Moorpark College Math Center: A Campus Resource with a Dedicated Leader

photo of Professor David Mayorga

In 2014, Professor David Mayorga was hired as full-time faculty of the Moorpark College Math Center. Prior to this assignment, Mayorga, an Oxnard native and graduate of Ventura College and California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI), worked in multiple capacities using his mathematics abilities to serve students. Today, he actively leads the Math Center expanding its reach while aiming to exist as a resource for all students.

Mayorga developed an interest in math early in his childhood watching game shows and participating in various math competitions. "I found concepts like probability and optimization particularly interesting. I enjoyed the challenge of solving a set of math problems within a time limit both as an individual and as a team," Mayorga notes. He competed in the national Putnam Exam in 2004 and 2005 while an undergraduate at CSUCI and placed in the top 33 percent of all competitors both years. Accrediting his success in mathematics to his heightened interest and hard work, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from CSUCI.

At Ventura College, Mayorga served as a peer tutor, where he discovered his desire to have a career at the community college level. Working toward his goals, he served as co-director of the Learning Center at CSUCI while studying for his master’s. In August 2012, following graduate school, Mayorga started his career at Moorpark College. In May 2013, he was recognized as the Academic Senate Part-Time Faculty of the Year.

Now, in the third year of his tenure as a full-time faculty, Mayorga’s knowledge and experience leads the operational success of the Math Center. "Students are driven by tutors," Mayorga states. The Math Center provides drop-in tutoring for mathematics and science (biology, chemistry, and physics), as well as for economics and accounting. It also serves as a site for students to hold workshops and study sessions accessible to tutoring help.

By trade the center serves as a math and science center, but by function it is more similar to a STEM center. "Budgets rule the day," said Mayorga – a lesson he learned as a result of his administrative faculty duties. "It is essential to be creative and use available resources to benefit students," he added. To expand to a STEM center, institutional support and a committed budget are required; creative expansionary measures are already underway, however.

As an example, each year the Summer Bridge program, taught by faculty and facilitated by the math center and department, welcomes 300 students -- recent high school graduates, continuing education students, and returning adult learners -- to participate in a two-day program designed to prepare students for the upcoming semester’s curriculum in Algebra. The program was established without secured funding and solely intended to act as a resource to ensure students are prepared to succeed; acknowledging the necessity to serve students first (which is a practice Mayorga takes heed to when assessing the future of the center).

Nevertheless, Mayorga also looks to support programs such as Guided Path to Success (GPS), led by Student Success Services (3SP) Supervisor, Jesus Vega. GPS serves as an exemplary program designed to meet students’ needs. The program takes in first-time college students, providing comprehensive support to give students a network to succeed. The Basic Skills and Student Outcome Transformation (BSSOT) project is a new grant-funded project of the Math Department. Through this project, we work with Career and Technical Education (CTE) faculty to contextualize mathematics and apply math practices and theories to practical applications used in CTE courses.

Mayorga is a dedicated faculty leader. Student learning and success are priorities driving the Math Center as it is experiencing growth from multi-dimensional perspectives. Despite mathematics being widely perceived as a difficult subject with small margins for success, at Moorpark College the expanding services and welcoming faculty and staff available in the Math Center are emerging as crucial resources that help students make strides along their educational journey.