Math

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

August 2021

July 2021

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura cotaught a virtual minicourse for instructors along with her colleagues Annalisa Crannell (Franklin & Marshall College) and Marc Frantz (Indiana University). The minicourse, titled Gaining Perspective on Geometry: IBL Activities That Use Art in Projective Geometry, ran June 8, 15, 22, and 29 through the Mathematical Association of America virtual programming and covered perspective drawing, Desargues’s Theorem, the cross ratio, and perspective collineations.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton led a week-long virtual workshop, Model Instructors in Differential Equations (MINDE), with coleaders Rosemary Farley and Patrice Tiffany (Manhattan College) and Brian Winkel (SIMIODE). This work was supported by a grant (#1940532) from the National Science Foundation.





May 2021

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr and her 11 co-authors had a piece published in the May 2018 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society about their experiences at the Workshop on Increasing Minority Participation in Undergraduate Mathematics this past summer in Park City, Utah. The piece is available here.





  • Elyssa Sliheet, Class of 2019, and Daniela Beckelhymer, Class of 2020, attended the Infinite Possibilities Conference for Women of Color in Mathematics and Statistics in Washington, D.C., April 14–15, 2018. Sliheet presented a poster on her REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) research “Shift Operators on Directed Infinite Graphs” and Beckelhymer presented a poster on her SCOPE research with Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr “Choose Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks using Graph Theory.” Beckelhymer won a prize for Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation at the conference.





  • Thirteen students and four faculty traveled to Dallas, Texas, April 5 7 to attend and give talks at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Texas Section Mathematical Association of America held at El Centro College.

    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr co-presented “Starting Inquiry-Based Learning Consortia”
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics Gary Richter presented “Revisiting a Limit as X approaches 0, the limit of sin(x)/x = 1”
    • D’Andre Adams, class of 2020, and Daniela Beckelhymer, class of 2018, presented their SCOPE 2017 research with Dr. Marr titled “Choosing Your Own Adventure: An Analysis of Interactive Gamebooks Using Graph Theory”
    • Morgan Engle, class of 2018, presented her SCOPE 2017 and capstone research supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Becca Edwards titled “Influence of ENSO on United States Gulf Coast Ozone Using a Surface Ozone Climatology”
    • Sam Vardy, class 2018, presented a pedagogical talk supervised by Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross titled “Taking on Statistics with R(Our) Power”
    • Taylor Axtel, class of 2019, Alan Carr and Charlie Ellison, both class of 2020, presented research supervised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura, “3-D Matrices: How Do They Work?”
    • Music major Jacob Wilson, class of 2020, presented a musical composition from Dr. Futamura’s Explorations in Mathematics course “Frieze Patterns in Music”
    • Aiden Steinle,  class of 2020, presented research supervised by Dr. Futamura, “Staying in Shape with Real World Mappings.” Aiden won an award for Best Presentation in Geometry.
    • The other four student attendees were Keyshaan Castle, class of  2020, Katie Dyo and Elyssa Sliheet, both class of 2019, and Bonnie Henderson, class of 2018. Dr. Futamura and Dr. Ross also attended the meeting, with Dr. Ross participating in the Texas Section Project NeXT meeting.




  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura was invited to give two talks, one on April 13 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, titled “How to Mathematically Immerse Yourself in Art,” and the other on April 17 at the Phi Beta Kappa event (En)Lightning Talks Houston titled “When Artists Become Mathematicians.” The (En)Lightning Talk was a 5-minute talk, complete with a countdown clock and an M.C. ready to hit a gong when time ran out. Futamura finished her talk in 4 minutes and 58 seconds.





April 2021

  • Senior Physics and Computational Math double-major Yash Gandhi, class of 2018, has been awarded an H. Y. Benedict Fellowship from Alpha Chi National Honor Society. Alpha Chi is a national honor society that was founded at Southwestern University in 1922, and is only open to the top 10% of juniors and seniors. Furthermore, only two Alpha Chi members from each university may be nominated to be awarded one of 10 fellowships awarded nationwide. The $3,000 in fellowship money will be used to help Yash attend graduate studies in Computer Science next year. Full press release here.





  • Physics and mathematics major Gerardo Gonzalez ’22 gave a talk at the 2021 spring meeting of the American Physical Society (Texas Section) titled “Transition Probabilities for a Relativistic One-Electron Atom.” Most of the research presented during this talk resulted from a 2019 SCOPE project that Gonzalez completed with Professor of Physics Steven Alexander. They are currently working on a paper that will describe their calculations.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton has a peer-reviewed paper, “Mathematical Modeling Projects: Success For All Students,” published in the journal PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies. DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2016.124932. The paper appeared online in February 2017 and will appear in the April 2018 print issue (Volume 28, Number 4).





  • Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two peer-reviewed submissions accepted to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, which will be held virtually in July 2021. Both submissions were written by undergraduate coauthors who participated in SCOPE during the summer of 2020: Benjamin Capps ’23 had a full paper, titled “Using Multiple Generative Adversarial Networks to Build Better-Connected Levels for Mega Man,” accepted for publication in the proceedings and will present the paper orally at the conference. Kirby Steckel ’21 had a poster paper accepted to the conference. A two-page extended abstract of his paper, “Illuminating the Space of Beatable Lode Runner Levels Produced by Various Generative Adversarial Networks,” will appear in the companion to the proceedings and will be presented at the conference’s virtual poster session.





March 2021

  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross had a peer-reviewed paper, “Supermarkets, Highways, and Natural Gas Production: Statistics and Social Justice,” published in the journal PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies. This work began with a 2016 ACS Workshop on Math for Social Justice.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton is a co-principal investigator with a newly awarded three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. This will support the mission of the mathematical community SIMIODE to encourage and support faculty in using modeling to motivate learning of differential equations in context. The award will fund faculty development, practitioner workshops, and more.





  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura organized students and faculty to create a hyperbolic crochet coral reef for a table at the Hot Science Cool Talks event on coral reefs at the University of Texas on Feb.16. To prepare for the event, she gave talks on hyperbolic geometry and crochet at SU for the 107 Lecture in Mathematics and for the Art Association, and taught students, faculty and staff how to crochet hyperbolic planes that incidentally look like coral. Nine students, faculty and alumni contributed: Kari Darr ’19, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Linda DiLullo, Christi Ho ’18, Abigail Jendrusch ’19, Jacob Jimerson ’19, Chris Nissen ’18, Aiden Steinle ’18, Natalie Young ’19. Christi, Jacob and Aiden attended the event, teaching the public about hyperbolic geometry and how to crochet. The coral reef will be on display in the entrance to the Smith Library from March 20 to the end of the semester.





  • Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony was a faculty scholar at the National Science Foundation RESET (Re-Enter STEM through Emerging Technology) 2021 Conference March 46, 2021. The conference focused on supporting the re-entry of women in STEM, especially in emerging technology fields, such as cybersecurity, data science, mobile development, and cloud computing.





February 2021

  • Miryam Galvez ’23 presented at the 124th annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Sciences, which was held virtually February 26–27, 2021. The poster in the Mathematics and Computer Science section, titled “Using Python to Question Sincerity in Doodle Polls,” is the result of collaborative work with Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony and Chris Ojonta ’23 and was made possible by Southwestern’s Research Assistant funds and Sam Taylor Fellowship funds. A video describing the poster can be found here.





  • 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.





  • 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.





January 2021

  • Members of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science joined the virtual 2021 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:

      • Zariah Whyte ’21 and Evan Alexander ’22 presented the poster “Isoperimetric Problems on the Real Number Line with Prescribed Density” in the MAA Student Poster Session on Geometry. The presentation was based on work with Assistant Professor of Mathematics John D. Ross in SCOPE 2020.  
      • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John D. Ross presented “On Curves That Generate Symmetric Lambda-Hypersurfaces” in the AMS Special Session on Analysis and Differential Equations at Undergraduate Institutions. 
      • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Noelle Sawyer presented “Marked Length Spectrum Rigidity with Partial Data” in the AMS–AWM Special Session on Women of Color in Topology and Algebra.
      • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “Student Engagement in Modeling Drugs, Disease, and More.” 
      • Shelton co-organized the AMS Special Session on Adopt, Adapt, Assign Modeling Activities in Differential Equations.
      • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr also attended.




November 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Noelle Sawyer co-organized Black in Math Week, November 813, a social-media event to promote visibility and community among Black mathematicians. In one of the events for the week, Sawyer cohosted an episode of the podcast Relatively Prime about Black math educators. Black in Math Week is a part of a series of ‘Black in X’ weeks, which began with Black Birders Week to normalize Black people as a part of science communities after someone called 911 to report a Black birdwatcher in Central Park. You can find the Twitter account here and the podcast episode here.