Teaching mathematics for engineers to high school students

Dr. White is assisting the College of Education (Prof. Leigh Abts) and the Department of Defense (Jennifer Wolk, U.S. Navy, course instructor) to offer a dual-credit class to high school students that teaches mathematics for future engineering students through a hands-on approach.  The class aims to attract more students into top-tier engineering programs and to provide these students with the necessary skills to survive the challenges of the undergraduate engineering curriculum.

  • more +

    In today’s standard undergraduate engineering curriculum, many students are not retained because they are unsuccessful or are discouraged by the calculus courses that are encountered at the entrance of the program.  To address this problem, a course has been developed at Wright State University (WSU) to teach mathematics concepts to first-year engineering students through a hands-on, practical approach.  The course, which is titled, “Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications,” has been passed to other universities through an NSF-sponsored effort.  Initial results from WSU indicate that this course is improving retention rates for engineering students. 

    We are extending the WSU Mathematics for Engineering Applications curriculum to junior and senior high school students as a dual-credit course at high schools in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland region. In 2010, the course was offered at Collegiate Academy, part of the Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. In 2011, the class was offered at Oxon Hill High School in Prince George's County, MD. The class is continuing to expand to new high schools in the DC and MD area.   We believe that students who take this course will have high math and engineering self-efficacy and high engineering career awareness, and thus will be more likely to enter a top-tier engineering program.  Additionally, we believe that students who complete this course and then enter engineering programs will have the necessary fundamental math skills and problem solving skills, and engineering career awareness to survive the initial stages of the university engineering curriculum, and to pursue their degree to completion. 

    Our lab hosted an NSF-funded RET to prepare high school teachers for the course.

    Wright St. University Engineering Mathematics

    Collegiate Academy, Friendship Public Charter School

High School Interns from John F. Kennedy High School, Silver Spring, MD

Each year our lab hosts one intern from JFK high school. The students experience the excitement of the daily problem-solving challenges that are an inherent part of a career in engineering, and they achieve a sense of accomplishment through their work in our lab.


Trulee Riley

Trulee utilzed MATLAB to develop software tools for data analysis in the lab.


Bernard Mkumbuzi

Bernard worked with microcontrollers to develop new instrumentation for the lab.


S. Justin Prasai

Justin investigated protocol variations in the synthesis of silver nanoparticles and the effect of these variations on surface enhanced Ramans spectroscopy.


Cataysha Lee

Cataysha studied the chemical functionalization of cellulose paper for biosensing applications.


Emilio Garcia

Emilio assisted Dr. White's lab by developing and testing material for the dual-credit engineering math course. In particular, Emilio worked with calculator-controlled robots that can assist with the teaching of mathematical principles.


Rhitu Risal

During her internship, Rhitu was tasked with attempting a number of different synthesis technics for gold and silver nanoparticles. She is currently studying chemistry at Barnard College in New York, NY, and is on her way to becoming a first-generation college graduate.

home people publications projects Group News Outreach Available Positions