Discovery connection

Michael Garcia and Professor Tom Sherman discuss a mathematics equation. Photo by Craig Bailey

September 3, 2009

An initiative developed by members of Northeastern’s mathematics and science faculty that will promote interest in those subjects among college and high-school students by connecting them to research has garnered a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Northeastern mathematicians, physicists and biologists will connect with first- and second-year Northeastern students to provide mentoring and engage them in math and science research through interdisciplinary seminars, a Summer Discovery Experience between freshman and sophomore years and research-related co-ops and internships. The Co-Principal Investigators are professors Alain Karma (Physics), Christopher King (Mathematics), Dagmar Sternad (Biology, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Physics) Jonathan Weitsman (Stone Professor of Mathematics), and Christos Zahopoulos (STEM Education Center).

The University’s Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education will integrate Boston-area public high-school students into the program through after-school and summer programs and advanced placement outreach. For students enrolling in Northeastern, there will also be an intensive Summer Preview program on exploring mathematics.

The program will enable students to see and explore possible futures in math and science fields, said Richard Porter, the program’s principal investigator and acting chair of the Department of Mathematics at Northeastern. It also will build a strong community of students sharing an interest in math and science and provide ongoing support through graduation and beyond, he added.

The initiative is entitled “PRISM: Attracting Students to Mathematics, Physics, and Biology through Interdisciplinary Research and Discovery,” based in part on the name of the NSF division that made the grant, the Proactive Recruitment in Introductory Science and Mathematics (PRISM) division.


For more information, please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or at


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