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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Academics & Research

Directed reading program brings creativity to STEM


Cindy Muñoz/The Cougar

For many students, in-class lecturing provides little room for active engagement with class material.  This may be especially true for STEM courses, which are not traditionally associated with creative thinking.

Cougar Mathletics has made recent efforts to deepen students’ math engagement through their directed reading program, where graduate mentors meet with undergraduate mentees to discuss abstract math concepts.

“We just wanted to provide an opportunity for students to learn things that they don’t see in their typical undergraduate math classes,” said vice president of Cougar Mathletics Katherine Wong. “So this is a great way to prepare students who would like to go to graduate school.”

At the end of the program students have the opportunity to give an oral presentation over what they’ve gained, which can be great practice for speaking at future conferences, explained Wong.

The program began this week and is an eight-week commitment.  Meetings take place once a week and are typically an hour to an hour and a half in length.

During these meetings, “a graduate student (mentor) provides problems and readings for the undergrads to partake in, and they have a chance to discuss what they’ve learned and any questions they’ve had during their meetings,” said Wong.

Although the summer program has already begun, all graduate math enthusiasts are encouraged to fill out an interest form to become a mentor for this year’s fall and spring semesters.

According to a tweet by Cougar Mathletics, DRP can be a great way for mentors to deepen their interest and understanding of the field.

“This allows both mentees and mentors the opportunity to develop essential communication skills to continue in academia”.

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