Three Westminster College Mathematics Majors Present Research at Annual MathFest

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Three Westminster College junior mathematics majors and their adviser attended the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) MathFest celebration  Aug. 2-4 in Madison, Wis.

Greg Clark presented "Famous Sequences and Euclidean Algorithm Step Sizes." The Euclidean Algorithm can be used to determine the greatest common divisor of two numbers and is accomplished in a certain number of steps. Clark's research was based on proving that the Fibonacci numbers and Lucas numbers (two famous math sequences) require the most steps using the algorithm.

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

Dr. Natacha Fontes-Merz was Clark's adviser. She has been with Westminster since 2004, and earned an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and a master's and Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Brandon Mosley presented "Pebbling a New Type of Graph." Graph pebbling is a game on graphs that comes from a problem in Number Theory to determine the lowest number of pebbles so that a person is guaranteed to be able to win the game. Mosley's research was to conjecture and prove a formula for the pebbling number of the graph and then generalize to other related graphs.

Mosley is a son of Carla Stamper of Youngstown, Ohio, and a graduate of East High School.

Emily Walther presented "Variations of Lollipops and Their Pebbling Numbers." Her research focused on understanding the fundamental concepts of pebbling and the pebbling numbers of common graphs such as paths, complete graphs and cycles. The pebbling number of an even cycle lollipop was determined, and she explored the pebbling number of an odd cycle lollipop and other generalizations of the even cycle.

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

Mosley and Walther were supervised by three Westminster mathematics faculty members: James Anthony, visiting lecturer, Dr. Jeffrey Boerner, assistant professor, and Fontes-Merz.

Anthony, who has been with Westminster since 2009, earned an undergraduate degree  from Lock Haven University and a master's from Pennsylvania State University.

Boerner attended the MAA Section Officer's meeting at the conference. He has been with Westminster since 2010.  He earned an undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College and master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

In addition to student presentations, the conference featured guest lecturers from Brown University, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkeley. There were also six mini courses covering topics ranging from mathematics for business decisions to mathemagic with a deck of cards, and booths with information from the Association for Women in Mathematics, Mathematical Sciences Publishers, and the American Mathematical Society.

Contact Boerner at (724) 946-6023 or email for more information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.


Click image to enlarge.
Westminster assistant professor and mathematics majors at MathFest: (l-r) Jeff Boerner, Greg Clark, Emily Walther, Brandon Mosley