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Community Connections: News and Notes from the Director of Residence Life.

Summer of Research for Hood Students

Both Megan Rodriguez and Brian Penko, senior Math majors, participated in the Hood Summer Research Institute, working with Dr. Whieldon on a project on Buchberger graphs of monomial ideals in three variables. Their work focused on connecting the structure of the monomial ideals with three-dimensional “staircases” of a certain type, connecting the combinatorics of these staircase diagrams with algebraic properties of the monomial rings. Their work was successful enough that they were accepted to the Young Mathematicians Conference at Ohio State (a selective and prestigious undergraduate conference). Megan represented the pair at this conference during the last weekend before classes started, and gave a poster presentation to show off their work. As a bonus visual aid, Megan also designed a 3D printed version of one of the staircases that she and Brian studied over the summer. The two of them plan on extending some of this work, and are preparing a research paper for submission to a journal some time this Fall. They also hope to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio this upcoming January to present their research again!

Tarang Hirani, senior Computational Science major, reports: Over the summer at NIST, I developed a web/software application for their BIRDS (Building Industry Reporting and Design for Sustainability) program. The BIRDS Residential database includes energy, environmental, and cost measurements for residential buildings in 229 cities across all U.S for 40 study periods.

From Alisha Dunkle, a senior Early Childhood Education major/Mathematics Education minor: This summer, I worked at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, on a statistics education research project with four other students from different parts of the country. We researched the nature and extent of the statistics content in five different elementary textbook series. This was an incredible experience for me because I made new friends, learned about statistics education, and got to research a topic that does not yet have a large base of research behind it.

Good News from Alums

Abigail Brackins ’08 earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Nebraska in August. In her dissertation, “Boundary Value Problems of Nabla Fractional Difference Equations,” she gives “special thanks to my undergraduate professors at Hood College for helping me find direction and purpose. I will always aspire to my alma mater’s excellent quality of teaching and mentorship.” Thanks, Abby, and congratulations!

Dan Rocker ’11 has a new job with Hewlett Packard in Alpharetta, Georgia. He is currently in a one-year training program in Enterprise Servers, Storage, and Networking to become a Solution Architect. After 9 months, he will be relocated somewhere in the U.S. for a 3-month field shadow before going out on his own.

And Skyler Stasiewicz, who just graduated in May ’14, has a new job in Baltimore as a Pricing Analyst with Millennial Media. He will work in a fancy office near the waterfront, starting on Sep. 8. He credits his Hood summer research project and his knowledge of SQL, Excel, and relational databases with helping him get a job. His advice to current students is to teach yourself a little SQL, and take the Probability and Statistics class.

Math Department Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our two new faculty members this year, Dr. Jill Tysse and Dr. Reshmi Nair.

Dr. Tysse earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia in 2008, after completing a Master of Science degree in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science at the University of Oxford in England and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at University College, Cork, Ireland. She has ongoing research interests inapplications of grouptheory. Dr. Tysse was also an Assistant Professor in our department during the 2008-2010 academic years, so we are happy to welcome her back!

Dr. Nair received her Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Wyoming, after completing Bachelor and Master of Science degrees at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India. Her mathematical research interests are in combinatorics, graph theory, matrix theory, linear algebra and discrete mathematics. Before joining Hood College she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Mathematics Teacher Leadership Center at the University of Northern Colorado. Her mathematics education research interests are in pedagogical content knowledge; mathematical content knowledge for teacher development; distance teaching in mathematics; research in undergraduate mathematics education; teacher leader development; perceptions and beliefs of teachers; and intercultural awareness.

Math Modeling Challenge

The sixth annual Cumberland Valley Math Modeling Challenge (CVMMC) will take place at Shippensburg University on Sep. 27 and 28. Hood has sent teams every year but one, and we won the inaugural contest in 2009. Each year, teams arrive with sleeping bags and laptops on a Saturday afternoon and work through the night on a mathematical modeling challenge. Here are two example modeling problems from previous years: one problem asked teams to design a strategy for Pennsylvania to respond to possible changes in the Electoral College; another problem asked students to model the long-term effects of urban and suburban development of agricultural land.

Each team competing writes a one-page executive summary of their model’s conclusions and prepares a ten-minute Power-Point presentation on what its members figured out in their busy night. The panel of judges, which includes everyone from mathematicians to English professors, ranks teams' written reports and oral presentations, and finally the entire group of competitors picks the winners.

If you are interested in competing this year, tell Dr. Parson that you want to come along. The modeling will be fun, and you will enjoy meeting students from around the region. For further information, see the CVMMC web site at http://webspace.ship.edu/bjgalluzzo/. If you are busy in September, but you are still interested in participating in a mathematical modeling competition, keep the annual COMAP contest (Feb. 2015) in mind.

Important Dates

  • CVMMC: Sep. 27-28
  • Va. Tech Regional Math Contest (at Hood): Oct. 25, 9- 11:30 a.m.
  • MAA Section Meeting, Bowie State University: Nov. 7- 8
  • Hood Annual Mathematics Education Lecture by Dr. Tricia Strickland: Nov.18
  • Math Tea! Every Monday afternoon at 3:00, Hodson 2nd-floor Bonus room, near Room 250. Fun, food, games... and tea. All are invited!
  • Look for news of special seminars and talks throughout the semester. Stay tuned for more info.
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Hood College Department of Mathematics
401 Rosemont Ave.
Frederick, Maryland 21701
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