CLAS mathematics faculty member creates Iowa City Math Club

Associate professor Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani explains why he created the Iowa City Math Club for youth in the area.
Tuesday, September 5, 2023

By Charlotte Brookins 

In the fall of 2020, Department of Mathematics associate professor Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani created the Iowa City Math Club, a regularly meeting organization with the goal of helping Iowa City-area middle and high school students improve their math skills and take a greater part in their community.  

Portrait of Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani
Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani

Three years later, Tehrani was nominated the 2023 CLAS Outreach and Engagement Award for his work on the project.  

“We intended to start the club in the Iowa City Public Library, where students could learn some math, talk to each other, and even eventually participate in math competitions,” says Tehrani. “But then COVID disrupted everything, and I decided to start it over Zoom instead.” 

During the height of the pandemic, the club held 90-minute online meetings every Sunday. However, as the community began to reopen in the fall of 2021, the Iowa City Math Club returned in-person and masked to the library, where students from as far away as Cedar Rapids met every two weeks for two hours. 

In the meetings, Tehrani would instruct the sixth- through tenth-grade students on various subdivisions of mathematics, walking them through problems according to experience and skill level. Through instruction and collaboration, club members would build on subjects they were struggling with and hone the skills they already had as well as learn new material to challenge and improve their abilities. 

In its three years, the Iowa City Math Club has had a major impact on students and families from all across the Iowa City area. Not only has it aided community youth in mathematical endeavors, but it also provides volunteer opportunities for older high school students and connects its members with math competitions to test their skills. 

“Some students previously in the club are helping to run it now,” says Tehrani. “And one of our students recently advanced to the final stage of the International Mathematic Olympiad, which is the most prestigious math competition in the country.” 

The Iowa City Math Club was funded by multiple grants awarded by the university, such as one from the National Science Foundation. As a result of this financial support, Tehrani is able to keep the Iowa City Math Club running and continue supplying Iowa City-area students with valuable learning opportunities. 

Tehrani’s dedication to community service and his determination to provide a safe and inclusive learning space for students are abundantly clear in the work he puts into the Iowa City Math Club. 

For more information on the Iowa City Math Club and how to join, check out their website or contact Tehrani directly at to be added to the mailing list.

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.