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Wittenberg launches new math program, scholarships

A Springfield philanthropist’s donation will set up a new program at Wittenberg University to give local students the chance to excel at math and earn a college scholarship.

The program — the Bullock Math Academy — will be funded through an investment from Rosalyn Bullock, who wanted to do something to honor her late husband’s love of mathematics, said her attorney Daniel Harkins.

By completing a summer session and monthly after-school sessions through graduation while maintaining an A average in math courses, the 16 incoming Clark County seventh- and eighth-graders selected to be a part of the first-year program will earn a scholarship, said Linda Hallinan, academy director.

If the student completes the academy and attends Wittenberg, they will receive a $10,000 scholarship; if they attend another four-year institution, the student gets a $5,000 scholarship and $5,000 goes to Wittenberg for scholarships for other math students, said Harkins.

“Our main criteria is a high math aptitude,” said Hallinan, a former engineer turned educator. “We’re looking for the students that are really high in math, problem-solving skills and then to help them take it above and beyond what they can get in the classroom.”

Students will be selected for the program based on grades, a teacher’s recommendation, a short essay and an online assessment. In following years, eight incoming seventh graders from Clark County’s public, private, charter and parochial schools, as well as home-schooled students will be selected.

Bullock likes to encourage excellence, Harkins said.

“So the program’s intention is to identify students as they’re about to start their secondary education who have developed a math aptitude and to nurture them in a way that they can develop an interest in math and develop a competence that will allow them to distinguish themselves,” Harkins said.

The summer and after-school sessions will focus on hands-on activities with guest speakers who work or teach in mathematics or related fields. There will also be an annual public lecture, starting with a math magician on March 20.

Interested students can begin applying for the program Feb. 4 at Applications are due March 1.

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