Four Southwestern Students Presenting at National Math Meeting
Students will share research on mapping the infection rate of measles, Fibonacci numbers and more
Four students from Southwestern will be giving presentations at the world’s largest summer gathering of mathematicians.
The conference, which is called MathFest, is sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America and is being held in Portland, Ore., Aug. 6-9.
Students Danielle King and Charles Payne are going to the conference to present research they did over the summer with Therese Shelton, associate professor of mathematics. King and Payne worked with Shelton as part of the SCOPE faculty-student research program. Their research project involved mapping the infection rate and spread of the measles virus.
King and Payne will give a joint talk titled “The Measles are Coming! The Measles are Coming!” as part of the MAA Student Session.
Senior Heather Gronewald was selected to present a paper at a session that is generally reserved for faculty presenters. Her paper, titled “A Student’s Perspective on Undergraduate Research,” will be part of a session on “Undergraduate Research in Mathematics: How, When, Why.” Gronewald will discuss her experiences with a classroom-based semester of applied modeling she did under Shelton, her participation in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, and her participation in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Gronewald spent nine weeks this summer participating in an REU program at Winthrop University that focused on mathematical biology. Participants in the program developed cancer models and learned how math can be applied to phylogenetics, which is the science of understanding relationships among different species.
Gronewald also will discuss her summer REU experience at a student paper session sponsored by Pi Mu Epsilon, the national math honor society. At the same session, senior Robert Lehr will give a talk based on research he did in Spring 2014 under the direction of President Edward Burger, who also is a professor of mathematics. Their research looked at specific properties of the Fibonacci sequence, and they recognized an interesting pattern when applying a known theorem to the sequence. Their work established this pattern in an explicit algorithm. Lehr’s paper is titled “An Irrational Decomposition of Generalized Fibonacci Numbers.”
Shelton will be presenting a paper at the conference titled “Ensuring Engagement in Math Research,” which is based on her many years of supervising undergraduate research.