Mayterm 2023 South Africa Mayterm
Is your major (or minor) Mathematics, Computer Science, or Data Analytics? Travel to South Africa to learn Numerical Analysis from a world-renowned researcher in the field, to study the history of racial and social inequality in South Africa and to experience first-hand what reconciliation and building a new democracy look like in real life.
After spending one week on campus at Westmont, you’ll travel to Stellenbosch, a university town close to Cape Town, where you’ll be based for four weeks.
You’ll attend classes and computer lab sessions in Numerical Analysis taught by Dr. van der Walt and Dr Weideman from Stellenbosch University – this course is a must to prepare you to use mathematics to solve real-world problems through computer methods.
You’ll also learn about South African history with regard to racial inequality from guest lecturers from Stellenbosch University and University of the Western Cape and visit historic sites connected to these issues, like Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, and District Six, a neighborhood designated for non-whites during Apartheid. There will be ample time for connecting with South Africans from all walks of life to learn what reconciliation looks like today, and you’ll also get to join students from Stellenbosch University and members of a local church in their outreach projects to a local neighborhood, Idasvallei.
Throw in some hiking to experience the breathtaking scenery in the Cape Town area, and you have 4 weeks in South Africa that will challenge you mentally, emotionally and physically as you learn more about yourself and your Christian calling.
In this course, you’ll study a number of computer methods for solving mathematical problems that would be difficult (or even impossible) to solve analytically. The topics covered include: finite precision arithmetic, rounding error and stability, solving nonlinear equations numerically, solving linear systems numerically, interpolation using polynomials and cubic splines, numerical integration and numerical solution of differential equations. You will learn to use MATLAB (one of the standard languages used by applied mathematicians) to implement these methods.
This course is a must for anyone considering a career that uses mathematics to solve real-world problems.
Prerequisite: MA-010 (Calculus II); approved for elective credit for Mathematics, Computer Science and Data Analytics.
Fulfills GE Thinking Globally
In this course you will study South African history while being immersed in its culture. Specifically, we will focus on the history of racial injustice in South Africa and the progress that is being made towards reconciliation and peace among different ethnic groups. Dr. van der Walt's hope is that this course will help you to see beyond yourself and your own experiences, and that this will help you to grow in love towards people unlike you and towards our Savior who calls to Himself peoples of all tribes and nations.
Apart from class meetings, anticipated outings include tours of Robben Island, District Six Museum, Iziko Slave Lodge and Langa and Gugulethu (two local townships).
Much like Santa Barbara, the Cape Town area provides numerous hiking opportunities. For this PEA course, you will hike Lion’s Head in Cape Town and trails in the Table Mountain National Park and Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden.
Anticipated GE Serving Society
South Africa is a land of great beauty, but also of great inequality. In this course, you will partner with Stellenbosch University students and members of a local church to participate in service projects in a local neighborhood, Idasvallei. You will come alongside South Africans to tutor middle school and high school students, visit patients in hospitals, and provide food to the unhoused.
While in South Africa, we will be based in Stellenbosch, a university town close to Cape Town.
Visit historic sites in and around Cape Town.
Join Stellenbosch University students and members from a local church in their outreach projects in Idasvallei.
Experience Cape Town’s breathtaking scenery while hiking Lion’s Head and trails in Table Mountain National Park and Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden.
Dr. van der Walt earned her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees at Stellenbosch University and her doctorate in applied mathematics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She was an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University before coming to Westmont in 2017. Her research interests focus primarily in computational harmonic analysis, approximation theory, and spline theory. In her post-doctorate work, she has been engaged with professors from Vanderbilt, Cal Tech and the University of Bologna in research endeavors. Her recent publications include “A Deep Learning Approach to Diabetic Blood Glucose Prediction” and “Real-time, local spline interpolation schemes on bounded intervals.”
Dr. JAC (André) Weideman is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and educated at the University of the Orange Free State (UOFS) in the same city. In the period 1980-1999 he occupied academic positions at the UOFS, at MIT (visiting), and at Oregon State University in the USA. At OSU he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 before returning to South Africa in 1999 to take up his current position. Among
Weideman's most cited research is an early paper on the numerical solution of the nonlinear Schrödinger equation, and mid-career papers on software for spectral methods for differential equations as well as an algorithm for the computation of the complex error function. His recent interests include the numerical inversion of the Laplace transform, contour integral methods for PDEs, and the computation of the Painlevé transcendents in the complex plane. Weideman is associate editor of Numerical Algorithms and Electronic Transactions of Numerical Analysis, and was elected a SIAM Fellow in 2017.
Program Cost & Dates
$8300 which includes tuition, room, board, in-country travel, and on campus room and board for the week of May 8-13. Students are responsible for airfare from LAX to South Africa and the return flight to the U.S.. The program runs May 8 - June 9.
- GPA (minimum 2.3 gpa for eligibility)
- Application and essays
- Personal and faculty recommendations
In addition to the general qualifications above, the following are requirements that must be met, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to complete all essential elements of the program. All participants must be able to:
- Anticipate possible exposure to peanut or other food allergens.
- Navigate multiple irregular surfaces and walk up to 10 miles a day, hike up to 10 miles with the group.
- Navigate carrying personal items including suitcase and/or backpack without assistance.
- Anticipate having sufficient emotional wellness to fully participate in the program safely and successfully despite the limited availability of frequent access to psychological services.
- Anticipate at least double occupancy accommodations on some if not all locations.
- Receive the final dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the program.
- If eligible, receive the most recent Covid-19 vaccine booster at least two weeks prior to departure if it has been at least two months since your last Covid-19 vaccine or booster.
How to apply:
The application deadline has passed. For more info about the program, contact Dr. van der Walt, email@example.com.