Applied Mathematics Program Aims to Develop Engineers for North Dakota

The range of topics such as  numbers, structure, space, and change are apropos for a mathematics program, undergraduate typically leveraging a four year degree towards further academic study before pursuing their career.

Pursuing a mathematics degree can be a heady activity, not for the light hearted, completing a program in four years has students practicing study and learning techniques that are often challenging.

However, for a subset of high school graduates the study of mathematics comes easy, gratification earmarked by a hard-level Sudoko puzzle or Rubik’s Cube solved, in an accomplished engineering of robots or possibly in writing a code snippet that expedites a complex calculation, or maybe in the reflection on the good grades one had earned in the math courses completed in all of their K-12 learning.

For those having an acumen for the mathematical sciences likely have the right stuff to attend a Big 10, or an Ivy League school, but a college education has become cost exorbitant, and maybe, just maybe “staying near my North Dakota home for my undergraduate education is preferred, after all Mom’s cooking is delightfully delicious.”

To that student, Valley City State University has an offer for you, joining as a freshman in one of several Bachelors degree options in Mathematics: B.S in Mathematics, B.S. Applied Mathematics for Engineers, B.A. in Mathematics, or B.S./B.A. degrees in both Secondary and Elementary Education.

Leading the Mathematics programs are Drs. Preston Bush, and Takayuki Yamauchi  whose commitment to high quality teaching is well established, graduates from their VCSU programs discovering placement in either a job or a graduate school without exception.

Early in 2015 Dr. Gilbert Kuipers suggested a new academic program to cater to 1) the student interested in pursuing an engineering degree but preferring a small college learning environment, 2) those skilled at mathematics but not without challenges,  3) those not certain on what type of engineering was their ideal suit,  or 4) the student who is partial to pursuing a career in teaching, and who recognize education degrees is Valley City’s most notable credential.

Taking Kuiper’s lead,  Dr. David DeMuth, Jr. in establishing strong foundations with North Dakota State University, set into motion the formal articulation between an Applied Mathematics for Engineers program new to VCSU with any of the eight engineering degree programs at NDSU: Agriculture, BioSystems, Civil & Environmental, Computer, Construction, Industrial & Manufacturing, Electrical, Manufacturing, and Mechanical Engineering.

The feature of starting an engineering degree at VCSU via the Applied Mathematics for Engineering program is multifaceted, suggests DeMuth, “beyond the small classroom customized learning we are well known for, we have the capacity and resources to fine tune learning success, one student at a time.”

Moreover there are natural alliances between VCSU and NDSU, geographically to name one, but also that the Elementary Education program delivered at NDSU is in fact VCSU’s, a partnership that has a strong heritage.

Ideally students will complete a four year degree from VCSU then join NDSU in one of the eight engineering programs fully vetted and ready for success, transferring as many as 80 credits, that number varying slightly depending on the program, then completing a second Bachelors degree in 1.5 – 2 years of study.

DeMuth suggests that VCSU graduates will demonstrate proficiency at mathematics, physics, and communication, particularly writing, key attributes of the successful engineer, and as a result will be versatile and successful at NDSU. Moreover, recent trends in engineering suggest a higher regard for the liberal arts as a feature.

In addition, the Applied Math program is flexible, if students spend 2-3 years at VCSU but opt to join NDSU in advance of earning their VCSU B.S., the recipe for transfer of courses is well established, acceptance and entry at NDSU likely expedited, and with some basic coordination can earn the Bachelors degree reciprocally from VCSU after the NDSU degree is evidenced, DeMuth arguing that the dual Math and Engineering degree is covetous.

Tertiary to these Mathematics degrees is a Software Engineering program which is now in its third year at VCSU, providing yet another outlet of opportunity for the inquiring undergraduate mind as a well as suggesting a developing engineering focus for a campus traditionally considered a Normal school.

DeMuth also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Research and coordinates the Student Opportunities for Academic Research or SOAR program, where students practice in Faculty-mentored research and artistry, and he anticipates the program as a rich vehicle for discovery for each of their “pre-engineering” students.

Interested students and parents could contact by email any of: gilbert.kuipers@vcsu.edu, preston.bush@vscu.edutakayuki.yamauchi@vcsu.edu, or david.demuth@vcsu.edu for more information on the program requirements.


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Professor of Physics, Director of Undergraduate Research, STEM Consultant, STEAM Practitioner


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