Math and the Mouse
Math professors Liz Bouzarth and Kevin Hutson worked with twelve students during the 2019 Math and the Mouse study away May Experience program studying mathematics and science in Walt Disney World. This is the fourth iteration of this course since its inception in 2014. The class combines academic material from 11 different mathematics courses with engaged learning opportunities and activities, group projects, and guest speakers to create an opportunities for students to see how different ideas in mathematics, statistics, operations research, and data analytics can be used to solve a multitude of problems in different areas within Disney’s vast operations. Two guest speakers were of particular interest to the students. Jamey McDowell ’17 and Molly Petersen ’18 both participated in Math and the Mouse while they were students at Furman. Both have since graduated, independently pursued masters degrees in business analytics at Wake Forest, and both landed internship opportunities to work with Disney in Florida. Molly was just beginning her internship with Disney when she spoke to this year’s Math and the Mouse students, but Jamey had a year of experience with Disney as a Data Scientist when he met this year’s class. Jamey shared a number of interesting projects that he’s worked on professionally and connected these ideas back to his time in the Math and the Mouse course and as a Mathematics-Economics major at Furman. The students in the class valued the insight that Jamey and Molly both brought to the course as examples of young alumni who have pursued a pathway that led them to earn a graduate degree and ultimately find fulfilling employment.