High school students from KIPP Sunnyside visit the University of Houston twice per week to participate in the Cougars and Houston Area Math Program, also known as CHAMP. In its third year, the mathematics and STEM outreach program is enhancing local high school students’ educations and encouraging them to pursue college dreams.

Dr. Mark Tomforde, director of CHAMP and associate professor of mathematics at UH, created the program to provide math enrichment to high school students from underserved communities surrounding the University of Houston.

CHAMP puts local high school students into direct contact with UH students and professors who serve as teachers and mentors. On Tuesdays, CHAMP provides math lessons designed to get students excited about math and science. These lessons use hands-on activities and discovery-based learning, and they introduce topics not usually seen in high school, such as codebreaking, game theory and mathematical models for the spread of infectious diseases. On Thursdays, CHAMP provides math tutoring in which high school students work one-on-one with UH undergraduates.

CHAMP is staffed entirely with volunteer effort. Members of certain student organizations, such as the UH Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the UH Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and teachHOUSTON, are especially active in volunteering.

Through mathematics education and enrichment, CHAMP is improving high school graduation rates, increasing the number of students going to college and preparing students for college STEM courses. CHAMP is also helping UH faculty and students connect with local school systems and giving Cougars yet another way to have a positive impact in their community.