Celina Fox began her studies at Columbia Basin College in the 1990s, but left before graduating to raise a child.
Now, her son is grown and Fox is back in school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in applied management. Everything was going swimmingly — until she signed up for a statistics course.
Like many students, Fox brought a healthy dose of fear to her math studies. Unlike most, she got proactive. She began visiting CBC’s new math center to beef up her skills before the class began and continued to visit daily, often seeing her professor and fellow students.
She estimates she logged 75 hours in the center before the course ended. She aced it, with a 3.7 grade-point average.
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“I made it through,” Fox said Thursday, at a belated public celebration of the college’s latest outreach to students.
The math center is part of the Academic Success Center, and is equipped with technology and staff to help all students. It’s long been a dream of the college to boost math help.
It became a reality when CBC secured a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the federal Title V Student Transitions & Achievement Award, a grant to boost academic success at institutions that serve Hispanic students.
More than one-third of CBC’s students, including Fox, are Hispanic.
About 800 students a week drop by the math center, which is music to Curtis Crawford’s ears.
Crawford, dean for math and science, said the need has only grown as more and more degree programs require some form of math. CBC now offers 11 quarters of statistics alone.
Rightly or wrongly, many students view math courses as an obstacle to their goal. The math center helps tear down that wall and will improve CBC’s performance relative to other community colleges in the state, Crawford said.
There already has been an increase in the number of students able to complete two of CBC’s 80-level math courses — pre-collegiate courses for which students receive no credit — in a single term, Crawford said.
The center is run by Lauren Garza, who encouraged everyone on campus to spread the word that help is available.
“We have great teachers and great technology and lots of students who need encouragement to stick with it,” she said.
The math center is in room T-433 in CBC’s Thornton Center.
The Academic Success Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday.