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Westminster College Mathematics Students and Faculty Attended Mathematics Conferences

Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Two Westminster College mathematics students and six faculty attended the annual joint meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Jan. 15-18 in Baltimore, Md.

The conference is the largest annual mathematics meeting in the world. The program allows attendees opportunities to engage with fellow mathematicians and learn about innovative research, and attend and/or present at mini courses, panel sessions, workshops, paper sessions, posters, exhibits, and more.

Those in attendance included mathematics majors Gregory Clark and recent graduate Emily Walther, as well as mathematics faculty Dr. Carolyn Cuff, professor; Dr. Natacha Fontes-Merz, associate professor; Dr. David Offner, assistant professor; Dr. Pamela Richardson, associate professor, Dr. John Bonomo, associate professor; and Dr. Barbara Faires, faculty emerita.

Clark presented "An Algebraic Approach to Tile Invariants" at the MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Research in Algebra and Topology.  Clark's presentation was based on his research conducted during the summer of 2013 as part of the Willamette Valley Research Experience for Undergraduates.  

Clark, a senior, is a son of Jeffrey and Shari Clark of Cranberry Township and a graduate of Seneca Valley High School.

Walther presented "Prime Factorization of Kaszonyi Numbers" during the MAA General Contributed Paper Session on Research in Graph Theory and Combinatorics. The presentation was based on research that Walther completed while attending the Indiana University Bloomington Research Experience for Undergraduates in the summer of 2013.

Walther is a daughter of Jeff and Brenda Walther of Washington and a graduate of Trinity High School.

Cuff was invited to lead a four-hour mini course titled "Teaching Introductory Statistics."  Designed for instructors who are new to teaching introductory statistics, this workshop exposed the participants to statistical concepts, assessment techniques, and classroom materials. 

Cuff also attended an officers meeting as an appointed member of the MAA's Committee for SIGMAAs, a committee charged with overseeing the special interest groups within the MAA. She also attended a session on redesigning the undergraduate mathematics curriculum.

Fontes-Merz presented "More Results on Harmoniously Critical Graphs," which reviewed joint research she completed with James Anthony, Westminster College lecturer of mathematics, and Dr. Jeffrey Boerner, University of Wisconsin-Stout assistant professor of mathematics, and former professor at Westminster.

Fontes-Merz also attended a meeting for new MAA committee chairs. Fontes-Merz is this year's chair of the George Polya Awards Committee.  Finally, Fontes-Merz helped to build a sculpture which will be exhibited at the new Modern Museum of Mathematics (MoMath).

Offner gave a research presentation, "Counting Matrices Over a Finite Field With All Eigenvalues in the Field," in an MAA session on graph theory and combinatorics.  In this talk, Offner presented research that he conducted jointly with recent graduate Lisa Kaylor. She is a daughter of Karen Kaylor of Chicora and the late Terry Kaylor and a graduate of Karns City Area High School.

Richardson organized a day-long Graduate Education Mentoring workshop for female mathematics graduate students.  She also attended meetings and performed duties as a member of the MAA's Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters.  In particular,  Richardson helped to run the MAA Undergraduate Student Poster Session, an event that included approximately 450 undergraduate research participants.

Faires prepared scripts, agendas, and citations for many sessions of the Joint Meetings and ran meetings of various MAA groups in her role as MAA secretary.

Contact Offner at 724-946-7293 or email for additional information. 

Emily Walther and Gregory Clark at the joint AMS/MAA meeting.