PROGRAMMING CONTESTS: Students participate in Local and Regional Programming contests throughout the year. In each contest a team of between 3 and 4 students is given a set of problems to solve in a set period of time (typically 4 or 5 hours). Teams submit their solutions electronically to a panel of judges which then test them with special input data unseen by the teams. Teams are given back a basic Yes/No answer from the judges, a No meaning that something is wrong in the solution (exactly what is wrong is not specified--that is for the team to determine). Team standings are based on the speed with which they solve each problem along with a penalty for the number of No answers they got from the judges.
Local contests pit teams from Western PA and Eastern and Central Ohio. The larger Regional contest, held in November each year, hosts between 120-130 teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Ontario. As part of the global International Collegiate Programming Contest (http://icpc.baylor.edu/icpc/) the top three teams from our region move on to the World Finals, held each Spring. Westminster's best showing to date in our Regional Contest has been a very respectable 15th place out of 130 teams in 2004. Two teams also placed in the top 30 in 2001 (19th and 29th), and one team placed 24th in 2006.
MATHEMATICAL CONTEST IN MODELING: In this international competition, teams of three students spend a weekend analyzing and proposing a solution to a real life problem. Multiple Westminster teams compete annually and regularly receive the Meritorious Award. These students work hard--researching the problem, modeling different solutions, and writing a formal paper summarizing their work and proposed solution--and have a lot of fun. Dr. David Offner works with teams to prepare for this competition.
PUTNAM EXAM: This is a prestigious national mathematics exam given at Westminster the first Saturday in December. Prior to the exam, Dr. Natacha Fontes-Merz runs problem sessions to prepare students for the exam.
INTERNSHIPS: Work opportunities as well as course credit are available both on and off campus. In recent years students have had internships at the National Energy Technology (Dept. of Energy); Lucas Systems Inc.; Applied Physics Laboratory (division of Johns Hopkins University); Bright Futures Academic Corp.; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and Caputo Insurance Agency. Students have also participated in Research Experience for Undergraduates programs (REU) at the University of Michigan, Texas A&M University, and Kansas State University. In addition, Dr. Shaffer works with student lab assistants for the UNIX Lab and for the CS 151 Lab.
PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES OFF CAMPUS: Students accompany faculty to talks by other outstanding professionals in the field, as well as to professional meetings where students often give talks on their projects. These meetings include the Mathematical Association of America Section Meeting each spring, as well as Undergraduate Conferences in the fall and spring. Recently, our department was represented by students who spoke at the National MAA meetings held in New Orleans and Lexington, KY during 2011, and in San Francisco and Pittsburgh during 2010. One student spoke at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics in 2012. Two students spoke at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ogden, UT in 2012.
TUTORING and LEARNING CENTER VOLUNTEERS: Westminster Mathematics & Computer Science students staff drop-in tutoring in the Mathematics & Computer Science Seminar Room, as well as volunteer at the Campus Learning Center to provide more structured assistance in Mathematics & Computer Science courses.
KAPPA MU EPSILON Mathematics Honor Society: Members organize social, as well as learning opportunities; these include mathematical games, ice cream social, fall pizza party, treats during exams, and a spring dinner for all majors in the Department. Dr. Pamela Richardson is the advisor.
ACTUARIAL and GRADUATE RECORD EXAMS: Faculty meet with students to prepare for these exams.
GEEK WEEK: Each year, the Mathematics and Computer Science Department is represented by several teams of four or five students during the college's annual Geek Week of competitions and spoofs. Teams include first-year students through seniors; all departments in Hoyt Science Resources Center participate for bragging rights among the sciences.