Fresno State gets million-dollar boost helping students become math teachers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State's mathematics department is giving students a million reasons to consider math as a major.

"When students become a math major, they have opportunities to go anywhere they want to," said Rajee Amarasinghe Chair of the mathematics department.

Recently the university received a $1.4 million dollar grant to help those who want to become math teachers. In their junior and senior year, they will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Amarasinghe this will greatly benefit students.

"They will take classes in the afternoons and go to student teaching in the morning," he said. "They practically don't have any time to work."

It is no secret the United States is facing a teacher shortage. According to Amarasinghe math departments are struggling. He said they have to change attitudes towards the subject if they ever hope to fix the problem.

"The joy of math has changed, people have just learned how to plug the numbers into formulas and produce answers, rather than seeing math as a fun thing to do," he said.

To create interest, the department is reaching out to community colleges and even high schools. Only students in the Integrated Credential Program will be eligible for the scholarship. Fresno State will have enough funds to offer it for the next five years, with the goal of enticing more to become mathematicians.
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