Role Model Videos

Use the select lists below to find a video based upon math concepts and careers!

Analytics and Data Optimization - Erika Cerwin



Erika talks about how she helps companies learn more about what their customers need and want from products. She uses the example of customer feedback about a John Deere Tractor to illustrate how feedback can be valuable to a company.


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Critical Thinking
Architecture and Design - John Tector



John Tector, Associate Dean Emeritus for the College of Design at North Carolina State University explains the connection between Geometry, Design, and Architecture.

Biomedical Engineer - Greg Sawicki, NCSU



Greg Sawicki, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University shares with us his work on wearable robots. 

Try using the "how fast do you walk" activity with your students. Greg's team collects the same type of data using motion sensors.  He collects the data so that they can build prosthetics that follow the same joint angle trajectories as healthy humans.  The motion capture data helps them to understand how the patterns change with speed and gait (walk vs. run).

Bugs and Bots - iBionics Engineering - Alper Bozkurt

Alper shares his work with creating integrated biobots, robots made from bugs!


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Customer Value Analyst - Jennifer Tripoli

Jennifer Tripoli shares with us how she uses qualitative and quantitative research to learn more about customer transactions.  She uses ratings systems, customer feedback, surveys, and interviews to help companies learn how to better serve their customers.


---- Related Activity ---- Customer Satisfaction

Synopsis - This activity is designed to use Fathom to analyze real world customer satisfaction data to discover the relationships within the data and make predictions of furture customer satisfaction ratings.

Materials - Fathom, Food Data.csv, Airline Data.csv, Car Data.csv, Department Stores Data.csv, Hotel Data.csv

Notes - Activity is designed to work in pairs.  Extension project is available within the lesson.  Sample Student Food Data Fathom Lesson is attached.

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Critical Thinking
Engineering Careers - Windlift




Rob Creighton, Founder and President of Windlift shares with us how he uses a kiteboarding kite to harness the power of the wind and provide energy to those in need.

---- Windlift Activity----

Synopsis: This activity attached below is designed to use Fathom software to record a controlled experiment involving bottle rockets. Each trial will use a different percentage of water capacity in the bottle to discover the amount of water that will give the rocket maximum height. It will help model quadratic functions and interpret the effects of controlled input values on each output value.

Materials: 16oz. bottles (standard 9/16" opening), water, cardboard, glue/tape, paint (decoration), link:

Notes: This acitivity can be conducted in two ways: 1) The class can build their own bottle rockets and shoot them off in an open area or outdoors. 2) The class can use the website to simulate bottle rocket launches instead of building rockets from the materials. 

Attached are the instructions as well as a Fathom file with sample data.

Fashion Designer - Dara McGinn



The owner of Li Sashay (which means "the length of a woman's walk") shares with us how to design and cut hand bags using a pattern of geometric shapes.

IBM Worldwide Client Support, Vice President - Wendy Toh



Wendy shares with us how her focus on mathematics in high school and college opened the door for her to work at IBM.

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Critical Thinking
LCD Light and Holography - Michael Escuti

This video has been used as part of a unit on Vectors.

Michael Escuti, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NCSU, shares with us about how he uses Geometry and vectors to control the direction and properties of light.

---- Related Activity ---- Investigating Screen Brightness

Synopsis - This activity is designed to use the Vernier Light Sensor to create a model to represent the change in brightness level for a computer display screen. Some models may represent a linear relationship; others may represent an exponential relationship.

Materials - computer screen(s) or cell phone(s) with brightness adjusting capabilities, fathom, logger lite, vcl, go!Link, Vernier Light Sensor

Notes - Activity works best with groups of 3. Roles include: 1) student to hold the sensor, 2) student change the brightness level, and 3) a student to monitor experiment and manage data in Fathom/Logger Lite.

Oncology Nursing - Melissa Holt



Watch this video to learn more about how nurses calculate pain medication dosage rates for patients.

Researcher, Computer Networking - Lina Battestilli - IBM Research Division




Lina shares with us an ongoing research project at IBM and how she uses geometry to solve difficult computer networking problems.

Systems Biologist - Cranos Williams - North Carolina State University


Cranos shares with us how math can be used to describe and control plant systems similar to how radio controlled cars are controlled. He describes math as a form of art, which he uses to create new solutions to global problems.

---- Related Activity ---- Faster and Farther

Materials - Go!Motion sensor, Fathom, Logger Lite (if using VCL), five cars, two computers

DESCRIPTION: In this activity students, working in small groups, will conduct an experiment in which they formulate conjectures to determine which variables influence the velocity and total distance traveled of a car rolling down a ramp. They will test their conjectures by conducting a lab using Fathom and motion detectors and matchbox cars

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Systems Engineer - Joe DeCarolis, NCSU



Want to know more about what a Civil Construction and Environmental Engineer does? Then watch this video to hear about this career from Joe DeCarolis, an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. He uses mathematics to solve complex environmental problems.

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T.R.i.X.X - the math behind the music



Local North Carolina rapper T.R.i.X.X. discusses how he uses beats to make music.


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TechShop RDU Founder and UAV Pilot - Scott Saxon


Learn more about how Scott Saxon uses proportions to determined the size and dimensions of a model airplane. 

---- Model Rocket Activity ----

Synopsis - This activity is designed to compare a simplified model of a rocket launch to the actual data collected from an altimeter in a model rocket. Students will be modeling the quadratic pattern in the simplified version, and using a piecewise function from the actual launch

Notes - The Prelaunch calculations are complicated but do a good job teaching student's organization. The rocket launch isn't necessary, but is something the students enjoyed!

Materials - For the parabolic activity:Algebra 1 Fathom Book Activity, Student Experiment Handout and Questions

For the AFM Extension:-SkyTrax rocket data set and Fathom Workspace ,-Pre-Launch Calculations page,

-Launch Day Calculations page, -Post Launch Modeling Packet

For an actual launch:-Estes launch starter set that includes a payload rocket, -PerfectFlite Pnut Altimeter and USB data capture cord

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Transportation and Roundabout Construction


Bastian Schroeder, a research associate at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education, describes how geometry and the radius of a circle affect traffic speeds in Roundabouts.

Transportation Roadways and Vertical Curves

Senior Transportation Researcher Daniel Findley discusses how transportation workers use the parabolic equation and vertical curves to design roadways.

---- Related Activity ---- Linear Equations and the Meaning of Slope

Synopsis: You are taking a nice drive in your beautiful car, when suddenly your brakes fail and your car is driving out of control. This activity will allow you to test several different surfaces to see which one would be ideal to safely stop your car.

You will simulate several “test drives” onto different available surfaces and determine which surface provides the best and safest stopping material for your “vehicle”.  

Materials: One (1) toy car (bigger than a matchbox car works best), One (1) cardboard ramp approximately 6 inches,  Go! Motion detector, Laptop with Fathom connection and Logger Lite, At least 3 different surfaces

Files: Please use "transportation project.ftm and project surface.docx for this activity

Quadratic Equation
Video Game Production Designer - Shaun McCabe

Shaun, a video game producer for Insomniac Games, talks about how math is used in the video game industry and his experience with math in high school.

---- Related Activity: Using Gym Memberships to Understand Systems----

Synopsis - This activity is designed to apply system of equations to the real-world situation of gym memberships. The students will conduct their own reasearch and use Fathom to analyze and interpret the graphs associated with purchasing a gym membership. 

Materials -Fathom, two computers

Notes - Activity works best with groups of 3-4. Roles include: 1) two students to research gym rates 2) student to input the data into Fathom and create the tables and graphs, and 3) a team leader to keep the group organized and on task by following actitvity displayed on their computer.