Math and Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

October 2019

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura was the inaugural speaker at the newly formed Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Club at Anderson High School in Austin, TX. She shared her experiences and reflections on getting her Ph.D. in mathematics as a Japanese woman and spoke about her research in math and art.

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura , along with coauthors Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College and Marc Frantz of Indiana University, published an article “An (Isometric) Perspective on Homographies” in the Journal for Geometry and Graphics  (vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 65–83).

  • Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 was selected by the American Statistical Association to present “Tingle Therapy: An Analysis of ASMR Users’ Subjective Relief” at StatFest at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston on September 21, 2019. Beckelhymer received a scholarship for travel and lodging. In addition to presenting, Beckelhymer was able to network with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in statistics, as well as interview with recruiters from numerous Ph.D. programs around the country. 

  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards and coauthors Elyssa Sliheet ’19 and Roger Barnard had the article titled “On Sharp Bounds for Ratios of K-Balanced Hypergeometric Functions” accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society ( ; the hard-copy publication will appear in 2020).

September 2019

  • Computational mathematics and psychology major Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 and computer science major Sara Boyd ’20 recently attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in San Diego, CA. Each received full scholarships, from IBM and Two Sigma respectively, to support their attendance in recognition of their accomplishments in computer science. Along with meeting Dr. Richard Tapia, they got to interact with numerous undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities, exploring career and graduate-school opportunities.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper titled ““Maximizing the Number of Rides Served for Dial-a-Ride” at ATMOS 2019, the Symposium on Algorithmic Approaches for Transportation Modeling, Optimization, and Systems, in Munich, Germany, as part of ALGO 2019, the major European event for researchers, students, and practitioners of algorithms. The paper, which will be published in the Dagstuhl Open Access Series in Informatics, has as coauthors Sara Boyd ’20; Christine Chung from Connecticut College and her students Ricky Birnbaum, Patrick Davis, and Jigar Dhimar; Ananya Christman from Middlebury College; and David Yuen.

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Conference on Games in London, U.K., to present the paper “Desirable Behaviors for Companion Bots in First-Person Shooters,” coauthored with Adina Friedman ’19. Friedman started this research as part of her 2018 SCOPE experience. The full paper has been published in the conference proceedings.

August 2019

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross published an article titled “On the Existence of a Closed, Embedded, Rotational Lambda-Hypersurface” in the Journal of Geometry.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the National Science Foundation–supported Center for Parallel and Distributed Computing Curriculum Development and Educational Resources. The Center helps faculty incorporate parallel and distributed computing into courses for students in their first two years of undergraduate study. As part of the grant, she spent a week with faculty members from around the country at the University of Maryland, College Park, receiving training on parallel and distributed computing content and educational evaluation methodology.

  • The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), held this year in Cincinnati, OH, July 31–August 3, 2019.

    • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr and Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 led an activity titled “Domino Antimagic Squares” in the MAA Workshop Create and Recreate: A Celebration of Women in Recreational Mathematics.
    • Marr copresented “Beyond Leaky Pipes: Fostering Pathways and Persistence in the Mathematical Sciences” with Joel Kilty and Alex M. McAllister, of Centre College, and Ranthony A.C. Edmonds, of Ohio State University, in the session “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Mathematics,” which they also coorganized.
    • Beckelhymer participated in the Mentoring Workshop for Women.
    • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura organized and led a minicourse, “Visualizing Projective Geometry through Photographs and Perspective Drawings,” with her collaborator Annalisa Crannell, of Franklin & Marshall College. This was the sixth offering of the highly successful national expert class, sponsored by the MAA special-interest group on Mathematics and the Arts.
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “DE and Social Justice: A Cholera Model with Bacterial Reservoir,” coauthored by Emma Kathryn Groves ’18 and Associate Professor of Education Sherry Adrian, in the session “Showcase of Modeling to Motivate Differential Equations,” coorganized with Patrice Tiffany and Rosemary Farley, of Manhattan College, Riverside, NY.  Shelton and Tiffany are among the coprincipal investigators on a grant from the National Science Foundation that sponsored the session.
    • Shelton participated in the full-day meeting of the national governing body, the MAA Congress, as the new representative from the Texas Section of the MAA. Shelton was elected as recorder for the MAA Congress (2020–2022), and she participated in the MAA Section Officers Meeting.
    • Shelton coorganized the general contributed poster session with Steven McKay, of Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, as members of the national MAA Committee on Contributed Paper Sessions.

July 2019

  • D’Andre Adams ’21, Daniela Beckelhymer ’20, and Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr had their paper “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory” published in the July edition of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. This research was conducted as part of SCOPE 2017. The article is available here.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton was interviewed for a post of the Mathematical Association of America Blog for work under a grant from the National Science Foundation, NSF Award no. 1724796 under IUSE: EHR 15-585 for 2018–2021. The coprincipal investigators in the grant are Brian Winkel, director of SIMIODE (Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations); R. Corban Harwood, George Fox University in Newberg, OR; Audrey Malagon, Virginia Wesleyan University, Virginia Beach, VA; and Patrice Tiffany, Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY. Rosemary Farley from Manhattan College has also been integral to this work. In the second year of the grant, Shelton coorganized and coled a faculty-development workshop, held at George Fox University, July 22–27. Twenty-seven participants from across the U.S. became MINDE (Model Instructors in Differential Equations) Fellows to enhance their teaching of undergraduate differential equations in a modeling-first approach. The workshop was sponsored by SIMIODE , a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and Manhattan College.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a participant in the WeTeach_CS Summit 2019, a three-day event that educates, empowers, and inspires K–12 computer science teachers, advocates, administrators, professional-development providers, university instructors, and policy makers to advance the goal of computer science for all in Texas and beyond.

June 2019

  • In June, recent graduate Will Price ’19 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the Congress on Evolutionary Computation in Wellington, New Zealand. 

      • Price presented research on his coauthored paper with Schrum, “Neuroevolution of Multimodal Ms. Pac-ManControllers under Partially Observable Conditions,” based on his SCOPE 2018 research, which resulted in a first-place entry in the Ms. Pac-Man vs. Ghost Team Competition.
      • Schrum presented a paper coauthored with SCOPE 2018 student Bryan Hollingsworth ’20 titled “Infinite Art Gallery: A Game World of Interactively Evolved Artwork.”

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was participated in the 2019 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) workshops at Syracuse University, training faculty to use SEED labs to demonstrate cybersecurity exploits and countermeasures. She can be seen in the local video coverage here.

  • Daniela Beckelhymer ’20 was selected to participate in The Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications/Math Alliance Workshop on Career Paths in the Mathematical Sciences June 6–8, 2019, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN.  Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr nominated Beckelhymer for the program.

May 2019

  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards  recently published an article titled “A Note on Inequalities for the Ratio of Zero-Balanced Hypergeometric Functions” in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society  (series B, vol. 6, May 2019).

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the Summit of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), in Nashville, TN, May 14–16, as part of their ongoing work with NCWIT’s Extension Services Learning Circles. In keeping with the theme of the summit, “Where Conversations Lead to Change,” they met with change leaders at other schools, participated in interactive workshops designed to help interrupt bias, and heard from plenary speakers from multiple disciplinary backgrounds on improving diversity and inclusion in computing.

  • Computer science major Adina Friedman ’19 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum have had a peer-reviewed publication accepted to the IEEE Conference on Games, to take place in London, U.K., August 20–23. The publication, “Desirable Behaviors for Companion Bots in First-Person Shooters,” describes research that began as part of SCOPE in summer 2018 and was followed up in fall 2018 with a human-subject study involving 30 members of the SU community. The videos, code, and other content associated with the study are available online.

  • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr received a $6,000 Mathematical Association of America’s Tensor Program for Women and Mathematics grant that will fund the Hidden No More lecture series for the 2019–2020 academic year. This grant (and some support from the Mathematics and Computer Science Department) will bring six women from underrepresented groups with doctorates in mathematics and computer science to campus over the academic year for a lecture series in which each speaker will tell her journey to math or computer science and also share the type of research she does.

  • Computer science major Adanna Court  ’19 was selected and funded by Facebook to attend their 2019 Data Challenge on May 3–4, in Menlo Park, CA. Ten teams of three to four participants each were tasked with determining the optimal location and type of business for San Francisco based on the data set provided. Using and Python , they were able to manipulate the data and create graphs to support the recommendations they provided, which they presented to the judges. In addition, teams made recommendations to Facebook about how to use that data set to improve one of their products. Court’s team focused on WhatsApp.

April 2019

  • Sara Boyd ’20, Devon Fulcher ’19, and Daniel Maldonado ’19 received an honorable mention for their submission in the 35th annual COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, advised by Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony. During the contest, they spent five days working on a problem that required them to elect, configure, optimally pack, geoposition, deploy and operate a set of midsize unmanned aerial vehicles that would supplement existing relief medical supply chains on Puerto Rico. Their honorable mention designation put them in the top quarter of the 14,108 teams that participated. Learn more .

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton has been elected as representative of the Texas Section of the Congress of the Mathematical Association of America. This three-year national leadership position will begin in July 2019.

  • A paper coauthored by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton, Associate Professor of Education Sherry Adrian, and Emma Kathryn Groves ’17, titled “A Model of the Transmission of Cholera in a Population with Contaminated Water,” which was accepted for publication in November 2018, has been published in the CODEE Journal, vol. 12.  The article was downloaded across 15 countries in its first 25 days of online availability.

  • Lauren Gillespie  ’19 has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship that will finance three years’ worth of graduate school attendance. Gillespie will be using the funds to seek a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University.

  • Southwestern had strong representation at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges South Central Conference at the University of Texas at Dallas on April 5. Students presented the following posters:

    • “Voluntunity: Building a Volunteer Opportunity Website with Django” by TaylorAxtell ’19, SaraBoyd ’20, LaurenGillespie ’19, Danielle Orbach ’19, and Colin Scruggs ’19, part of their computer-science capstone work with Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony.
    • “Creating a User-Friendly System to Facilitate Tracking and Entry of Internship Hours” by Adina Friedman ’19, William Price ’19, Elyssa Sliheet ’19, Isabel Tweraser ’19, and Jacob Yager ’20, also part of the computer-science capstone.
    • “Verification of Welfare Transactions on the Blockchain” by Adanna Court ’19, Devon Fulcher ‘19, Bobby Garza ‘19, Alexander Hoffman ‘20, and Daniel Maldonado ‘19, also part of the computer-science capstone.
    • “Project Pen and Paper: Operations Research for Prospective Students” by Katie Dyo ‘19, Devon Fulcher ‘19, Alexander Hoffman ‘20, Daniel Maldonado ‘19, and Greg O’Brien ‘19, work that originated in the Operations Research course in Fall 2018 taught by Anthony.
    • “Desirable Behaviors for Companion Bots in First-Person Shooters” by Adina Friedman ‘19, based on her SCOPE 2018 summer research with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.
    • “Evolving Custom Convolutional Neural Network Architectures in SZ-Tetris” by Devon Fulcher ‘19, also based on SCOPE 2018 research with Schrum. This poster won fourth place in the undergraduate poster competition.
    • “Infinite  Art Gallery: A  Game World of Interactively  Evolved Artwork” by Bryan Hollingsworth ‘20, also based on SCOPE 2018 research with Schrum. This poster won third place in the undergraduate poster competition.

    Students Boyd, Court, Friedman, Fulcher, Garza, Hoffman, Hollingsworth, and Orbach, as well as Schrum, attended the conference.

March 2019

  • Southwestern University had a strong showing at the 2019 Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), held March 28–30 at Tarleton State University, in Stephenville, TX.

    • Katie Dyo ’20 presented “Women’s Golf: An NCAA Comparison Using Mathematical Modeling,” preliminary results from her signature work with Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton. Dyo is a mathematics major and data-science minor, and she is a member of the SU Women’s Golf Team.
    • Claire Harding ’19 and Madison Godleski ’19 presented “Rocket Projections,” supervised by Associate Professor of Physics Mark Bottorff. Harding is a physics major, and Godleski is a physics major with a mathematics minor.
    • Daniela Beckelhymer ’20, Charlie Ellison ’20, Hannah Freeman ’20, and Gerardo Gonzalez also attended the meeting.
    • President and Professor of Mathematics Edward Burger gave the invited address, “Making up Your Own Mind through Practices of (Mathematical) Effective Thinking.”
    • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr co-led and participated in the Mathematics Learning by Inquiry organizational meetings, held in conjunction with the Texas MAA meeting.
    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross attended the professional-development program of Texas New Experiences in Teaching (NExT), held in conjunction with the Texas MAA meeting. Ross also supported the student attendees.
    • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards and Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Osborne participated in the Texas MAA meeting.

    Student lodging, registration, and meals were provided by the Fleming Student Travel Fund and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Southwestern students accounted for five of the 57 presentations, along with 20 other colleges and universities.

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross was invited to speak at Trinity University’s mathematics seminar on March 19, 2019. His talk, “Isoperimetry and Geometric Optimization,” discussed recent research as well as general strategies for solving geometric optimization problems using the calculus of variations.

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two peer-reviewed publications accepted to appear in the 2019 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, each with student coauthors. Will Price ’19 is the primary author on “Neuroevolution of Multimodal Ms. Pac-Man Controllers Under Partially Observable Conditions,” which describes his first place entry in the international Ms. Pac-Man vs. Ghost Team Competition in 2018. Bryan Hollingsworth ’20 is the primary author on “Infinite Art Gallery: A Game World of Interactively Evolved Artwork,” which describes a game that was part of a human-subject study at Southwestern last fall.

February 2019

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony Christine Harbour  ‘16, and Jordan King  ‘15 published an article in the February 2019 issue of Journal of Combinatorial Mathematics and Combinatorial Computing  titled “Greedy Is Good: An Empirical Evaluation of Three Algorithms for Online Bottleneck Matching.” This paper is a culmination of work that was begun in 2014–15 with support from the Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates program of CRA-W, the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Associate Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Barbara Owens attended the 50th SIGCSE, the ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, in Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 27–March 2, 2019. Anthony was a discussion leader for a birds-of-a-feather session on “Modernizing the Mathematics Taught in Computer Science,” an associate program chair, and the chair of a session on physical computing. Owens presented “The SIGCSE Story: Getting the Scoop,” about the ACM History Committee, as well as the Computing Educators Oral History Project.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton coauthored a paper, “Pharmacokinetic Models for Active Learning of Differential Equations,” which was published online by the journal PRIMUS. Shelton’s coauthors are Beulah Agyemang-Barimah ’17, currently a graduate student in computational biology at Cornell University, and Theresa Laurent, of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. This peer-reviewed paper will appear in a print version of a special issue on modeling in differential-equations courses. Some of the work that led to this paper was funded by Southwestern’s grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation.

  • Professors of Mathematics Alison Marr and Fumiko Futamura coauthored and published a paper titled “Taking Mathematics Abroad: A How-to Guide” in the journal PRIMUS. This paper fills a gap in the literature on developing and teaching mathematics abroad, with examples and advice from the authors’ experiences teaching a variety of interdisciplinary courses in the SU London semester program.

January 2019

  • Computer science and chemistry double major Lauren Gillespie ’19 has been awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award from the Computing Research Association. Only students in North American universities may compete for the award, and only four such awards were given, with other awardees coming from such prestigious universities as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. Gillespie’s award recognizes work she has done in the field of evolutionary computation since 2016, first as a SCOPE student under Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum and most recently as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Michigan State University under Dr. Charles Ofria. In addition to the recognition, this award will provide Gillespie with $1,500 to attend a research conference of her choice.

  • The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, with national meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), and more. It is the largest meeting of mathematicians in the world. The meetings were held in Baltimore, MD, Jan. 16–19, 2019.

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton copresented “Building Community through Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE)” in the MAA Poster Session on Projects Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education. The coauthors were the coprincipal investigators of their National Science Foundation (NSF) grant: Brian Winkel, SIMIODE and emeritus professor from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Richard C. Harwood, Newberg University; Audrey Malagon, Virginia Wesleyan University; and Patrice Tiffany, Manhattan College. The NSF grant partly funded Shelton’s attendance.
    • Shelton participated in the meeting of the MAA Committee on Sessions of Contributed Papers.
    • Shelton served on the SIMIODE Board of Contributing Advisors and participated in a meeting of her NSF grant coprincipal investigators.
    • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura presented “Factoring Homographies to Analyze Perspective Distortions” based on a recent paper coauthored with Marc Frantz of Indiana University Bloomington and Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College in the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Mathematics and the Arts.
    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “Exploring Big Ideas in Calculus 1 through Bite-Sized IBL Lessons” in the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching.
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Osborn presented “Peaks and Valleys of First-Time Implementation of IBL Methods in Calculus III and Intro to Statistics Classes” in the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching.
    • Mercedes Gonzalez  ’21 presented “Restrictions on Homflypt and Kauffman Polynomials Arising from Local Moves” in the AMS Special Session on Not KNerds: A Community for Knot Theory. The talk was based on a 2018 NSF REU and coauthored by Sandy Ganzell, St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Chloe Marcum, Marshall University; Nina Ryalls, University of Dallas; and Mariel Santos, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Gonzalez  received partial funding from the REU, the Fleming Student Travel Fund, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • Elyssa Sliheet  ’19 presented “Mathematical Models Linking within-Host to between-Host HIV Dynamics” in the AMS Contributed Paper Session on Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory. The talk was based on a 2018 NSF REU. Sliheet received partial funding from the REU, the Fleming Student Travel Fund, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • Our students each presented in a faculty session rather than a session for undergraduate presentations.

December 2018

  • Art generated by the interactive evolution system AnimationBreeder was featured on the cover of SIGEVOlution (volume 11, issue 4) , the newsletter of the Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation. AnimationBreeder is a system developed by Southwestern University students Isabel Tweraser ’19 and Lauren Gillespie ’19 as part of SCOPE summer research supervised by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. Also in the newsletter is a short description of the art, as well as a reference to the publication describing this research , which was cowritten by Tweraser, Gillespie, and Schrum.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper on the “Inefficiency of Equilibria in Doodle Polls,” coauthored with Christine Chung of Connecticut College, at the 12th Conference on Combinatorial Optimization and Applications. She also chaired a session on combinatorial optimization at the conference.