UK Gets $1.8 Million for Math Outreach

Math enrichment in two Kentucky counties is the focus of a new University of Kentucky project funded by a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant, known as Algebra Cubed, is funding 10 UK science, math or engineering graduate fellows each year for three years as math specialists in Bath and Powell counties, and also funding 10 teachers who will serve as mentors to the fellows.

The goal of this project is to sharpen the math skills and improve the content knowledge of middle- and high-school students in the two counties. UK graduate students will work on-site with teachers and students 10 hours a week.

“We’re introducing new ways of understanding mathematics,” says Richard Millman, a UK mathematics professor, who is heading up this project. “And our students are learning teaching skills firsthand from the mentors.”

Bath and Powell counties were chosen for the grant because of their low percentage of high-school graduates that go on to earn bachelor’s degrees and the desire of teachers and school administrators for improved mathematics instruction.

“To receive a grant of this amount in math is absolutely wonderful for our students, community and teachers,” says Nancy Hutchinson, Bath County superintendent.

Rachelle Bouchat, a teaching assistant in math at UK, is one of the graduate students taking part in this program. “Algebra Cubed has allowed me to see firsthand the math preparation students are receiving and has given me the opportunity to help improve students’ math skills so that they can be successful in both college and in life.” Bouchat works at Powell County High School in Stanton, Kentucky, with Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and geometry classes. “The most rewarding part of this is to see the light bulb go off in a student’s head when they suddenly see how to solve a problem.”

“The university is a strong supporter of enhancing math skills in rural Eastern Kentucky, and this grant continues to build on two of our ongoing programs: UK’s Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership and the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative,” says UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.—*Jeff Worley*