Math and Computer Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

February 2018

  • Elyssa Sliheet , class of 2019, won an award for an Outstanding Poster in the Student Poster Session of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in San Diego, Calif. Jan. 9–13, 2018. Her work, “Shift Operators on Directed Infinite Graphs,” was conducted at an NSF-funded summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) with several other undergraduates under advisor Ruben Martinez-Avendao of Universidad Autónoma Del Estado De Hidalgo. There were over 500 posters in 16 topical categories at the JMM poster session. Awards were given for the top 15% in each category. Her travel was funded by the Southwestern Student Travel Fund, the MAA Student Travel Fund, and the NSF.

January 2018

  • President Edward Burger was an invited speaker at an American Mathematical Society Special Session on Diophantine Approximation and Analytic Number Theory in Honor of Jeffrey Vaaler on Jan. 12 at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings held in San Diego, Calif. There he spoke on “Applications of orthogonality within non-archimedean and human contexts.” On Jan. 23, he delivered a public address on the future of undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University as well as met with their president and engaged with their Commission on Education to assess their plans for the future.

November 2017

  • Nov. 3–4, three teams of SU students competed in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) South-Central USA Regional hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Programming contests are structured as collections of problems that teams must write code to solve. Teams are ranked by the number of problems solved and then by the speed with which they solved them. Between the practice contest Friday evening and the contest Saturday afternoon, all three Southwestern teams — SU Transfer Crew (Sara Boyd and Devon Fulcher, both class of 2020, and Adanna Court, class of 2018), SU Pirates (Sabin Oza, class of 2021, Kayla Ingram and Colin Scruggs, both class of 2019), and String[ ] arghhhhhhhhs (Alexander Hoffman, Matt Sanford, both class of 2020, and Will Price, class of 2019) — solved at least one problem. This year’s teams were coached by Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper, the latter of whom accompanied the teams to the competition.

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum attended the Dagstuhl Research Seminar: “Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games: AI-Driven Game Design” in Nov. 2017. The Castle Dagstuhl - Leibniz Center for Computer Science, in Dagstuhl, Germany, aims to further world class research in Computer Science by hosting invitation-only research seminars on various topics throughout the year. With various researchers from around the world, Schrum participated in workshops on the topics of “Emergence in Games,” “Playful NPCs and Games,” “Game Design Search Spaces,” and conducted a workshop on “Human-Assisted Content Creation Within Games.”

  • Elyssa Sliheet, Class of 2019,  and Adina Friedman, Class of 2019, presented  “Inventing a Mobile Service” and “How Can Technology Help At-Risk Youth Get Enough Support to Stay in School,” respectively, at Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science, a three-day research-focused workshop at Carnegie Mellon University Oct 20–22, 2017.  Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony served as the faculty sponsor.  Funding was provided by the Fleming Student Travel Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Southwestern, as well as Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science and Women@SCS.

  • Five seniors presented at the Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (TUMC) on Oct. 21, 2017, held this year in San Antonio.

    • Victoria Gore, class of 2018, presented “Modeling Trends in Austin Traffic.”

    • Bonnie Henderson, class of 2018, presented “The Mathemasticks of Flower Sticks.”

    • Kristen McCrary, class of 2018, presented  “Math and Mancala.”

    • Penny Phan, class of 2018, presented “Singapore:  Model of a Savings Fund.”

    • Sam Vardy, class of 2018, presented “The Price of Health.”

    Each presentation was based on preliminary capstone work in Fall 2017 supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton who also attended.  Other students in attendance were Isaac Hopkins, class of 2018, Hannah Freeman and Aiden Steinle, both class of 2020, and Mercedes Gonzalez, class of 2021. Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross also attended the Project NExT events and aided our students. There were 28 talks by students at 14 institutions at the TUMC. Southwestern had the most students giving presentations. Approximately 115 students from 23 institutions attended. Southwestern funding for students was provided by the Fleming Student Travel Fund and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Shelton was funded through the Faculty-Student Project fund at Southwestern. The University of Incarnate Word subsidized the TUMC.

October 2017

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony presented a paper titled “Several Questions which Work for Almost Any Computer Science Exam” at the 26th Annual Rocky Mountain Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges in Orem, Utah, held Oct. 13–14, 2017. Her paper will be published in the December 2017 issue of the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr recently had her proposal “Hidden No More: Stories of Triumph, Excellence, and Achievement in Math and Computer Science” selected for funding as a mini-grant through the “WATCH US” grant from the National Science Foundation INCLUDES program. This mini-grant will bring four women from underrepresented groups with doctorates in mathematics and computer science to campus over the 2017–2018 academic year for a lecture series where each speaker will tell her journey to math (or computer science) and also share the type of research she does.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Robert Lehr ’15 published a paper in Mathematics Magazine’s October 2017 issue titled “A New Perspective on Finding the Viewpoint” (90, no. 4, p. 267-77). The article uses projective geometry to give a new method for determining where a viewer should stand in front of a two-point perspective drawing to view it correctly.

August 2017

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Stolper co-authored the article “ A Metadata Collection About IEEE Visualization (VIS) Publications” which has been published in the September 2017 issue of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (IEEE TVCG).

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Kathryn Reagan ’16 coauthored an article on “Community-Engaged Projects in Operations Research” in the Summer 2017 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. The research for this article was conducted during the Spring 2015 Operations Research course, with support from Director of Community-Engaged Learning Sarah Brackmann. Reagan was a Community-Engaged Learning Teaching Assistant and Anthony was a participant in the CEL Faculty Fellows program.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura presented a talk, “Fractals in Japanese Woodblock Prints,” as part of the Academic and Cultural Lecture Series of the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin in July 2017. This public lecture was presented at St. Edward’s University.

  • Four of our mathematics faculty, two students, and an alumnus were active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) held July 26–29, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura co-presented the minicourse “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College and Marc Frantz of Indiana University.

    • Visiting Assistant Professor John Ross presented “Lessons Learned Creating IBL Course Notes” at the MathFest Contributed Paper Session “Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning.”

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton co-organized and presented the workshop “Examples and Experiences in Teaching a Modeling-Based Differential Equations Course” with Rosemary Farley of Manhattan College, Patrice Tiffany of Manhattan College, and Brian Winkel of SIMIODE.

    • Beulah Agyemang-Barimah ’17 and Shelton co-presented “Pharmacokinetic Models for Active Learning” with Theresa Laurent of St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  This was part of the Contributed Paper Session “A Modeling First Approach in a Tradition Differential Equations Class.” Shelton’s work was supported by the Keck Foundation Grant at Southwestern.

    • Daniela Beckelhymer and D’Andre Adams, both class of 2020, presented “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory” in the MAA Student Paper Session based on work from the 2017 SCOPE work supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr.  Their travel was supported by the SCOPE and S-STEM programs at Southwestern.

    • Ross and Marr served as judges for some of the MAA Student Paper Sessions.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was an invited participant at the Google Cloud Platform Faculty Institute held at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus in July–Aug. 2017. The institute brought together approximately 60 faculty and numerous Googlers to consider how cloud technologies can be more effectively incorporated into the classroom.

  • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth was invited to present the concluding paper in a three-session section on integrating STEM and German at the XVI. International Conference of Teachers of German, IDT, in Fribourg, Switzerland from July 31–Aug. 4, 2017. IDT meets every fourth year and is the world’s largest international convention for teachers of German. Berroth shared her research in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) resulting from her ACS funded interdisciplinary project on connecting Math and German, on which she collaborated with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum. Berroth’s participation was funded by a scholarship from the Goethe Institute in Washington, DC.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr co-organized the mini-conference “Constructing the Future of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Conference: The Past 20 Years and the Next 20 Years” on July 27, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.  Visiting Assistant Professor John Ross presented the poster “Using IBL in Classes with Fewer or Shorter Meetings” at the IBL conference.  Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton also participated in the IBL conference.

  • Professor of Mathematics Kendall Richards coauthored (with Horst Alzer) the article “Inequalities for the Ratio of Complete Elliptic Integrals,” which was recently published in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society.

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr was among 10 faculty from across the country selected to attend the Workshop on Increasing Minority Participation in Undergraduate Mathematics at the Park City Math Institute in June 2017.  The workshop was led by Dr. Bill Velez from University of Arizona and Dr. Erica Walker from Teachers College, Columbia University.

May 2017

  • Southwestern was well represented at the Association of College Admission Counselor Super Conference in San Antonio, Texas Apr. 23—25. Dean of Enrollment Services Christine Bowman presented “The ABC’s of Paying for College,” as well as “A Grapefruit or a Plum? What Students Should Consider when their College list is a Fruit Basket which includes Small Liberal Arts Colleges and Medium and Large Public and Private Institutions. Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented “STEM and the Liberal Arts! Yes, Really” and Admission Counselor Patrick Firme presented “No, Nope, Na-Ah, No Way: Counseling Denied Students.”  This conference saw high school and college admission professionals from the Southern Texas and Rocky Mountain Regions of the United States.

April 2017

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross took eight students to the Texas Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at Texas A&M University-Commerce March 30–April 1, 2017.

    • Amy Jenkins, Class of 2017, presented “Instruments in Ones and Zeros: How Computers Mimic Timbre.” Jenkins’ work was based on her capstone supervised by Futamura.

    • Other students in attendance were Victoria Gore, Class of 2017, Morgan Engle,  Bonnie Henderson and Elyssa Sliheet, all Class of 2018, Sarah Cantu, Class of 2019, and Daniela Beckelhymer, D’Andre Adams, Victor Herrera, all Class of 2020. Gore, Henderson, Beckelhymer, Adams, and Herrera participated in the Calculus Bowl and made it to the final round.

    Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton attended the Executive Committee Meeting and Business Meeting as Immediate Past Chair of the Texas MAA, which included duties as Chair of the Nominating Committee, and the Department Liaisons Meeting. Funding for this trip was provided by the following at Southwestern: Fleming Student Travel Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the NSF S-STEM grant.

  • President Edward Burger delivered the Luncheon Address at the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics Annual Meeting on April 1 in San Antonio.  His lecture was titled “Leading with the ’20 Year Question.’” All 50 states were represented. On April 7, he returned to San Antonio for the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. There he led a workshop titled “Flipping classrooms into dynamic and impactful learning spaces with videos,” and then the Keynote Address of the conference, titled “Effective Thinking and Creative Puzzle-Solving.”

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton was invited to speak at the Undergraduate Mathematics Colloquium at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX on March 29, 2017. She will present “Markovian Recycling and other Math Models,” a continuation of work with Yvette Niyomugaba ’13. Shelton and Niyomugaba conducted research under a Summer Faculty Student Project and throughout Niyomugaba’s senior year. Shelton has expanded and updated the work as part of a sabbatical.

March 2017

  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two publications co-authored with students accepted to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference taking place in July 2017. Both publications are based on research done last summer as part of SCOPE (Summer Collaborative Opportunities and Experiences). “Comparing Direct and Indirect Encodings Using Both Raw and Hand-Designed Features in Tetris,” a full paper written with Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, and alumna Gabriela Gonzalez ’16, will be presented as a talk at the conference. “Balancing Selection Pressures, Multiple Objectives, and Neural Modularity to Coevolve Cooperative Agent Behavior,” an extended abstract written with Alex Rollins, Class of 2017, will be presented as a poster.

  • Twenty-two Southwestern students traveled to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to attend the 120th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science (TAS), March 4–5. Collectively, Southwestern students gave four oral presentations and presented 12 posters in numerous sections of the Academy including Conservation Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Physics, Systematics and Evolution, Freshwater Science, and Science Education. Much of the work presented at TAS took place in past summer SCOPE programs. Several students and alumni received awards:

    • Victoria Gore, Class of 2017, received the Best Oral Presentation Award in the Environmental Science Section for her work, “Extreme Precipitation: Changes in Rain Frequency from 1895-2015 in Central Texas.”  Gore worked on this project during SCOPE with her mentor Part-Time Assistant Professor of Physics Rebecca Edwards.
    • Bella Ferranti, Class of  2017, received the Best Oral Presentation Award in the Physics Section for her talk, “Laser Frequency Combs and the Search for Exoplanets.”  This is the second presentation that Ferranti has given at the Texas Academy of Sciences.
    • Lauren Gillespie, Class of 2019, received the Best Poster Presentation Award in Mathematics and Computer Science for her work entitled “Evolving Tetris Players Using Raw Screen Inputs,” which she worked on with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.
    • Sofia Campos ’16 took the Best Poster prize in the Systematics and Evolution Section and also won 2nd place overall for her presentation, “Cryptic yet curiously common: Population genetic structure and diversity of a cryptic Pomacea sp. and its better known congeneric P. canaliculata,”  which summarized her work in Uruguay with Professor of Biology Romi Burks.
    • Madison Granier, Class of 2019, received the Best Poster prize in the Conservation Biology section and also received a $1500 grant from the Academy to support her undergraduate research titled “Snail Slime in Real Time: qPCR Detection of Environmental DNA using Apple Snails.”  This work involves a collaboration between Granier, Burks and alumni Matthew Barnes ’06, now an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University.
    • Carissa Bishop, Class of 2017, won two presentation awards: Best Oral Presentation in Freshwater Science, for her talk entitled “Applying Band-Aids: Challenges associated with molecular detection of Angiostronglyus cantonensis infection within Uruguayan and Brazilian apple snails,” and a Poster Award in Science Education for a collaborative project titled “Innovating molecular art: Communicating the true cost of science through repurposed materials.” Campos ’16, Shannon Walsh and Hugo Cepeda, both Class of 2018, all made contributions to the molecular art piece based on research that they have done with Burks. All of the molecular work has been made possible through a grant awarded to the Natural Sciences by the Keck Foundation.

    Other TAS presenters included Alex Taylor, Renee Walker, Morgan O’Neal, Jillian Bradley, Daniel Gonzalez, Eris Tock, Alex Rollins, and Jiawen Zhang, all Class of 2017, Ramesh Nadeem, Dakota Butler, Diana Beltran, Susan Beltran, and Madelyn Akers, all Class of 2018. Additional faculty mentors included Professor of Chemistry Kerry Bruns, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Gesinski, Professor of Biology Ben Pierce,  and Part-Time Assistant Professor of Biology Airon Wills.