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Jocelyn Bowie
Director of Communications and Marketing, IU College of Arts and Sciences

Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

IU physics PhDs offer tutoring assistance in math, physics to area high school students

June 29, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In summer 2010, a small group of Ph.D. students in the College of Arts and Sciences' Physics Department, led by Jake Bennett, started a summer tutoring program in mathematics and physics for local high school students.

Physics Tutoring

IU physics PhD student Jake Bennett, right, tutors Bloomington North student Alisha Chen in calculus.

"Last year's program was so successful that the students are running it again this summer," said Caty Pilachowski, the College's associate dean for graduate education and a professor of astronomy. "This year, the students successfully applied for external funding from the Indiana Space Grant Consortium to support the program -- they have just been awarded $3,600 to make it happen. There are more than four dozen high school students signed up for the program. I am so proud of these students for their initiative and their success."

Bennett's fellow Ph.D. students Nick Timme, Jason Fry, Michael Baird and Lance Garrison all teach in the program. The students receive guidance and support from Rick Van Kooten, chair of the Physics Department, and Adam Maltese of the IU School of Education.

"I just noticed a disconnect between what students know when they start these classes in high school and what they really need to know in order to be successful," said Bennett. "Our Foundation's program is designed to help high school students prepare for physics and math courses. We emphasize important introductory concepts and problem solving skills, which will provide a strong foundation for later learning."

The program, Foundations in Physics and Mathematics, finished its first session on June 24; a second session runs from July 11 through July 22. Courses offered are: Physics, Pre-Calculus, AP Physics, and Calculus; classes meet on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 1-3 p.m. or 7-9 p.m. Classes meet in Swain Hall West and participants receive free temporary parking passes for the duration of the program, which costs $25. Class size is capped at 13 per course; places are still available in the second session. Registration is online, here.

"This program is a very cost-effective means of receiving extra instruction in physics and calculus," Bennett said. "Normally, 12 hours of private tutoring would cost a total of $300."

For more information please contact Jocelyn Bowie, director of communications and marketing, IU College of Arts and Sciences, at 812-855-5265 or, or Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or