Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University professor and student publish article in research journal

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield – Professor of Mathematics Christine von Renesse, Ph.D., and junior Julianna Campbell of Springfield recently published an article in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts titled “Learning to love math through the exploration of maypole patterns.”  

The journal is published by Taylor & Francis Online, a division of Informa UK Limited, where professors and scholars publish their research online from a variety of academic disciplines such as mathematics, literature, bioscience, technology, humanities, law, and urban studies.  

“Our research built on the work we had started in the Math Explorations course, which had led to a maypole exhibit in the STEAM art show [at the University]. I find it incredibly rewarding to help non-math majors see what mathematics really is about and that it can be creative and exciting,” said Dr. von Renesse.

Campbell first connected with von Renesse as a student in her Mathematical Explorations course. The pair discovered the phenomena, and planned an independent study to pursue their research. Dr. Von Renessee and Campbell’s article explores how seeing maypole dancing from a mathematical perspective in the classroom assists liberal arts students with the excitement to study mathematics further. Additionally, they explore the general class structure and pedagogy, as Campbell shares personal experiences from her independent study and Fall 2016 course.

The article appeared in Volume 13, 2019, Issue 1 and 2: Mathematics and the Arts in Education of the online journal.

This summer, Dr. von Renesse and Campbell will present further research at the Bridges Linz Conference in Linz, Austria July 16–20. The theme of the conference is “Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, and Culture.”

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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