Publication Title

Math Horizons

Document Type


Department or Program


Publication Date



Every year waves of illnesses sweep through college campuses. This seems a natural result of sleep-deprived college students living, working, and playing together. Such outbreaks suggest questions: How many people will become infected? How can illnesses be contained? And crucially: How is mathematics involved? Mathematical epidemiology is the study of modeling diseases, often using compartmental models. We can use such models to learn from past outbreaks and investigate theoretical future outbreaks. In this article we present models that were inspired by two real-life outbreaks at a small residential college campus: H1N1 influenza in 2009 and, surprisingly, mumps in 2016.


Original version is available from the publisher at:

Copyright Note

This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Bates College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

Required Publisher's Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Math Horizons on Jan 2018, available online: