Math and Science Academy

The Math and Science Academy is a co-curricular program that motivates student interest in mathematics, science, engineering and health sciences with the goal of helping today's students better meet the challenges of the 21st century.


The Presentation Math and Science Academy maintains that the greatest discoveries and developments in mathematics and the sciences will occur largely in facilitated group environments. It is an aim of the Academy to bring bright, curious, and creative students together to explore mathematical, scientific, and engineering knowledge. The aim may be met by seeking new or by applying existing knowledge to the solution of the myriad of problems confronting the world.


Presentation High School is a college-preparatory high school with a demanding curriculum that contains increasing challenges in both mathematics and the sciences. To become a Fellow of the Academy, students must demonstrate they are interested in math and science by their involvement in activities, such as, Mu Alpha Theta, CSF (California Scholarship Federation), COSMOS, Robotics, Presentation High School Math Team, San Jose Math Circle, and/or the Independent Research Study Course run by the academy.

To become a Fellow, students must complete an application and indicate their involvement in the above activities. Students should be participants in at least 2 activities; however, exceptions may be made if students are participating in COSMOS, Robotics, or the Independent Research Study Course. Fellowship is granted to students who are active participants and once a student becomes a fellow, they are life-long members of the academy as long as they continue to follow their interests in math and science.

If a student would like to join the Academy and is not participating in those activities, they must demonstrate a true interest in math and science and petition the director for membership. Students who petition for membership should be involved in extracurricular mathematics or science activities, such as involvement with the local aquariums/science or technology museums, or local university laboratories.

Independent Study

The Director of the Academy runs a year-long course which meets on a monthly basis. This class augments the traditional secondary school curriculum in mathematics and the sciences and offers the opportunity for students to be involved in mathematics, science, and engineering research at a level beyond the normal curriculum.

The class covers the basics of math, science, and engineering research including how to find a research topic of interest and depth to the student as well as the methods to define, characterize, and possibly resolve it. The class ultimately focuses on a student developed project and associated research paper in the mathematics, science, or engineering fields, which will be exhibited and judged in the Synopsis Silicon Valley Engineering Fair. The Synopsis program is the gateway to upper level fairs including the California State Science Fair and the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

Examples of Independent Study Projects

  • How Do Different Types of Music Affect Memory?
  • Viruses Against Bacteria: What dosage of bacteriophages will be most effective in fighting E. coli infections?
  • The Effects of Blue Green Algae in Pinto Lake on Brine Shrimp (Artemia salina).
  • Genetic Mutations of the Second Generation Brassica rapa Due to UV-A and UV-C Radiation of First Generation Seeds.
  • How Do Different Variables in Nature Affect the Level of Oxygen in Los Alamitos Creek?
  • The Effect of Three Different 'Over The Counter' Medications on the Heart Rate of Daphnia magna
  • The Effect of Miracle-Gro on Coleus Plant Transpiration (Botany)
  • Utilization of Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana towards Phytoremediation Efforts
  • Does a High School Junior's Relationship With Her Father Affect Her Relationship With God?
  • Denaturation of Bovine alpha-Lactalbumin
  • Dissolution of Painkillers


Throughout the school year, scholars and experts in the fields of mathematics and science are brought to campus for evening presentations which are open to the student body, faculty and staff, as well as the general public. One goal of the colloquium series is bring in successful women in the fields of mathematics and science. Check the school calendar for information about upcoming colloquiums.


COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science):This program is a month-long summer program run by the University of California, which offers high school students the opportunity to work side-by-side with leading university researchers and university faculty. This program is a hands-on lab program in which students work on current research topics. The PHS M&S Academy seeks out potential applicants and guides students through the application process.

Mu Alpha Theta:This is an international high school and two-year college mathematics honor society that is co-sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America. To be eligible for full membership, students must have completed two full years of college preparatory mathematics with at least a B+ average and have an overall GPA of at least B-. Students in Honors Geometry are eligible for associate membership. Membership is by application. There is a five hour service requirement per semester and a colloquium attendance requirement.

PHS Robotics Team:The Robotics team is not run by the Academy; however, it presents the opportunity for students of the academy and of the student body to pursue their interest in engineering. The team competes at robotics competitions during the year.

ISTS Course offered by the Science Department:The science department offers an additional course called ISTS (or Integrated Science and Technology Seminar Course). This course introduces students to the real world applications of the skills that they have acquired in biology, chemistry, and physics. Furthermore, those students interested in careers in applied science will be introduced to leaders both in local industry and in academia. In particular, the engineering department at Santa Clara University will be working closely with ISTS students to help them work towards a career in engineering.

Presentation High School Math Contests: Competitions are structured around the California Mathematics League contests and is open to all Presentation students with an enthusiasm for math. Students will compete in math contests against other schools both on campus and off campus.


Tracy Hughes
Math and Science Academy Moderator