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Community Connections: News and Notes from the Director of Residence Life.

Math Majors and Grads Land Great Jobs for Summer and Beyond

Our math majors had an action-packed summer! Here are just some of the internships students participated in:

George Gambrell had a NSSP internship at Raytheon.

Dorothy Kirlew and Robbie Ennis interned at Life Technologies, a global biotech firm.

Matt Shives did a summer internship at NSA. He is hoping this experience will turn into a full-time position.

Andrea Haines had a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at NIST for the second year in a row. This time around, she worked on genetic algorithms.

Some of our 2012 graduates have landed amazing jobs:

Kori Junghans is working for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

Andrea Haines is working for Warren Rogers Associates, Newport, Rhode Island.

Some people are starting graduate study this fall: In mathematics, Dubravka Bodiroga is studying at the George Washington University, Dylan O'Connell at Worchester Polytechnic Institute, and Derrick Kuhn at George Mason University. Kizza Nandyose is studying Industrial Engineering at Virginia Tech. Several double majors are starting graduate study in another field (chemistry or economics.)


Summer Research at Hood

Undergraduate research sometimes takes the form of an REU (research experience for undergraduates) where students from all over the country spend the summer working together at a host school. Another option is closer to home: the Summer Research Institute here at Hood sponsored five math majors this summer.

Natalie Guerra and Megan Rodriguez: The project we did with Dr. Graybeal and Dr. Strickland taught us valuable lessons about teaching mathematics. Using SmartPens and Livescribe software, we interviewed 7th grade students about integers and integer operations to test whether they were being taught conceptually in their classrooms. [Link: bit.ly/S99oQN for an example of their work.]

Michael Mudarri: Last summer I worked on an explicit proof of the Kronecker-Weber Theorem with Dr. Parson. It states that equations that are of a certain form have solutions that are cyclotomic numbers. I learned a lot about mathematics, and I also used LaTeX and Sage. I presented a talk at MathFest in Wisconsin. I met many interesting people, and I was even able to have lunch with the famous mathematician David Cox! I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Parson and learn about a different side of mathematics.

Alison Schuetz and Robert Vaughn: Alison (above) and Robert worked with Dr. Whieldon on real-valued periodic points in the Mandelbrot set. Both students presented their work at MathFest. Alison and Robert were both freshmen when they signed on to do summer research.

Meet a New Faculty Member: Professor Amy Shell-Gellasch

Where have you taught before Hood?

I have taught all over and in every grade from first through college! At the college level, I taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 2000- 2003. Then we moved to Germany where I ran an algebra clinic at our American high school. In 2006 we moved to Tacoma, WA where I taught at Pacific Lutheran U. (very similar to Hood.) In 2009 we moved to Madison, WI so my husband could get his PhD, and I taught at Beloit College.

How are you settling in to living in Maryland?

So far so good. The weather has been nice, but I will let you know once we have a bout of really hot, humid weather. We went down to Air and Space the first week!

How did you get interested in math?

Actually, I am dyslexic, and math made more sense than other things, especially those that required reading. I was a physics major originally, but decided to get my teaching certificate, and I have more math credits than physics, so I switched majors.

Describe your undergraduate experience.

I was a physics major at the University of Michigan. I loved physics, but had a few classes that were tough. One of my profs said she thought I would be a great teacher. I thought about what she said and realized she was right. so I switched to Ed and math. If she had not taken the time to look at who I was and what my strengths were, it may have taken longer to figure out the obvious.

What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree in math?

While teaching with a non-profit called Project SEED in Detroit, I started to learn more higher level mathematics, and decided that I wanted to learn more, so I went to get a masters at Oakland Univ. After that I stayed on at Oakland to teach.

Describe your grad school experience.

I did my master's and doctorate separately, and taught in between. Both of my graduate school experiences were wonderful. That is when you really are immersed in mathematics and forming who you will be with regard to mathematics.

What advice do you have for current math students?

Experience all the math you can, in many different areas (talks, teas, REUs, Etc.) It all comes together later!

What has your experience been as a woman in math?

Very positive. I think mathematics as opposed to other sciences has been more accepting of women, and for longer.

Talk a little bit about your interest in the history of mathematics. What time periods do you find interesting? What specific people?

Wow, I like it all. I love ancient history, so I guess as far as the people go, I am most interested in that time period. Archimedes is my hero! But my big research topic (now in book form and available in the Hood library) was a biography of the 20th century female mathematician Mina Rees.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I actually like teaching the lower level math courses because I love helping stu- dents who may not like or feel comfortable with math get something out of a math course. I also love the history of mathematics--students are always so surprised by what they learn on a history of math course.


Cumberland Valley Math Modeling Challenge

The fourth annual Cumberland Valley Math Modeling Challenge (CVMMC) will take place at Shippensburg University on September 29th and 30th. Hood has sent teams every year, and we won the entire contest in 2009. Each year, teams arrive with sleeping bags and laptops on a Saturday afternoon and work through the night on a mathematical modeling challenge. Last year one of Hood's teams worked to predict what the college textbook market will look like in 10 years, and the other team designed a system to help the web site Digg.com identify its most important users.

Each team competing writes a one-page executive summary and prepares a ten- minute PowerPoint presentation on what its members figured out in their busy night. The panel of judges, which includes everyone from mathematicians to English professors, ranks teams' written reports and oral presentations, and finally the entire group of competitors picks the winners.

If you are interested in competing this year, tell Dr. Parson that you want to come along. The modeling will be fun, and you will enjoy meeting students from around the region. For further information, see the CVMMC web site at bit.ly/PNugvq. If you are busy in September, but you are still interested in participating in a mathematical modeling competition, keep the annual COMAP contest (February 2013) in mind.

Upcoming Dates

  • Sept. 12, 12:30 p.m. in Whitaker Center Multicultural Room
    I-FUND National Security Scholars Program Informational Meeting
  • Sept. 12, 6 p.m. in Rosenstock Auditorium
    Math Ed. Lecture by Dr. Dan Chazan
  • Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m. in Carriage House DC
    MAA Carriage House Lecture: Prof. Jesus A. De Loera
  • Sept. 29, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
    SUMS Conference jmu.edu/ mathstat/ sums/
  • Oct. 27, 9- 11:30 a.m.
    VA Tech Regional Mathematics Competition
  • Oct. 26-27
    MAA Fall Section Meeting at Virginia Military Institute
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Hood College Department of Mathematics
401 Rosemont Ave.
Frederick, Maryland 21701
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