UA to Teach Vector Calculus to Five High School Students

Aug. 23, 2017

UA to Teach Vector Calculus to Five High School Students

TUCSON, Ariz. — University High School math teacher DeAnna McDonald had a good problem. Five of her students had tapped out their math offerings at the Tucson high school and were seeking a third year of calculus.

As their instructor, McDonald reached out to the University of Arizona, knowing the UA teaches vector calculus. Starting this week, the five UHS students — four seniors and a junior — will meet on the UA campus twice a week for a four-credit vector calculus class that spans two semesters.

"These students will experience a glimpse of college life," said Elliott Cheu, interim dean of the UA Honors College. "In exchange, we have an opportunity to attract high-performing students who will have a unique connection to the UA."

The UHS scholars will meet in a study room in the honors residence hall, Árbol de la Vida, on campus. Tina Deemer, director of academic and support services for the UA Department of Mathematics, spearheaded the unique class. The students will receive reduced tuition from the UA and additional financial support from the Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

"These students are talented, motivated and requesting an opportunity to extend their learning," said Sarah Smallhouse, trustee of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. "The Brown Foundations are delighted to see the UA and TUSD working together to make it happen. When we have a chance to help our best and brightest students achieve their potential, and expose them to the UA experience, we believe it is not just a gift to the students, but something meaningful to the UA and the broader community."

One of the students who will benefit from the program is Sam Merson. As an eighth-grader in 2014, Merson was a member of the Sonoran Science Academy-Broadway team that won the state round of the Raytheon MathCounts competition, which was held at the UA. He earned the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida, for the national championships.

"He wants to study math and think about math all day," said Merson's mother, Kim Merson. "He wants to do pure math — he doesn't want to do applied math. He wants to major in math and minor in linguistics."

While Merson won't start college full time until 2018, he'll have a head start academically on his peers, thanks to the joint efforts of University High School, the Thomas R. Brown Foundations and the UA.

Media contact:
Stacy Pigott
UA Communications
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $606 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.