Converse faculty and students attended the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Southeastern Section Meeting in March 2023 at Coastal Carolina University.
Associate Professor of Mathematics & Chair of the Mathematics Department, Dr. Jessica Sorrells, presented “The Adjacent Possibility of Undergraduate Teaching and Research.” Her talk was part of the Project NExT-SE Sessions and was geared toward helping newer faculty in the region.
Assistant Professor of Math, Dr. Amanda Mangum, gave a presentation during the special session, “Preparing Students for Mathematical Careers.” She presented “Guiding Students to Data-Driven Solutions for a Local Nonprofit through a PIC Math Course.”
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Joe Barrera, delivered a talk entitled “Project-based Programming in a Mathematics Course” based on his popular special topics course Fractals and Chaos.
German Studies and Mathematics double major, Angela Brobson ’23 (Nisbet Honors), was awarded the Walt and Susan Patterson Prize for Outstanding Student Presentation for her presentation “Fibonacci Shapes and Patterns.” Her faculty research mentor was Dr. Barrera.
This conference was Angela’s first time presenting research that was solely hers and she appreciated the many opportunities presented to her at the conference. “I networked with other math students within the region and learned from their presentations,” Angela said.
Mathematics major Sydney Wilson ’24 presented a talk entitled “Using Machine Learning to Predict the Number of Times Aid is Requested from a Local Nonprofit Agency.” This talk was an extension of her senior seminar research started in Dr. Mangum’s PIC Math course.
Sydney was excited to participate in this unique experience, which went beyond an educational opportunity for her. “This conference helped me decide that I would like to go to grad school to do more research in my field,” Sydney said. This was my first time giving a talk on my own research at a conference, which was rewarding and gave me a lot of new confidence in my presentation skills.”
Jovana Mitic ’23 (Nisbet Honors), Ryleigh Henderson ’24 (Nisbet Honors), and Ellie Schindler ’26 (Nisbet Honors) each presented a poster on their research in the undergraduate poster session.
Jovana presented “Modeling and Predicting Swimming Event Times for Elite Female Competitors,” summarizing her work toward her Honors in Field Thesis advised by Dr. Mangum. This was Jovana’s second opportunity to attend this conference and she attended more than ten different talks. “Although I didn’t understand everything presented, going to the conference made me realize the value of curiosity,” Jovana said. “I enjoyed meeting other students through the Mathematical treasure hunt event, and getting to know my professors better.”
Ryleigh presented work she completed with Abbigale Outlaw ’23 and Dr. Sorrells entitled “An Agent-Based Modeling Simulation of DNA Self-Assembly and Design Strategies for Dipyramidal Graphs.” Ryleigh said the opportunity to attend this conference broadened her knowledge of mathematical research and offered real-world experience. “I was able to build my professional development, present research, and discuss future work,” she said. “I genuinely appreciate the opportunity of being able to attend.”
Ellie presented work she recently began with Dr. Barrera entitled “The effect of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 on Germany’s economy”. Ellie said, “Contrary to my expectations, sitting in a pedagogical talk was quite interesting because I could look at learning differently.” Ellie had the opportunity to talk with a professor from another institution who took an interest in Ellie’s presentation and encouraged her to continue in her research.
Caleb Chang ’25 attended and joined Sydney and Ryleigh in representing Converse in the Math Jeopardy tournament.
The generous support of the Office of Research and Engagement, Student Government Association, the Nisbet Honors Program, and a Mathematics Department donor helped make this student experience possible.