Math sketches

Research in Numbers: Dawson Mathematics Department Providing Unique Learning Opportunities for Students

The Science Program has been putting a strong effort in providing students with out of class learning activities of various formats and from all departments.

The Dawson Mathematics department has led the charge in recent years, hosting several events including the Dawson Weekly Mathematics Challenge (started in 2009), which provides students with challenging weekly problems from many different areas of mathematics that help students improve their problem solving skills, the Dawson Annual Mathematics Competition (started in 2007), as well as getting students involved in External Math Competitions from other organizations and universities.

All these activities cover topics outside of regular high school and college level mathematics and many Dawson students have shown excellent talent over the years.

Another initiative, which the department recently moved forward with, is a volunteer Peer Tutoring Program where second year students and alumni hold office hours in the mathematics tutorial room (7C.7), helping students with any problems they may be having.

Research in Mathematics

Following their successful extracurricular activities, the Mathematics department initiated a new and rather impressive extracurricular program last year; Research in Mathematics. Independent research in science is generally reserved for graduate studies (Masters and PhD), and mathematics is no exception.

However, last year six Dawson students decided to take on full-year independent research projects in math, an undertaking far beyond the curriculum for a typical Cégep student. Under the guidance of five dedicated faculty members in the Mathematics department, these students invested countless hours researching their different unsolved math problems to hopefully shed some light on them. Their dedication to the subject and academic skills surpassed the expectations of everyone involved.

When the semester was coming to a close, the faculty members involved were trying to think of ways to extend these projects even further. Since these projects were taking place outside of class, there were no grades attached, and these students were putting in the hours purely out of love for the subject.

Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (CUMC)

In this light, these students were encouraged to attend the Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (CUMC) in Ottawa last summer (2014). This allowed the students to experience an environment where ideas are exchanged amongst their peers.

Thanks to funding bodies (Dawson Student Services and the Student Success Action Plan), several students were able to attend. This marked a milestone for Dawson; not only was it the first time that Dawson had students attend such a conference, but two of our students actually presented their work to university students and professors from across the country. Their presentations were very well received.

This not only demonstrates academic skill above and beyond that of a typical Cégep (and even undergraduate) student, but also a dedication and love for Mathematics. Our participating students and faculty should be very proud of their accomplishments.

Working on these projects has given these students valuable insight into the world of Mathematics and the different avenues that can be pursued in University. It has also given them an experience that extremely few other Cégep students have. This is why the Dawson Mathematics department and the Science Program in general hope to continue these extracurricular projects and foster new ones like it.

The 2nd Annual Research in Mathematics Conference

In fact, the Research in Mathematics projects have continued this year, and students will be presenting their work alongside McGill students during the 2nd Annual Research in Mathematics Conference at Dawson.

Come and support these students on Thursday, May 7 at 2:30pm – 5:30pm in room 5B.13.

The two students that presented their work at the 2014 CUMC were Dylan Cant (under the guidance of Alexander Hariton) and Michael Saraga (under the guidance of Bogdan Szczepara). Their Projects will be appearing in the next edition of the Dawson Research Journal of Experimental Science.

Should you wish to learn more or get involved in the Mathematics initiatives, please contact Varuzhan Ohanyan ( or any of the Science Program extracurricular activities, please contact Brian Mader ( or Chase Moser, our Science Activities Coordinators ( Or visit our Science Activities Community in the Dawson Portal directory (right hand side of the portal after you log in).

Last Modified: August 22, 2018