Imagine finishing high school and already being half way to a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. That kind of experience makes students irresistible to universities and is available to students in the Twin Ports area thanks to a program from UMD.
The University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program or UMTYMP (pronounced “um-tee-ump") is an accelerated program for students beginning in 5–7th grade who are highly talented in mathematics. Although there are many math programs throughout the country, UMTYMP is unique in terms of the number of students, length of the program, scope of the curriculum, and the granting of college credit to students in middle and high school. More detailed information on UMTYMP can be found at http://www.mathcep.umn.edu.
UMD Assistant Professor of Mathematics Tracy Bibelnieks is the coordinator of the program and said qualifying for the program is not all about being a genius at computing. “We’re looking for relational and quantitative thinking skills, so the fifth grader that has not had an algebra class in school may still qualify for the program,” said Bibelnieks. She added, “Another benefit of this program is that students join a social network where they can embrace their mathematical abilities at a young age and feel comfortable with their academic peers.”
The UMTYMP classes meet at UMD once a week after school from 4:15–6:15 during the school year for a two-hour class. Students who stay in the program finish their four years of high school math in two years and then begin college level Calculus. The program coordinates with local schools to ensure the students have time in their regular school day to work on UMTYMP homework. UMD Math and UMTYMP Instructor Eric Erdmann said, “We do our absolute best to work with the schools and make sure we’re meeting the students’ development, social and academic needs.”
Students currently in 5–7th grade who wish to join the program for the 2016–17 academic year in Duluth must register to take the UMTYMP Qualifying exam. The entrance exam will be held on the campus of UMD on Thursday, May 12 (7:00 pm) or Saturday, May 14 (9:30 am or 11:00 am). Students who pre-register for the exam will automatically be registered for the Exam Prep Workshop on Saturday, May 7 from 9 am to noon. Attendance at the workshop is strongly encouraged. A registration link is available at http://www.mathcep.umn.edu.
UMD’s Mathematics and Statistics Department offers the program and is part of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE). The college has about 3,100 undergraduates and 220 graduate students and is home to ten academic departments, as well as the Large Lakes Observatory, the UMD Air Force ROTC program, and the Iron Range Engineering program. SCSE connects students with hands-on research opportunities through its collaboration with multiple research institutions and area businesses. To learn more, visit: http://www.d.umn.edu/scse/.
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