New math community center welcomes all

Laura Rojas, Writer

A new math and community center opened in BBH or also known as the science building. The center offers math workshops and tutoring for students throughout the week in BBH 364.

“It’s a math space which is intended for the entire Northeastern community, whether a student is taking developmental classes or advanced mathematics,” said Dr. Katherine Bird, assistant professor of mathematics.

The center was a collaborative idea brought on by the faculty from various departments and was supported by Provost Richard Helldobler. The center is primarily run by Dr. Sarah Cordell, associate professor of mathematics.

“I’m passionate about strengthening students’ confidence in math,” Cordell said. “We hope to develop a wall of fame within the space to kind of showcase the successes and accomplishments of STEM faculty, instructors and students.” She also said she hopes the wall will show off the diversity of those involved in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines at NEIU.

Bird said that many of the students who have difficulties with math come to NEIU and place into developmental math, an amount approaching 75 to 80 percent. The center hopes to allow for more collaboration between students and the faculty.

“A lot of people don’t think about math as a really collaborative activity, especially students that have had bad experiences with math. Many of them haven’t really experienced math as a fun activity—but being good at math doesn’t mean that you sit down and write something perfectly and then that’s it, you hand it in and you’re done,” Bird said. “Math is very much like writing an essay or writing a story, it requires brainstorming and tossing around ideas.”

Besides tutoring and workshops Bird said that the center would be open for students who want to study alone or together, providing them the opportunity to learn about other math resources available.  

The math center is the new place where the university can host mathematics enrichment workshops, which have been hosted in various classrooms in the past. Students are able to register through their Neiuport student accounts for two-hour workshops that take place every week. Students would register for the workshops the way they would for a class.  

The workshops are on a pass or fail grading scale and are worth one credit hour. However, once a student is registered for a workshop attendance is mandatory unless the student drops the workshop within the designated add/drop period before a failed grade is issued.

If students successfully complete a workshop, they are welcome to apply to become a peer leader in a future semester and get paid for their efforts, as well as earn teaching experience doing so.

General tutoring for several basic or higher level math courses is also available at the center. Math 090, 091 and 092 tutor Alejandra Villegas has not seen a lot of activity since the center opened.