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Mathematics Professor Receives National Science Foundation Grant

Camfield, Chris 580pxCONWAY, Ark. (April 1, 2015) – Hendrix College mathematics professor Dr. Chris Camfield has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for his project, “Data-Driven Applications Inspiring Upper-Division Mathematics.”

The award totals $75,972 for research to be done over a two-year period. 

The project is part of a collaborative initiative with Dr. Thomas Asaki at Washington State University, Dr. Heather Moon at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Dr. Marie Snipes at Kenyon College. The total award for the two-year, four-college collaboration is $249,789. 

The project is funded through the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program.

“The goal of the project is to develop data-driven curriculum for courses such as Real Analysis and Linear Algebra, which are frequently taught in a more theoretical and abstract manner,” Camfield said. “Today’s digital environment is filled with a huge amount of data stored as images and signals.  This presents interesting challenges to anyone who needs to examine or manipulate the information.  A few practical examples include facial recognition programs, medical image analysis, removing blur from satellite images, and filtering noise out of audio signals.”

“The focus of the project is to introduce current challenges in data analysis to motivate mathematical theory. The activities developed by this project will give students a research-like experience in the classroom and demonstrate tangible applications of the mathematical theory they are learning,” he added. “We believe that this application-directed approach will enhance appreciation of the mathematical concepts involved, provide new avenues for engaged learning, and equip more students for a workforce in need of data-driven skills.”

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. This year, Hendrix was named the country’s #1 “Up and Coming” liberal arts college and #8 in the nation for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the 2015 Fiske Guide to Colleges, Forbesmagazine's list of America's Top Colleges, the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, and the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit