UR Math Professors Receive Grant Support for Work Addressing Social Justice Issues and Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

June 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Joanna Wares, associate professor of mathematics, and Marcella Torres, director of mathematical studies, have received a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South for a project focused on creating mathematics and data science resources to support socially relevant teaching in the time of COVID-19. 

This funding supports a working group with members from the University of Richmond, Rollins College, Trinity University, and Furman University. 

“The gJoanna Wares Headshotoal of our group is to create mathematical modeling and data science activities, lessons, and projects that address social justice issues related to COVID-19,” said Wares. 

“We will develop individual learning modules for courses across the curriculum and combine them for faculty at all ACS institutions to engage their own classes with authentic and socially relevant material,” added Torres.

The group will hold weekly video meetings throughout the summer to collaborate on the development of mathematics and data science curriculum modules with a goal completion date of Aug. 1.

Joanna Wares has taught at UR since 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation from the University of Maryland. In the fall, she will be teaching a course on Computational Modeling in Public Health. Her scholarship interests include modeling interventions to reduce infectious disease transmission as well as intertwining social justice issues with mathematics. 

Marcella Torres HeadshotMarcella Torres is Director of Mathematical Studies, co-Coordinator of the URISE program, and serves as mathematics faculty for the SMART program at the University of Richmond. She received her Ph.D. in Systems Modeling and Analysis from Virginia Commonwealth University. This summer, she will be leading incoming SMART students through workshops that apply mathematical tools to the study of racial disparities, criminal justice, and public health outcomes. Her research focuses on mathematical modeling of human biological systems and applying statistical methods to connect these models to data.


The Associated Colleges of the South is a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges in the southern United States. It was formed in 1991. Its mission is to champion and enhance residential liberal arts education through collaborative projects among its member institutions.