Math Faculty attends CMBS workshop

Over the week of June 4th to June 8th, Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson participated in the CMBS Regional Conference on Applications of Polynomial Systems at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. During the week, participants attended 10 lectures given by David A. Cox, an expert in algebraic geometry.  Additional lectures were given on specific topics during the conference, including elimination theory, numerical algebraic geometry, geometric rigidity theory, and chemical reaction networks.

Dr. Phillipson also participated in the poster session, presenting a poster on her paper “Gröbner Bases of Neural Ideals.”  Pictures of the conference are included below.


Math Faculty has research paper published

Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson recently had a paper published in the International Journal of Algebra and Computation entitled “Gröbner Bases of Neural Ideals” with coauthors Rebecca Garcia, Luis David García Puente, Ryan Kruse, Jessica Liu, Dane Miyata, Ethan Petersen, and Anne Shiu. This paper was the result of research done with undergraduates over two REU programs: the PURE Math Program in Hilo, Hawaii and the Texas A&M Math REU Program in College Station, Texas. Dr. Phillipson was a mentor for both REU programs.

Math majors, faculty attend, present research, win award at MAA Texas Section Meeting

Drs. Jason Callahan, Kaitlyn Phillipson, and Michael Saclolo accompanied math majors Omar Dominguez, Ayesha Gonzales, Amira Mahler, Ivan Mota, Maria Mota, Adrian Silva, and Sydney Zucker to the 98th Annual Meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at El Centro College in Dallas. Amira and Maria each presented research they conducted with Dr. Callahan, and Sydney presented research she conducted with Dr. Saclolo.

Dr. Callahan also presented research he conducted with collaborators at James Madison University last summer thanks to continuation funding from the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) Research Experiences for Undergraduate Faculty (REUF) program and received the Ron Barnes Distinguished Service to Students Award, previously won by Drs. Cindy Naples and Jean McKemie.

Congratulations to all our majors and faculty who took advantage of this opportunity to attend a math conference and present their research!

Math majors, alum accepted to grad & research programs

Math alum Sharon Freshour ’16 will begin the Human and Statistical Genetics Ph.D. Program at Washington University in St. Louis this fall where she’ll receive full tuition and a generous stipend. She was also accepted to Ph.D. programs with similar offers at UT Southwestern and Baylor College of Medicine.

Math major Antoine Chamoun-Farah, a 3+2 Math/Engineering student, was awarded the 2018 Harold P. Brown Engineering Fellowship. The Brown Fellowship provides full tuition at Washington University in St. Louis for two years of engineering study as part of the dual degree program.

Math major Andy Barnes ’18 was accepted into the Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Data Analytics (MASDA) degree program at Southern Methodist University.

Math major Ayesha Gonzales was accepted into two Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs in physics and will be at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) this summer.

Math alum Gilbert Rivera ’17 also began a Master of Science Program in Physics at California State University, Los Angeles this past spring.

Putnam results

Amira Mahler became the third SEU student in the past decade to earn a positive score on the Putnam exam. There are thousands of math majors nationwide who score 0 points every year due to the hyper-strict grading scale, so any positive score is a noteworthy accomplishment. Congratulations!

Problems and solutions from 2017 and past exams are available at

Official results and press release are at

Math major, faculty attend Geometry of Redistricting Workshop at UT-Austin

Math major Omar Dominguez and faculty Drs. Jason Callahan, Kaitlyn Phillipson, and Michael Saclolo attended the Geometry of Redistricting Workshop at The University of Texas-Austin February 3-4.

This was a regional workshop of the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, a Boston-based team of mathematicians launched by Dr. Moon Duchin of Tufts University, whose mission is to study applications of geometry and computing to U.S. redistricting under the belief that gerrymandering of all kinds is a fundamental threat to our democracy.

In our MATH 4157 (Research) seminar on February 9, Omar, under the mentorship of Dr. Callahan, then presented a recent paper entitled “A Formula Goes to Court: Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap” by Dr. Duchin on the efficiency gap as a measure that has successfully been used in court to show gerrymandering in Wisconsin and is now headed to the Supreme Court.

Omar plans to continue research on this topic with Dr. Callahan over the next two years, and Dr. Duchin is now helping redraw gerrymandered voting districts in Pennsylvania, making this a timely and important research topic.

Math majors earn travel grants to present at Joint Mathematics Meetings

Math majors Maria Mota, Amira Mahler, and Stephanie Thrash earned Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Student Travel Grants to present their research at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) Student Poster Session in San Diego on January 12, 2018. JMM is the largest mathematics meeting in the world. Maria and Amira conducted their research with Dr. Jason Callahan, and Stephanie conducted her research with Dr. Mitch Phillipson. All three were partially supported Dr. M. Jean McKemie Endowed Student/Faculty Fund for Innovative Mathematics Summer Scholarships and NSF grant #1525490. Dr. Michael Saclolo also presented at JMM in the MAA Session on Mathematical Themes in a First-Year Seminar on January 11.

Recording-breaking 12 SEU students participate in Putnam Competition

On December 2, organized by Dr. Edward Early with the help of Dr. Matthew Shirley, Monica Cicciarelli, and Sarah Reyna, a record-breaking twelve SEU students participated in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduate college students in the United States and Canada:

Grace Akomezogho
Jacob Belmares
Elias Bocanegra
Antoine Chamoun-Farah
Brianna Collins
Omar Dominguez
Sarah Goldrup
Ayesha Gonzales
Amira Mahler
Agnes Mirando
Ivan Mota
Skyler Young

The Putnam Competition occurs annually on the first Saturday of December. The competition consists of two three-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During each session, participants work individually on six challenging mathematical problems.

The Putnam began in 1938 as a competition between mathematics departments at colleges and universities but has since grown to be the leading university-level mathematics examination in the world. Although participants work independently on the problems, there is a team aspect as well. Prizes are awarded to participants who score the highest and to the departments whose teams rank highest. Congratulations to all our students who participated, and thanks to Dr. Early for organizing it!