the eye generated optical illusions and how mathematics could be used to develop simple models of this phenomena. RTG trainee Karamchandani, Professor Riecke's student, then spoke about simplifying and then modeling brain waves. Professor Abrams spoke about modeling the lateral swaying of the Millenium Bridge in London and how the models could be related to a system of simple dierential equations. Sara Clifton, Professor Abrams's student and future RTG trainee, spoke about her research on the size of deer antlers and how her mathematical models were able to predict the distribution of antelope sizes within a population and the evolution of this distribution in time.

Learn more about the Schuler Scholar Program.