Public Affairs

A Celebration of Mathematics

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

Glory Christian Fellowship International recently hosted an evening of dancing, music, poetry and testimonials to celebrate achievements in mathematics. On Aug. 6, nearly 80 students of the CSU Summer Algebra Institute demonstrated their learning and talents to an audience of parents, teachers and community supporters, at the church located in Carson, CA. The overwhelming message was that math is key to a brighter future and each CSU Summer Algebra Institute student has the tools to unlock his or her potential.

"We do not need to debate whether the world has become more competitive – it has," said Alton Trimble, pastor of Glory Christian Fellowship International.

A CSU Summer Algebra Institute student points out her contributions to a timeline showing the progression of mathematics in Africa.The pastor and his wife Judith encouraged students to grab hold of their future and look past a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree and beyond.

Students spoke of the history of mathematics, a journey that touched on then contributions of scholars on almost every continent. Historical figures included one of the earliest women noted for her contributions to mathematics, Hypatia, and an African American astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, almanac author and farmer, Benjamin Banneker.

Jerome "Jerry" Groomes, city manager for Carson, and his wife Raquel Beltran, executive director for the League of Women Voters in Los Angeles, spoke about the impact the program has had for their daughter, son and nephew.

Jessica Beltran-Groomes, an Imhotep Award of Excellence honoree, stands with her proud parents."I can tell you that when she came to the program she was a bad math student, and she hated it," said Groomes of his daughter Jessica. "After this program, math became her best and favorite subject."

"You talk about a village–this is the village," added Beltran.

Jessica Beltran-Groomes received additional recognition that night. The teachers and staff of the institute awarded her an Imhotep Award of Excellence for her achievements in learning and applying the concepts of mathematics.

The excitement at Glory Christian Fellowship International is likely to be repeated many times throughout the month of August. The CSU has partnered with eight churches to host Summer Algebra Institutes in Bakersfield, Carson, Fresno, Irvine, Inglewood, Norwalk, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino–educating more than 300 students. In addition, CSU East Bay conducted 12 Mathematics Achievement Academies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

The Summer Algebra Institutes are part of the CSU African American Initiative, a partnership of the university and churches focused on promoting college readiness.