Developing a Passion for Math Outside of the Classroom

by Jose Olvera, Highland Park High School, Class of 2015

During the fall semester, I attended the Schuler math exposure held at Northwestern University. While there, we listened to presentations given by various professors and Postdoctoral Fellows that connected mathematics to different subject areas in the real world. The presentations ranged from the relationship between lake sizes and how often a certain number appeared to the way the eye functions and how to find the difference of values in shades of color. Not only did they show us how you could find a way to apply math to a wide range of topics, but they also gave us a little insight into the college application process at Northwestern.

I really enjoyed the whole exposure because it showed me how far any individual could go in furthering their own understanding of math. I also learned how math connects to multiple subject areas we don’t normally associate with the world of numbers and formulas. For example, one of the presentations dealt with the neural impulses in our brains and the relationship between the delays of each impulse. A researcher created a mathematical model of brain impulse synchronization. This model can later be applied in the field of robotic prosthetics.

Many high school students, including Scholars, sometimes see math in a negative light. Math can be one of the most challenging courses in high school and therefore some students never develop a true appreciation for the subject. The presentations at Northwestern showed that math can be incorporated into subject matter in which people excel and enjoy themselves. When one’s passion for the arts, language, or even English is intertwined with math it can help spark a new interest in math and help keep that interest going for years to come.


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