Support Mathematics

Simple Group Sends Large Cohort to Graduate School

Thanks to funding from a generous donor, a group of math and math-interested majors met weekly during 2014-15 and 2015-16 for in-depth, on-going discussions of mathematics-related subjects. The Simple Group — named after an enigmatic mathematical object — also hosted well-known guest speakers and held group GRE study sessions.

Though diving deeper into mathematics is the group’s main purpose — discussion topics included the nature of pi and Heegner numbers — it proved a great springboard for graduate school. Five students will attend prestigious doctoral programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Colorado, Boulder; UC Santa Barbara; UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis.

These successful graduate school applications are due in part to group study efforts on the Mathematics GRE exam, which significantly streamlined the problem-solving process. The fall GRE scores were among the highest ever recorded by Cal Poly math students, reaching as high as the top 10 percentile. This may be one of the most significant and long-lasting benefits of the Simple Group meetings because the department now has good ideas about how to prepare our majors for the exam.

The group is seeking funding to continue in the 2016-17 school year. For more information contact Joe Borzellino, department chair, at or 805-756-2206.

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