Math makes a difference

Professor uses service-learning to get his students involved with the community

A Ferris assistant professor uses service-learning projects to help math students make a difference in the community.

Service-learning is applying what’s learned in the classroom to meaningful community service.

This is the first year Ferris assistant contemporary math professor Victor Piercey has done service-learning projects.

“I want to see them use math to make a difference for someone,” Piercey said.

Ferris integrative studies senior Debra Thomas is part of a group working for Mecosta Osceola Transportation Authority (MOTA).

The goal of students working with MOTA is to see how much the federal and state government grants are benefiting those who are taking advantage of the services of MOTA.

“It makes [working on math] a lot more interesting and you just look at math differently for the rest of your life,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she thinks every program should be required to take a class like this because everyone can benefit from it.

The service-learning projects will last the entire semester.

Five companies partnering with Piercy for the projects are Birkam Health Center, Financial Aid Office, Mecosta Osceola Transportation Authority (MOTA), Goodwill and the Big Rapids Middle School.

Piercey said he plans on doing service-learning projects in the future.

“This is the kind of thing that if done right, there’s a possibility other universities might try it out too,” Piercey said.