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Math Outreach Adds Up to Benefit Community

For the past few years, the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) has been actively involved in promoting mathematics in the Northern Virginia community in a variety of ways.

Community Math Help

Does your child ever need help on a math problem that you just can't figure out? If your child is in grade three to twelve, you may be in luck. Once a month, on a Sunday afternoon, Jeng Eng Lin of George Mason's Department of Mathematical Sciences and a cadre of advanced high school and middle school students offer free math help to local students. This tutoring service began in January 1999 as a year-round math mentoring program. Middle school and high school students serve as tutors and role models to students needing a little extra guidance and help with their math homework and skills.

The program meets at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Public Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. The schedule for the spring is January 14, February 11, March 25, April 22, May 6, and June 10, from noon to 2 p.m. No advance registration is necessary; students can just drop in.

Math Enrichment Program

Lin is also the mastermind behind Mason's Math Enrichment Program. In 1994, he created the program for high-potential students in grades 6 through 12 to take courses in an accelerated learning environment in a college atmosphere during the summer. News of these classes spread so quickly that Lin began to receive inquiries about the program from as far away as Arizona. One participant from Ohio even stayed with an uncle in the area so that he could participate.

In the first year, three courses were offered to 39 students. In 1997, the program was expanded to offer courses throughout the year. By 1999, 22 courses were offered to 240 students.

The 2001 spring schedule includes Introduction to Computing with C++ Programming Language, 7th Grade Mathematics Enrichment Problems (primarily algebra and geometry), and SAT I Mathematics Preparation. These classes begin in January and some are repeated throughout the spring. The summer 2001 program offers such courses as Introduction to JavaScript/Webpage Design, Introduction to HTML/Dynamic HTML, and Introduction to Java Programming Language. The summer program begins in June.

Participants in the program have been accepted to prestigious universities around the country, including Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For more information, contact Lin by phone at (703) 993-1459, by e-mail at, or through his web site at

Department Chair Teaches Advanced Courses at TJHSST

When one of the math teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) in Alexandria retired, the school was faced with a dilemma--there was no one to teach complex analysis and differential equations. TJHSST is one of the few high schools in the country that offers such a course and there were many students anxious to take it. Thanks to Robert Sachs, Mathematical Sciences Department chair, they were able to continue offering it.

"I was very privileged to have Dr. Sachs as a teacher last year," says former student Richard Eager. "Ordinary courses tend to focus just on the material covered in the textbook. With his experience and expertise, Dr. Sachs was able to enrich the course by showing how what we were studying related to other subjects, such as fluid dynamics and optics."

Sachs has been teaching college-level classes at TJHSST since fall 1999.

Dean Tutors Math Weekly at Girls' Probation House

Every Monday night, math professor Daniele Struppa, CAS dean, conducts an important off-campus meeting. For a dean, meetings are daily occurrences, but this weekly meeting is different--it is a meeting with high school students and the agenda is math.

Since 1995, Struppa has spent a few hours every week working with a group of 5 to 12 teenage girls at the Girls Probation House, a residential alternative program run by the Fairfax County Juvenile Court System. He helps with homework and assignments as directed by their teacher. This year, he is working on Algebra I with five of the students. His visits offer a different perspective on the subject that the students would not normally experience. As an added bonus, he also offers them the opportunity to visit George Mason a few times a year for a cultural event or lecture.

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