Mathematics

Central College students in a mathematics class

The skills gained by studying mathematics, such as problem-solving, technical communication skills, critical thinking and reasoning with quantitative information, open doors to many careers in industry, government, business, computer programming and education. Students have used their mathematics degree in combination with their liberal arts education to become engineers, lawyers, AmeriCorps volunteers, human resources specialists, data analysts and graduate students pursuing doctorates in diverse areas such as molecular bioscience, aerospace engineering and education.

Central offers a flexible course schedule that allows you to gain comprehensive mathematics experience and pursue teacher licensure, internships and off-campus experiences, all while graduating in four years. If you appreciate logical thinking and enjoy the challenge of solving problems, pursuing a degree in mathematics at Central College can provide a path to future success.


84%
of current math majors have an additional major, are pursuing teaching licensure or both
3
Three of Central’s mathematics faculty have won college-wide teaching awards

The Central Difference

Integration

At Central, math majors choose to pursue data science or secondary education. Data science mathematics majors learn to extract meaning from and interpret data; spend a lot of time collecting, cleaning and manipulating data; find patterns; build models and algorithms; use data to drive decision-making; and communicate clearly with data visualizations. While at Central, mathematics secondary education majors not only increase their math skills, but they also learn mathematics communication skills for a wide range of students, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and how and where math is used in everyday life.

The Art of STEM

Abigail Lowry ’22 is an ambitious student with a passion for the arts and STEM.

Research Opportunities

Students of mathematics at Central participate in numerous research opportunities both on campus, such as working on a senior thesis or Bosch Summer Undergraduate Student Research Fellowships, as well as off campus through Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at a variety of larger universities. These opportunities deepen students’ knowledge of applied or abstract mathematics and prepare them for future careers or further study in graduate school.

Facilities

Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Shawn Spurrier ’22, business intelligence developer, Vermeer Corporation, Pella, Iowa
  • Kailee Meyer ’21, high school teacher, Newton, Iowa
  • Lucas Wiebenga ’19, data engineer, Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Ricky Boyle ’14, technical services engineer, Epic Systems Corp., Madison, Wisconsin
  • Jason Schultz ’12, statistical programmer analyst, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Brian Reece ’95, Presidential Award-winning math teacher, Central Academy, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dean Furness ’94, data and analytics specialist, Wells Fargo, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Alan Grau ’91, president and owner, Icon Labs, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Kathie Flood ’86, managing director and CEO, Cascade Game Foundry, Seattle, Washington

Central College’s Engineering Program Earns ABET Accreditation

Central College’s engineering program has received accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Organizations

  • Math Club
  • Kappa Mu Epsilon (mathematics honor society)

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Graduate Placement

  • Cornell University, ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, data science
  • Iowa State University, architecture
  • Montana State University, molecular biosciences
  • South Dakota State University, sport and recreation administration
  • University of Arizona, computer science
  • University of Oklahoma, mathematics
  • University of Northern Iowa, industrial mathematics – statistics
  • University of Iowa, mathematics
  • University of Colorado-Boulder, aerospace engineering sciences

Internships

  • Grand Valley State University, Research Experience for Undergraduates, Allendale, Michigan
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Hilo, Hawaii
  • Pella Regional Health Center, Data analyst intern, Pella, Iowa
  • Vision Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Allied Technologies, Des Moines, Iowa
  • The Bridge, Ottumwa, Iowa
  • Vermeer Corporation, marketing and business intelligence, Pella, Iowa
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The mathematics major at Central allows students to develop core mathematical skills (pattern recognition, generalization, abstraction, logical reasoning, modeling, analyzing and solving problems, reading and analyzing mathematical content), as well as the ability to communicate mathematics clearly and concisely in both oral and written forms. The ability to reason with quantitative information, solve intricate problems, and communicate the results to others are highly valued skills in any field.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Russ Goodman, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics
  • Mark Johnson, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Ruth & Marvin Denekas Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities and Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science
  • Thomas Linton, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Mark Mills, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics
  • Wendy Weber, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Calculus I and II
  • Applied Statistics
  • Introduction to Computer Science

Sophomore Year

  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Foundations of Mathematics
  • Linear Algebra
  • Data Structures²

Junior Year

  • Data Visualization²
  • Abstract Algebra I
  • Differential Equations
  • Mathematics Seminar

Senior Year

  • Math Modeling²
  • Real Analysis I
  • Geometry¹
  • Probability
  • Applied Machine Learning²

¹ Coursework specific to Mathematics/Secondary Education
² Coursework specific to Mathematics/Data Science


TAKE THE NEXT STEP


Learn More

Want to find out more about Mathematics at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.

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