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Oakland University Math Corps brings out students’ greatness in academics and life

For the past several weeks, 39 middle school students primarily from Pontiac have been participating in Oakland University’s Math Corps, a program that teaches children the intricacies of mathematics, while preparing them to lead productive lives and contribute to a more just society. 

‘We believe that every kid has greatness within them and that our role in the Math Corps is to help bring it out,” said Dr. Anna Spagnuolo, executive director of the OU Math Corps, and professor and chair of OU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “We do this by teaching and mentoring them in mathematics while providing them support and care as a second family to them. Our focus is on bringing greatness out of each child in mathematics and in all aspects of life, based on the values of kindness and integrity. Our Math Corps staff also learns valuable lessons from our beautiful children.”

Dr. Spagnuolo spearheaded the development of OU’s Math Corps, hosting it online for the past two years before bringing it to campus this year. The program is also supported by 23 Michigan high school students who receive mathematics instruction at the high school level and another course at the university level. Senior staff includes Julia Thompson, program coordinator, Charlene Jones, mathematics teacher at the Boggs School in Detroit, and Dr. Chris Nazelli, director of curriculum and instruction at the Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics at Wayne State University.

“Math Corps is a lifetime program where students return year after year from seventh grade through college. It is a social system that serves as its own culture,” said Dr. Spagnuolo. “The Math Corps encourages kids to be courageous and to change the world for the better.”

Math Corps is a nationally recognized program with a long history in Detroit, having been founded at Wayne State in 1992. In fact, OU recognized Math Corps cofounder Steve Khan with an honorary doctorate at its spring 2022 commencement.

To learn more about community engagement programs at OU, visit

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