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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Refresher course helps master’s students

The U’s math department began a noncredit refresher course for students in need of an overview of undergraduate mathematics.

The course is open to anyone interested, but it is mainly geared toward students in the Master of Science and Technology program, according to Bob Palais, research associate professor in the U’s math department.

“The course gives the big picture. It really emphasizes the connections, applications and interactions among geometry, algebra and calculus,” he said.

Art Holcher, who is finishing his internship for his Master of Science and Technology degree, said the course helped him complete the second year of his degree, which he said was more technical than his first year.

“I had been exposed to the concepts in the first two-thirds of the class, but the last third was completely new to me,” he said. “It teaches math from a graphic, visual perspective, which really helped me.”

Holcher is one of 43 students who are enrolled in or recently graduated from the program, which began Fall Semester 2002, according to Jennifer Schmidt, program director.

The students in the program range from being straight out of undergraduate study to people who have taken five or more years off from school.

The program fuses science with business and communication, which is intended to bridge the gap between scientists and policy-makers by making scientists more effective communicators, according to Holcher.

“People with a science background can be hard to deal with. Someone with this degree could become a manager of a science program because of the business savvy and communication background he gained,” he said.

The program’s interdisciplinary background led Holcher from classes at the College of Law to the department of communication to the School of Art and Architecture.

Holcher decided to earn his master’s degree in the program after taking seven years off after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in bioengineering because he didn’t want to be “trapped in a lab” for the rest of his life.

“When I was at the University of Pennsylvania, I felt that it was really heavy on the science and there was no balance. This program hits the balance mark,” Holcher said.

He chose the environmental science track instead of the science instrumentation or computational science tracks. None of the tracks require a thesis, but students must complete an internship in the area they are interested in and give a final presentation proving they used the academic work during their internship, according to Schmidt.

Holcher’s internship currently focuses on tracking and creating a model for the water consumption in Tecate, Mexico. He is working with the Comision Estatal Servicios Publicos de Tecate, located in the town an hour south of San Diego, and he will give his internship presentation the first week of September at the U.

He plans to enter the field of international environmental consulting.

The refresher course began July 6 and runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. with a 30-minute break. Those interested in registering for the course can contact Bob Palais at [email protected].

Palais said though the course has already begun, he has plenty of material to catch students up for next week.

[email protected]

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