Spring 2004
The Newsletter for Advisors of Student Chapters of the Mathematical
Association of America
Spring 2004Introduction
MathFest 2004 in Providence
Plan on participating in the activities planned for the Providence, Rhode
Island, MathFest this summer, from Wednesday, August 11, through Saturday,
August 14, 2004. The activities for students will include the Student
Hospitality Center, the MAA Student Paper Sessions, the presentations of
the MAA Mathematical Contest in Modeling winners, the MAA Student Lecture,
the MAA Student Workshop, and the Student Problem Solving Competition.
In addition, students and advisors will likely be interested in the parallel
Pi Mu Epsilon student papers sessions, the PME banquet, the PME J. Sutherland
Frame lecture, and a Math Horizons special session. Information
on these activities may be found inside in the section ’Providence Preview.â?
MAA Student Activities
at the Phoenix Joint Mathematics Meetings
Warm and sunny weather welcomed those who attended the JMM at Phoenix
in January. A record number of students participated in the MAA student
poster session, about one hundred students and advisors attended the MAA
student lecture, many folks attended the special session on ’Mathematical
Experiences for Students outside the Classroom,â? and students and others enjoyed
the diversions offered at the Student Hospitality Center throughout the meetings.
Thanks to the Diversity Initiative, some students from underrepresented groups
received assistance with travel and registration expenses. For a report
on these activities, check out the ’Photos and Fun Facts from Phoenix.â?
Check out the new student website at /students/undergrad.
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to topPhotos & Fun
Facts from Phoenix
A Class at Star Fleet Academy

Well over one hundred students and advisors attended this
year’s MAA student lecture. Dr. Mark M. Meerschaert of the University
of Nevada enthusiastically presented a sample lecture of the course in ’fractal
calculusâ? that students may get at Star Fleet Academy in the future.
In his talk he introduced students to the notions of fractional derivatives,
PDEs with fractional derivatives, and nonnormal random diffusion processes.
In speaking of the joys of playing with wild ideas in mathematics, like fractional
derivatives, he exclaimed, ’You screw around and useful things happen!
What could be better?â?
Copies of the slides of his talk may still be seen at
http://unr.edu/homepage/mcubed.
Dr. Mark Meerschaert

Richard and Araceli Neal Host the Student Hospitality
Center
Despite a lastminute change of venue that moved the student
hospitality center from a prime location near the exhibits to a room in another
wing of the Phoenix Convention Center, many students’about 70’crowded into
the center on opening day. Once there, the Neals offered the visitors
an assortment of snacks and an opportunity to participate in an ’icebreakerâ?
activity. Professor Tom Sibley of Saint John’s/Saint Benedict’s University
in Collegeville, Minnesota, put the students in groups of eight or so, had
them clasp one another’s hands at random, and then had them try to maneuver
themselves into a simple loop’the not knot. According to Tom, they had
about an 80 percent chance of success. For round 2, the students were
challenged to link up in a way that would form a real knot.


Mathematical Experiences
for Students outside the Classroom
In January 2004, at the Joint MAA/AMS Meetings in Phoenix, the MAA Committee
on Student Chapters and Undergraduate Experiences in Mathematics sponsored
a Contributed Paper Session on
Mathematical Experiences for Students Outside
the Classroom. The session featured a variety of presentations with
suggestions for activities for Student Chapters and Math Clubs, tips for
creating and sustaining student research and independent projects, and projects
involving elementary and secondary students as well as future mathematics
teachers.
Suggestions for student activities included a discussion by Daniel Wisniewski
from DeSales University (
dpw2@desales.edu)
of the Problem of the Month Contest (open to all university students, faculty
and staff) and Student Chapter trips to the National Cryptologic Museum at
Fort Meade in Maryland and to the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts.

Betty Mayfield (mayfield@hood.edu) and three of her
students from Hood College described several field trips that they have
taken in and near Washington, D.C., including behind the scenes visits to
mathematical exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute and descriptions of how
some of these places can be visited through virtual field trips.
Thomas Sibley of St. John’s University (TSIBLEY@CSBSJU.EDU) demonstrated several
enticing activities such as a donut coloring contest and human knots. Cheryl
Olsen (clolse@ship.edu) of Shippensburg
University gave examples of successful department sponsored outside of class
activities including picnics, student seminars and conferences, and career
nights. Aaron Trautwein of Carthage College (atrautwein@carthage.edu) described
how the mathematics majors have included students from a wider audience in
the celebration of Mathematics Awareness Week by using largescale projects
such as the construction of a large tetrahedron and a banner size golden
spiral.

Greg Cicconetti of Muhlenburg College (
grego1074@yahoo.com) described his
adventures guiding a student through an independent study project for the
first time, learning both mathematics related to visualizing images and strategies
for engaging students in future projects. Michael Johnson (
am2351@exmail.usma.army.mil)
and Edgar Rugenstein (
at4464@exmail.usma.army.mil)
of the United States Military Academy discussed the valuable research experiences
their students have had, highlighting strategies for identifying sponsors
for student research projects and for showcasing the student’s research.
Holly Zullo of Carroll College (
hzullo@carroll.edu)
shared goals and the nuts and bolts of a mentoring program for undergraduate
mathematics, engineering, and computer science majors. Dave Feil of Carroll
College (
dfeil@cc.edu) showed how the solution
to a problem posed to a student problem solving group led to a summer of
research with a student into magic squares, a student talk at a Sectional
MAA meeting and the submission of a paper. Lisa DeMeyer of Central Michigan
University (
lisa.demeyer@cmich.edu)
discussed the structure of a summer undergraduate research program as well
as the problems that her students worked on, their accomplishments, and her
reflections on her experiences as a first time advisor for undergraduate research.
Lynn McGrath of the University of San Diego (
lmcgrath@sandiego.edu) described
how she and colleagues Perla Myers and Jane Friedman worked with undergraduate
mathematics majors and future mathematics teachers in a summer mathematics
enrichment camp for elementary students. Vince Schielack of Texas A&M
University (
vinces@math.tamu.edu)
described a competition for future teachers of secondary mathematics designed
to generate interest in mathematics teaching careers and recognize exemplary
students. Natalya Prokhorova of The Alabama School of Math & Science
and the University of South Alabama (
nprokhorova@asms.net) discussed the
South Alabama Math Circles, developed with Vasiliy Prokhorov of the University
of South Alabama (
prokhoro@jaguar1.usouthal.edu),
which engages secondary students in creative problem solving through topics
in mathematics that are normally outside of the school curriculum.
Diversity Initiative
CUSAC administers a special MAA fund to help bring students
from underrepresented groups to the Joint Mathematics Meetings. Faculty
may apply for small (up to $500 per institution) grants to cover the cost
of registration, food, lodging, and travel for their students. This
year we were pleased to offer travel grants to six colleges and universities
to send students to Phoenix’four colleges from California, one from Texas,
and one from Georgia. A total of eighteen students from those schools
participated in the Joint Meetings, attending the MAA Student Lecture, student
reception, and undergraduate poster session as well as many other events.
Six of the students presented their work in the poster session.
Diversity Initiative students and faculty with MAA Student
Lecturer Mark Meerschaert


The Unprecedented Undergraduate
Student Poster Session in Phoenix
Professor Mario Martelli of Claremont McKenna College, the organizer of
the undergraduate poster session, wrote for
Focus: ’With an
unprecedented number of 110 teams from all over the country, the Undergraduate
Student Poster Session increased its already well established role in the
Joint Annual."
The authors of winning posters pose with Mario Martelli and Colin
Adams
Meeting of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association
of America, and the Association for Women in Mathematics. Thanks to the efforts
of Jim Tattersall, Associate Secretary of the MAA, we were assigned half
the Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center and we filled it up! Over 115
professional mathematicians participated in the evaluation of the posters,
and 32 $100 prizes were given to the posters that received the highest marks.
As in past years the prize money came from the AMS, MAA, AWM, and CUR. This
year, for the first time, and with welcomed generosity, we received a considerable
contribution from the Moore Foundation.â? The two posters that received
the highest marks of all were ’A Conjecture on Homogeneous Ideals,â? presented
by Melissa Krause of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (advisor Dr. Ben Richert) and
’Subgraph Summability Number of a Graph,â? presented by Josh Whitney from Arizona
State University (advisor Dr. Sivaran Narayan, Central Michigan University).
Both projects were done with the REU programs at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
and at Central Michigan University. The complete list of all winning posters,
in alphabetical order with no ranking, is available at the MAA website:
/news/jmmundergradposter04.html.
Mario wrote: ’It has been an incredible and exciting event! Some people
said that a lot of merit is mine, but I firmly believe that most of the merit
should go to the presenters and to their advisors. Dear friends, presenters,
advisors, and judges, I hope to see you all at the Undergraduate Student
Poster Session in Atlanta in January 2005!â?
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Providence Preview
Call for Student Papers
for MathFest 2004
Students who wish to present a paper at MathFest 2004 in Providence, RI
(August 1214) must be nominated by a faculty advisor familiar with the
work to be presented. To propose a paper for presentation, the student must
complete a form and obtain the signature of a faculty sponsor.
Nomination forms for the MAA student paper sessions can be obtained from:
Dr. Thomas Kelley
Department of Mathematics
Henry Ford Community College
Dearborn, MI 49128
(313) 8456492
Email: tkelley@hfcc.net
Download: http://adm.hfcc.net/~tkelley/
All students who make presentations at MathFest are eligible for travel
reimbursement. Those who are also members of an MAA Student Chapter can
get higher amounts of support (max $600) as opposed to those who are not
(max $300). Funds are tight, though, so these maximums may not be attained.
The deadline for receipt of applications with abstracts is July 2, 2004.
The above website has sample abstracts from 2003.
PME student speakers must be nominated by their chapter advisors. Application
forms for PME student speakers can be found at
http://www.pmemath.org
or can be obtained from the PME SecretaryTreasurer, Dr. Leo Schneider (
leo@jcu.edu). Students who make presentations
at the Annual Meeting of Pi Mu Epsilon are eligible for partial travel reimbursement.
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is July 2, 2004.
MAAPi Mu Epsilon Student Reception
Wednesday, August 11, 5:306:30 p.m.
Student Hospitality Center
Richard and Araceli Neal, University of Oklahoma
Thursday, August 12, 9:00 am5:00 pm
Friday the 13th, 9:00 am5:00 pm
Saturday, August 14, 9:00 am1:00 pm
The Student Hospitality Center (SHC) provides a place for students and
other MathFest attendees to meet for informal conversation, refreshments,
and mathematical diversions. The SHC also provides programs for the
MAA and Pi Mu Epsilon student paper sessions, packets for the MAA student
presenters, and information on MathFest activities of interest to students.
Special information for students can be found at MAA Online at
and
http://www.pmemath.org.
MAA Student Paper Sessions
Thomas E. Kelley, Henry Ford Community College
Thursday, August 12, 1:00 pm5:00 pm
Friday, August 13, 1:00 pm5:00 pm
Pi Mu Epsilon Paper Sessions
Jennifer Galovich, St. John’s University
Thursday, August 12, 1:00 pm5:00 pm
Friday, August 13, 1:00 pm 5:00 pm
MAA Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) Winners
Ben Fusaro, Florida State University
Thursday, August 12, 5:00 pm5:50 pm
Pi Mu Epsilon Banquet
Friday, August 13, 6:00 pm7:45 pm
PME J. Sutherland Frame
Lecture
’When Five Colors Sufficeâ?
Joan P. Hutchinson, Macalester College
Friday, August 13, 8:00 pm9:00 pm
The challenging fourcolor conjecture, posed in 1852, asks whether four
colors are enough to color the regions of any map so that two regions that
share a boundary receive different colors. In 1976 K. Appel and W.
Haken proved that four colors suffice. With some changes to the problem,
four colors may no longer be enough. We discuss these variations in
which five, not four, colors suffice.
MAA Student Workshop
"Topics in Fractal Geometry"
Benoit Mandelbrot
Saturday, August 14, 1:00 pm2:50 pm
MAA Student Lecture
’The Secret of Brunelleschi’s Cupolaâ?
Mario Martelli, ClaremontMcKenna College
Saturday, August 14, 3:00 pm3:50 pm
In 1429 the architect Filippo Brunelleschi won the competition for building
the ’octagonal cupolaâ? of Florence’s cathedral. His innovative design
did not use centering. Brunelleschi built a model to show that his
proposal would work, but he categorically refused to reveal his secret.
The mystery remains today, but a recent mathematical analysis has been able
to lift the veil from parts of Brunelleschi’s design. How? Come
to the talk to find out.
Math Horizons
Special Session
Arthur T. Benjamin, Harvey Mudd College
Jennifer J. Quinn, Occidental College
Saturday, August 14, 4:00 pm4:30 pm
Meet the editors of
Math Horizons. It is the MAA’s magazine
written for students, filled with intriguing articles, profiles, problems,
humor, and contests. We are interested in your suggestions, and we
will be looking for students to join our Student Advisory Group.
Student Problem Solving
Competition
Richard Neal, University of Oklahoma
Saturday, August 14, 4:45 pm ’5:45 pm
This is the finals of the Problem Solving Competition. Universities
and colleges that participate monthly on their own campuses by holding problem
solving contests are invited to send two contestants. Each contestant
will be required to solve a series of mathematical problems. Based
upon the outcome, a champion and a runner up will be named.
Back
to topAn Advanced Look
at Atlanta
Mathematical Experiences
for Students Outside the Classroom
The Contributed Papers Session sponsored by CUSAC has been approved for
the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta. This session, titled ’Mathematical
Experiences for Students Outside the Classroom,â? is being organized by Kay Somers of Moravian College and
Jody Sorensen ofGrand Valley State
University.
Mathematics "happens" both inside and outside the classroom and, in fact,
many mathematics majors are drawn to the subject through a special event
sponsored by a Student Chapter or Math Club. This session seeks presentations
by academic, industrial, business, and/or student mathematicians so that
the audience will be encouraged to organize and run special events for their
students.
Descriptions of nonclassroom activities could include, but are not limited
to, special lectures, workshops for students, Math Days, Math Fairs, research
projects for students, Math Career Days, student conferences, recreational
mathematics activities, problem solving activities and contests, general
communitybuilding activities, and student consulting projects. Information
on how such activities are organized and carried out, what activities especially
grab students' interests, how students are contacted and encouraged to participate,
and how the events are funded will be especially helpful. This session is
organized by the MAA Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters.
MAA Student Lecturer
The MAA student lecturer at the JMM in Atlanta will be Robin Wilson.
It is probable that his topic will be ’The Mathematics of Lewis Carroll.â?
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Credits &
Contact Information
Credits
MAA Student Lecturer photo’Betty Mayfield; Student Hospitality Center
photo’Eileen Kennedy, Southern University; Mathematical Experiences for
Students outside the Classroom, Phoenix’Laura Kelleher; Diversity Initiative’Betty
Mayfield; Student Poster Session at Phoenix’Mario Martelli; Providence Preview’April
Focus; Call for Student Papers’Thomas Kelley; Mathematical Experiences
for Students outside the Classroom, Atlanta’Kay Somers
How to Reach the MAA
For Membership Information, Subscriptions, and Publication Orders contact:
The MAA Service Center
P.O. Box 9112
Washington, DC 200901622
8003311522 or (301)6179415
FAX: (301) 2069789
For the MAA Headquarters:
The Mathematical Association of America
1529 Eighteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 200361385
8007419415 or (202) 3875200
FAX: (202) 2652384
How to Contact the Chapter
Newsletter Editor
Suggestion, concerns, and/or contributions of articles for the CUSAC newsletter
may be sent to:
John Holte
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Gustavus Adolphus College
800 W. College Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
(507) 9337465
holte@gustavus.edu
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