The University of Arizona
Please note that this project is no longer active.

High School Workshops

These day-long workshops, held on the University of Arizona campus, are designed for high school classes. (We also occasionally hold workshops designed for middle school classes, as well as workshops geared specifically towards school teachers.) The workshops cover topics that are not commonly taught in school math classes. Through an intuitive approach to each subject, students are exposed to both interesting and active areas of contemporary mathematics research.

A secondary purpose of the high school workshops is to expose high school students to what an undergraduate education in mathematics includes, and to encourage them to add math classes to their schedule when they enter college.

If you are a teacher interested in bringing your class to a workshop, please contact the current program coordinator (see below).

Workshop topics

Listed here are past workshop topics. We are always open to ideas for new topics.

  • Introduction to Fourier Series and Harmonic Analysis
  • Advanced topics in Fourier Series and Harmonic Analysis
  • Introduction to Cryptology
  • Public Key Cryptography and Digital Signature Verification
  • Factoring and Primality Testing
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • Einstein's Way Cool Notion of Motion
  • Elasticity and Bridge Design
  • Rate of Change and Functions
  • Probability and Game Theory
  • The symmetric road to the Rubik's Cube
  • Knot Theory
  • Graph Theory
  • Biomathematics

Additional information on particular workshops (topic descriptions, dates, and participants) is available at various workshop-related websites:

Current program coordinator

David Morales
Graduate Student
Program in Applied Mathematics

History and Participants

Workshops in this outreach program are organized and run entirely by graduate students (with faculty encouragement and departmental administrative support). The program came into existence in Spring 1997 as one aspect of the SWRIMS project, when SWRIMS director Dr. William Vélez suggested this outreach program—and allocated SWRIMS funding—to graduate students Jennifer Christian-Smith, Aaron Ekstrom, and Alexander Perlis. (SWRIMS had already been involved in high school workshops on Population Biology and Honey Bees, which were organized by Dr. Joseph Watkins.)

Initially, graduate student program coordinators and workshop organizers were funded by SWRIMS. Since around 2000, the primary incentive for graduate student participation has been the vertical integration requirement for graduate students funded by the department's VIGRE Grant.

Outreach program coordinators

  • David Morales (Fall 2007 – present)
  • Matej Boguszak (Fall 2006 – Spring 2007)
  • Brad Weir (Fall 2004 – Spring 2006)
  • Sarah Frey (Fall 2003 – Spring 2004)
  • Katrina Piatek-Jimenez (Fall 2001 – Spring 2003)
  • Jennifer Christian-Smith (Fall 2000 – Spring 2001)
  • Aaron Ekstrom (Spring 1999 – Spring 2000)
  • Alexander Perlis (Spring 1997 – Fall 1998)

Workshop organizers

The following graduate students have organized (or otherwise participated in) one or more workshops: Jared Barber, Daniel Bartlett, Karl Bauer, Craig Beisel, Lisa Berger, Sam Chapman, Josh Chesler, Jennifer Christian-Smith, Dan Coombs, Geoffrey Cunningham, Dustin Ditchen, Aaron Ekstrom, Eric Forgoston, Cecilia Fosser, Sarah Frey, Kris Green, Derek Habermas, Tessie Huggard, Craig Hyde, Selin Kalaycioglu, Patrick Kano, Seogyoung Kim, Jessica Knapp, Laura Kondek, Dmitry Kondrashov, Rachel Labes, Andre Lehovich, Frederick Leitner, Ben Levitt, Scott Lietz, Jennifer Lowe, Guadalupe Lozano, Martha Maiers, David Marsden, David Marshall, Susan Hammond Marshall, Cameron McLeman, Tyler McMillen, Erin McNicholas, Julio Melendez-Morales, Justin Miller, Rob Pawlowski, Alexander Perlis, Katrina Piatek-Jimenez, Chris Rasmussen, Judith Reed, Jeff Selden, Patrick Shipman, Jeanine Smallwood, Adam Spiegler, Sacha Swenson, Ben VanDerLinden, Brian Walton, Brad Weir.

At some workshops, undergraduate students were invited by the graduate student organizers to participate: Jaime Balicanta, Imelda Murrieta, Catherine Ott.

At some workshops, postdoctoral or regular faculty were invited by the graduate student organizers to participate: Robert Beals, Russel Carlson, Bharath Narayanan.

Participating schools

Students from the following schools have attended one or more workshops:

  • Amphi High School (Tucson)
  • Booth-Fickett Magnet School (Tucson)
  • Buena High School (Sierra Vista)
  • Cactus High School (Glendale)
  • Canyon del Oro High School (Tucson)
  • Casas Christian School (Tucson)
  • Catalina High School (Tucson)
  • Cholla High School (Tucson)
  • Desert View High School (Tucson)
  • Douglas High School (Douglas)
  • Fenster School (Tucson)
  • Flowing Wells High School (Tucson)
  • Green Field Country Day School (Tucson)
  • Ha:san Preparatory and Leadership School (Tucson)
  • Highland High School (Gilbert)
  • Howenstine High School (Tucson)
  • Ironwood High School (Glendale)
  • Marana High School (Marana)
  • Maricopa High School (Maricopa)
  • Moon Valley High School (Phoenix)
  • Mountain Pointe High School (Tucson)
  • Orange Grove Middle School (Tucson)
  • Palo Verde High School (Tucson)
  • Peoria High School (Peoria)
  • Presidio High School (Tucson)
  • Pusch Ridge Christian Academy (Tucson)
  • Pueblo High School (Tucson)
  • Rincon High School (Tucson)
  • Sahuaro High School (Tucson)
  • Salpointe High School (Tucson)
  • St. Gregory College Preparatory School (Tucson)
  • Tucson High School (Tucson)
  • University High School (Tucson)
  • Vail Middle School (Tucson)
  • Wakefield Middle School (Tucson)


In some years, the coordinator wrote a report of activities. When available, those reports are posted here.

Talks about (aspects of) this outreach program

  • Katrina Piatek-Jimenez and Jennifer Christian-Smith. Graduate Students in the High School Classroom: Enriching the School Mathematics Curriculum and Students' Perceptions of Mathematics. Radio show interview by Dr. Patricia Kenschaft, host of radio show Math Medley, February 16, 2002.
  • Jennifer Christian-Smith. The Saturday Mathematics Workshop Series at the University of Arizona: An Outreach Project Connecting Undergraduate and Graduate Students to High School Students. AMS/MAA Joint Meetings, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2001.
  • Aaron Ekstrom and Alexander Perlis. Fourier Series for high school students. AMS/MAA Joint Meetings, San Antonio, Texas, January 1999.
  • Jennifer Christian-Smith and Alexander Perlis. Graduate Students' Outreach Efforts in Middle and High School Classrooms. MAA Regional Meeting, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona, March 1998.
  • Aaron Ekstrom and Alexander Perlis. Workshops for high school students. Colloquium Talk, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, October 1998.