Math alumni start graduate programs this fall

This fall, math alum Harris Greenwood ’14 will begin a master’s program in mathematics at the Laney Graduate School at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and recent math graduate Crisel Suarez ’17, who was also a McNair Scholar, will start the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s to PhD Bridge Program in which she will earn a master’s degree at Fisk University with full funding support followed by fast-track admission to a PhD program at Vanderbilt University with full funding. Congratulations, Harris and Crisel, and best wishes in graduate school this fall!

Purple Comet Results

The solutions for Purple Comet have been released, and with them our scores.  The final results are:

Faculty: 13 Correct

Students: 5 Correct

This semester, the Faculty have won, but not by a huge margin. For a complete breakdown of solutions, I’ve created a spreadsheet.

Math major will be counselor and TA for BEAM this summer

This summer (July 6 to August 2), math major B Salinas will change the lives of talented middle school students from underserved backgrounds as a counselor and teaching assistant (TA) for Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM), a project of the Art of Problem Solving Foundation. See The New York Times’ recent and amazing article about BEAM.

At this residential summer program for mathematically-talented low-income rising 8th graders in Hudson Valley (New York), counselors such as B will live with the students in college campus dorms to create a vibrant social experience for kids who are discovering for the first time that there are other people who like doing mathematics. She’ll also be a TA for classes on topics such as number theory, combinatorics, problem solving, and computer science and serve as a role model and guide for students who are just beginning to set their educational path.

Counselors must take initiative and be strong mathematically, reliable, charismatic, and able to help kids have fun, so this quite an honor for B to be part of this summer program that gives everyone a chance to excel in mathematics. Congratulations, B — we’re very proud of you!

The Phillipsons go to A&M

On April 14th, Dr. Mitch and Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson traveled to Texas A&M to give invited talks.  Dr. Mitch presented at the Algebra & Combinatorics Seminar on his ongoing research “Counting Foldings in RNA.”  Dr. Phillipson presented at the Geometry Seminar on her recently submitted paper “Groebner Bases of Neural Ideals,”  which was work done in collaboration with undergraduates as part of two REU programs (PURE Math Program and the Texas A&M REU).  Both presenters received helpful and constructive feedback to further their research programs.

MAA Texas Section Conference 2017

Dr. Kaitlyn Phillipson and 9 students attended the 97th Annual Meeting of the MAA at Texas A&M-Commerce March 30th-April 2nd.  All nine students participated in the Calculus Bowl on Thursday night, and both teams made it to the final round.  The students attended a variety of undergraduate research talks as well as several invited lectures.  A favorite among many students was the Student Forum: “The Mathematics of Hank in Finding Dory” by Kevin Singleton, Senior Technical Director of Pixar Animation Studios, Inc.

Three students presented on their research:

  • Amira Mahler – American Roulette: How Long Can You Play? (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)
  • Crisel Suarez – North Carolina and Pennsylvania for Boardwalk? Trade Values for Monopoly Real Estate (as part of her summer research with Dr. Michael Kart)

The remaining 6 students were:

  • Jacob Belmares
  • Sarah Dale
  • Sarah Goldrup
  • Valeria Gonzalez
  • Bianca “B” Salinas
  • Adrian Silva

Congratulations to all our students for their performance in the Calculus Bowl!  We look forward to next year’s MAA conference, hosted at El Centro College in Dallas, April 5-7.

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!