Pi Day Celebration

Happy Pi Day!

Today is 3/14, also known as Pi(=3.14…) Day.  The Math Department celebrated this momentous day early this year on March 7th, referred to as “Poorly Approximated Pi Day.”

Students and Faculty enjoyed 4 pi(e)s  (made by Dr. Mitch and Dr. Phillipson) and ice cream. Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson also led an activity on constructing modular origami.  Several dedicated students stayed well into the evening to work together to assemble an icosahedron. Here is a link to a photo album.

Thank you to Math Club and Dr. Mitch for organizing and advertising the event.  

Math faculty have papers published

Drs. Jason Callahan and Carol Gee recently had a co-authored paper entitled “Aesthetics in a Mathematics for Liberal Arts Project” published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (Volume 7, Issue 1, pages 139-146, January 2017).

Last year Dr. Callahan also had a paper entitled “Assessing Online Homework in First-Semester Calculus” published in PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (Volume 26, Issue 6: Special Issue on Teaching with Technology, pages 545-556, 2016).

Congratulations to Drs. Callahan and Gee!

Math major, faculty present at largest conference in the world

Math major Stephanie Thrash earned a Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Student Travel Grant to give a presentation entitled, “Mathematical Analysis of Lottery Voting,” at the 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) of the MAA and American Mathematical Society (AMS), the largest math conference in the world, held January 4-7 in Atlanta, GA.

Also at the 2017 JMM, Dr. Carol Gee gave presentation entitled, “Cut-Apart Proofs: a hands-on activity in varied contexts” while Dr. Jason Callahan gave two presentations entitled, “Analysis of a Coupled, n-Patch Population Model with Ceiling Density Dependence” and “Chutes, Ladders, and Markov Chains” based on research he conducted with math alum Harris Greenwood. In addition, Dr. Callahan served on the MAA Panel “Research Support Networks,” co-organized the AMS Special Session “ApREUF: Applied Research Experience for Undergraduate Faculty,” and staffed the Exhibit Hall booth for the AMS Mathematical Research Communities, for which he also served in a focus group. Congratulations to Stephanie and Drs. Gee and Callahan for presenting and serving at the largest math conference in the world!

Math majors attend, present at national conferences

Math major Crisel Suarez presented at a national McNair Scholars Research Conference at Florida International University, October 19-21, 2016. Her presentation, “Online SPARC Visualization: Drawing and Animating with Answer Set Programs,” was based on research she conducted in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program on Declarative Programming and Its Applications sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at Texas Tech University from June 5 to August 13, 2016.


Crisel and fellow math major Stephanie Thrash also attended the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences Field of Dreams Conference in St. Louis, MO, November 4-6, 2016; both were nominated by Alliance Mentor Dr. Jason Callahan. Congratulations to both Crisel and Stephanie for taking advantage of opportunities to attend and present at national conferences!


TUMC Trip 2016

Dr. Mitch Phillipson and Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson brought 12 students to the Texas Undergraduate Math Conference (TUMC) at Lamar University in Beaumont October 7-8, a new St. Edward’s record!  The students attended a variety of undergraduate research talks as well as two plenary talks.  Of the 12 students, four presented on their research:

  • Crisel Suarez – Winning Strategies at TETRIS (as part of her research with Dr. Jason Callahan)
  • Stephanie Thrash – Mathematical Analysis of Voting (as part of her REU project at Grand Valley State)
  • Maria Mota – Combinatorics in Candy Crush (as part of her summer research with Dr. Jason Callahan)
  • Amira Mahler – American Roulette: How Long Can you Play? (as part of her summer research with Dr. Jason Callahan)

The remaining 8 students were:

  • Valeria Gonzalez
  • Jacob Belmares
  • Sarah Goldrup
  • Bianca “B” Salinas
  • Joshua Saldivar
  • Ayesha Gonzalez
  • Daniel Sanchez
  • Adrian Silva

Congratulations to all students and faculty who attended, we’ve set a high bar that will be hard to pass next year.

Here is a link to all the pictures from the conference: Link



Math Club officers for 2016-17

Congratulations to our Math Club officers for 2016-17:

President: Crisel Suarez
Vice President: Stephanie Thrash
Secretary: Antoine Chamoun-Farah
Social Chair: Valeria Gonzalez
Treasurer: Bianca “B” Salinas

Please thank them for their willingness to lead our Math Club, whose faculty sponsor and advisor is Dr. Jason Callahan. Anyone may join our Math Club on CollegiateLink to receive announcements of future meetings, events, and opportunities, and any member may suggest an activity or event — just contact one of the officers or send a message on CollegiateLink.

Math student talks featured on CUR’s Undergraduate Research Week website

On November 16, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives declared the week of April 11, 2011, “Undergraduate Research Week.” Each year since then, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has designated a week in April as “Undergraduate Research Week.”  This year Undergraduate Research Week was celebrated the week of April 11, during which math majors Crisel Suarez, Valeria Gonzalez, Toni Galvan, and Trenton Barnett presented research conducted with Drs. Jason Callahan, Edward Early, and Michael Saclolo respectively. These talks were featured on CUR’s Undergraduate Research Week website.

Math alum, prof have research together published

Dr. Jason Callahan and Harris Greenwood, a mathematics major who graduated in 2014, have just had a paper, Markov Chains to Compute Expected Game Lengths of “Chutes and Ladders,” on research they conducted together while Harris was a student published by the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal (Spring 2016, Volume 14, Number 4, pages 243-250). Using Markov chains, they prove a conjecture that on any “Chutes and Ladders” board with n squares, uniformly distributed spinners of range n-1 and n always yield equal expected game lengths. They then show that non-uniformly distributed spinners can yield shorter games than uniformly distributed spinners but can also lead to seemingly paradoxical results when the related Markov chain is not absorbing. Their research was supported by the Brother Romard Barthel, CSC, ’47 Student/Faculty Summer Research Fund Wilems Fellowship in 2013 and the Dr. M. Jean McKemie and Suzanne Mason Endowed Student/Faculty Fund for Innovative Mathematics Summer Scholarship in 2014. They presented their research at the 2013 and 2015 Texas Section Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the 2013 Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings, and the 2014 MAA MathFest. Harris now plans to pursue graduate study in mathematics.

Math major, prof accepted to summer research programs

Math major Crisel Suarez will participate in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program on Declarative Programming and Its Applications sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock from June 5 to August 13, 2016, where she will learn the state of the art of declarative programming to tackle challenging research problems in areas of great societal impact including Cybersecurity, Energy, Healthcare, and Space Exploration. Congratulations to Crisel on this honor and opportunity!

Meanwhile, Dr. Jason Callahan earned full funding from the NSF and American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) to attend the Research Experiences for Undergraduate Faculty (REUF) Workshop on the Mathematics of Data in the Topological Data Analysis (TDA) research group at Information Initiative at Duke University July 18-22, 2016, and will also attend the NSF-CBMS Regional Conference on Topological Data Analysis at The University of Texas at Austin May 31-June 4, 2016. He is excited to learn this new field of research and share it with students at St. Edward’s University!