Hands-On Learning

Depending on where you want to go after Augustana, the mathematics department will provide hands-on learning experiences through internships, research projects and teaching opportunities.

In May 2013, eight students taking Numb3rs (CIVT 202, crosslisted MATH 140) spent a windy afternoon at Makoce Waste, a grassland near Sioux Falls. Students gathered and analyzed data, looking for differences in the proportions of native and invasive grass species on the eastern and western halves of the grassland.

Dr. Amy Lewis points out a Pasque Flower, the state flower of South Dakota.

Students Alaina Heiskary (2013) and Sarah Kocer (2016) estimate the percentage of native and invasive grasses in a sample of the grassland, using a Daubenmire quadrat.

Independent Projects

Mathematics majors have the opportunity to pursue independent projects and conduct research.

Some students recently involved:

Alexis Preheim (Math/Secondary Education, 2013): Alexis read a published journal article on creating inquiry based activities from standard textbook problems, and created her own example. In the process she explored the area of Inquiry Based Learning and learned how to use interactive geometry software (Geometer’s Sketchpad).

Michael Arhndt (Math): Michael read a published research article on an algorithm for computing a matrix with a given sign pattern. He prepared an expository talk with an example of the algorithm and an application to a practical problem.

Trent Anderson (Math/Physics/Chemistry, 2011): Trent used modeling software (STELLA) to construct a model of a disease spreading on a college campus. He was able to use the model to quite accurately represent the fall 2009 H1N1 outbreak on the Augustana campus. Trent presented his work at the Augustana Symposium in April 2011. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in chemistry at NDSU.

Nicole Winkler (Math, 2011): Nicole produced mathematical models of swarming in one and two dimensions. Her model is based on behavioral characteristics of the swarming organisms which explain swarming behavior. Nicole traveled to California to present her results in 2010. She is currently employed with a national actuarial science firm.

Peder Thompson (Math/English, 2010): Peder read a published journal article on the use of interactive algebra software as a tool to aid in two-dimensional visualization of binomial inequalities. He wrote a paper expanding the work to trinomial inequalities. Peder presented his work at Math on the Northern Plains, an undergraduate research conference, in the spring of 2010. He is now a graduate student in mathematics at UNL.


The mathematics hallway serves as a hub of activity in our department. When it’s not being used for a class, you’ll find the seminar room an invaluable resource in your study—whether for bound copies of Mathematical Reviews going back to the original issues of 1940 — or simply to get help from faculty and fellow students who study there. In addition, the Mikkelsen Library holds more than 17,000 volumes of books and journals on our subject, and we have access to much more material electronically and through interlibrary loan.

The dedicated PC lab in the Gilbert Science Center is open many hours every day. The department's central office also houses three computers specifically for use in student research projects.

About research experiences off-campus.