Home : Academics : Mathematics & Statistics : First-year Seminar


"The Hollins math department encourages students of all mathematical abilities to take math classes. I chose to be a math major because of the wonderful professors at Hollins, and I knew it was a degree that would get me a job. Currently I'm applying for jobs as a business analyst, specifically to develop mathematical models to predict trends in business. If I had gone anywhere other than Hollins, I might not have loved math and analytical thinking as much because math can be intimidating. But at Hollins, I felt comfortable exploring this field."

Leah Jackman '08

“Numb3rs,” the first-year seminar.

In a nutshell:

  • The inspiration came from "Numb3rs," the TV show where crimes are solved with math.
  • We watched episodes in class, analyzed the math they used, and recreated those concepts in our own projects.
  • We learned skills such as: using Maple, teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking.
  • Some topics we covered were Julia Sets, Parametric curves, Random Movement, Accident Reconstruction, Monty Hall Problem, Game Theory, Hotspots, and Black Jack.
  • We learned real-life applications of math.
  • We also went on a field trip to see the math and computer science departments at Virginia Tech.
  • We had an amazing time!


In more detail:

The Hot Spot Project

The Hot Spot Project

Finding the most probable area a serial criminal is living/working based on crime locations. This is done by drawing two circles around every crime scene, which are the outer and inner buffer zones. The area in between is the "good region." The most common "good region" is most probable of being the killer's home.

Parametric Curves

Parametric Curves

A type of function that is able to bypass the more annoying rules of normal functions, such as the vertical line test. We used mathematical equations to create parametric functions and put together pretty pictures!

Virginia Tech field trip

Virginia Tech Field Trip

We saw the supercomputer used to generate the Julia sets that we had studied earlier. In a presentation on math in nature, we learned that math exists in the pattern of giraffe spots and in mud cracks. We learned how motioned capture works, and then played with a 50-screen computer.