Release Date: October 10, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Anyone looking for evidence the University at Buffalo’s Gifted Math Program pays off in a big way need look no further than two of its graduates: One recently commanded a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine; the other has the nickname “the closer” for his success in closing the deals his fellow software colleagues have started.
Both Western New York high school graduates have more in common than just being alumni of the UB accelerated math program. They each share a clear and fierce admiration for the advanced math training they received at UB while still teenagers.
“The critical thinking and mathematics discipline I learned in UB’s Gifted Math Program were invaluable in helping me throughout my technical higher education and my career,” says Tim Salter, who commuted from East Aurora when attending the program. Salter completed his tour as commanding officer of the USS Virginia, the nuclear submarine now docked in Groton, Connecticut, just over a year ago.
“My hat goes off to you, Dr. (Gerald) Rising (one of the founders of the program) and the rest of the staff at the Gifted Math Program,” Salter says. “You really started a great program.”
Hans Baumgaertner, a 2005 GMP graduate, takes a little more explanation. Baumgaertner works as a technical sales executive for the software company Cinegy GmbH. Because of his extensive technical background, he picked up the company’s software from scratch faster than his colleagues and is able to supervise the technical dimensions of their commercial shows.
The company’s more seasoned sales executives frequently call him in to settle the deals they are working on because of his technical skills.
“In a short period of time, I would close the deal,” says Baumgaertner, who now works in Munich, Germany. “UB’s Gifted Math Program provides the necessary skills for logical and cognitive thinking within the realm of math and beyond, enabling graduating students to excel in their chosen fields.”
Once again — this is the 35th year — UB’s Gifted Math Program is accepting nominations of outstanding sixth-grade mathematics students submitted by schools and parents for its fall 2015 entering class.
A three-hour battery of tests will be administered in March to about 200 nominees to select students for the 60 available places in the new class, according to Anne Izydorczak, PhD, administrator of the Gifted Math Program. Approximately 250 students from secondary schools in Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Orleans counties are enrolled in the program.
“Ask graduates about the program and what it has done for them,” says Izydorczak. “They’ll describe the intellectual growth that happened over their time here and the impact GMP has had on their life. Our graduates have a shared understanding about that.”
The program offers advanced mathematics courses, which replace mathematics classes in students’ home schools, that are designed to challenge students with high levels of ability. Students in grades seven to 10 study an enriched and accelerated curriculum; 11th- and 12th-graders take university-level courses in calculus and linear algebra. They complete four semesters of university-level mathematics as part of the six-year program and may accumulate a total of 22 college credit hours.
The program was founded by Betty Krist, PhD, professor emerita of mathematics at SUNY Buffalo State, and Gerald Rising, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the UB Department of Learning and Instruction. Deborah Moore-Russo, PhD, is director, and professor in UB’s Department of Learning and Instruction.
Informational meetings for the families of nominated students and others interested in the program will be held at UB in February. For more information, visit the program’s website at http://giftedmath.buffalo.edu.