Note from the Dean

Spring in blossom by Cooper-Wilson

Spring blossoms by Cooper-Wilson

Spring break is over, but I’m not sure winter is.  It is close to freezing this morning as I write this note.  Last year we had such a mild winter that I had plenty of choices for a great springtime picture for the March 2012 newsletter, but this year I had a hard time finding a picture to take that would show spring.  The forecast for Friday, the date for the newsletter to go out, is for a high around 70, and for me that qualifies as spring weather – yeah!  While the Memphis winter this year was much colder than average, we had nothing like the snowy winter weather of the Midwest and Northeast.

College teaching is a lot like spring.  Students come to college with a lot of potential hidden inside.  It is the job of the professors to warm and water that potential so it can become a beautiful and fruitful reality.  Like spring thunderstorms, college teaching has its trials and tribulations, for both students and faculty.  But the beauty of the subject, like the sun, will eventually shine forth.  To glimpse that light and to be able to share that light with others is an absolute pleasure for me as a professor.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter with its many items including the featured alum, the featured article on student groups, the nice thank you note, and the featured department: mathematics.

Follow us on Facebook -Christian Brothers University School of Sciences  and Twitter @CBUSciences!

News of the Moment

MHIRT group for summer 2013

MHIRT group for summer 2013 at its weekend retreat on February 23-24.

Dr. John Smarrelli Jr., CBU president, recently made an action-packed trip to Washington, DC, where he attended a meeting of Lasallian university presidents as well as a meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). At the ACCU meeting, he also presented a poster authored by Dr. Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology and Director of the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program, and Ms. Julia Hanebrink, MHIRT Program Coordinator, on the MHIRT program at the meeting entitled “There’s an App for That: Utilizing Technology to Foster International Research Opportunities for Undergraduates.”

Dr. Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, was a featured speaker at the 11th Scientific meeting of the Associate for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics in Alicante, Spain, on February 7-10  where she presented a paper entitled “The role of serotonergic neurons of the paramedian raphe in regulating choroidal blood flow in rats.”  Her co-authors were Nobel Del Mar, Chuyan Li and Anton Reiner.  She helped organize and moderate the session with Dr. Jeff Kiel.  At the meeting she was elected to the Board of Trustees for the organization (http://www.aopt.org/).

Beta Beta Beta Induction

Beta Beta Beta Induction

The Mu Tau chapter of Beta Beta Beta biological honor society held inductions for new members on Wednesday, February 20. The ceremony included a presentation by our very own Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, who gave a talk about the “Causes & Consequences of Channel Modification: Examining the Alteration of Ecological Patterns in Western Tennessee.” Tri Beta would like to congratulate the following students who were inducted as Associate Members for the year of 2013: Emi Abutineh, Cale Alexander, Tachele Anderson, Joanna Arnett, Matthew Brint, Rachel Depperschmidt, Majdi Elias, Alma Godoy, Patrick Held, Shannon Joyce, Tierney Kizer, Sarah Langsdon, Shelby Malcolm, Alex McCormick, Brent McGlaughlin, Megan Mosier, Toni Patrick, Gabriela Quiroz, Mehak Rajani, Tiffany Rice, Katherine Robinson, Marie Ryall, Matthew Skelton, Bailey Smith, Whitney Stepter, Hema Sura, Ben Tansey, Colt Terhune, Camisha Terrell, Ryan Tomlinson, Nhu-Phuong Vo, Will Walsh, Kevin Young and Anqi Zheng. Tri Beta would also like to congratulate those who were inducted as Full Members: Stephanie Allen, Alex Bickenbach, Darianne Butler, Lauren D’Surney, Jessica Jameson, Hannah Kurtz, Shannon McDonald, Erika Olvera, Charlene Ann Patino, Matthew Pointer, Don Rautine, JD Wolfe and Erika Yates.

The Science Olympiad for West Tennessee was held at CBU on Saturday, Feb. 23. The event table for this year can be found here. The Director for the CBU site is Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics.  Several CBU faculty members and members of the four Student Groups in the School of Sciences helped out as Event Directors.  We had four teams at the high school competition for a total of 60 students, and we had two teams at the middle school competition for a total of 30 students.   The winning teams were from White Station, both for high school and for middle school.  In addition, we had numerous family members visiting campus, taking the campus tour put on by Admissions, and generally enjoying the atmosphere that is the CBU campus.

On the weekend of February 23-24, MHIRT held its retreat at the Heifer Ranch.  See the image above.

Kevin Pham and Kristin Davis displaying their poster at the BIOL 362 Junior Seminar poster session.

Kevin Pham and Kristin Davis displaying their poster at the BIOL 362 Junior Seminar poster session.

On Tuesday, February 26, BIOL 362 Junior Seminar held its poster session.

Spring Break was March 3 through 9.

On Thursday, March 14, the Christian Brothers University Student Members of the American Chemical Society (CBU SMACS) held its third Spring Meeting.  They discussed plans for the Science Fair and High School Chemistry Competitions, and there was a Special Presentation by Dominique Garcia-Robles, Chemistry 2011, and Kay Powell on Optometry School and the Student Volunteers for Optometric Service to Humanity.

Pi Day

Pi Day

On Thursday, March 14, the Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) celebrated Pi Day (3.14) with pies and with pi tatoos (non-permanent).

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, has been elected as Secretary/Treasurer for the International Association of Vegetation Science (IAVS).  Congratulations!

Cameron Volpe, Biology 2013, has been accepted to the Mississippi State School of Veterinary Medicine.  Congratulations!

Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, March 19, at 1 pm in AH 153 for the BIOL 362 Biology Seminar,  Dr. Richard Smith from the Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery at UTHSC and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis will be speaking about his research.  His talk is entitled: Studies on Bone and Tendon Healing and Osteolysis.

Last year's Science Fair

Last year’s Science Fair

On March 20 and 21, CBU will host the 59th annual Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair.  This is a regional Fair that is affiliated with the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair for the high school competition and with the Broadcom Masters Competition for Middle School Students. Judging of projects will take place from noon until 2 pm on March 21.  The event is co-hosted each year by the CBU chapter of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society and the CBU Chemistry Department and School of Science. The high school division is for grades 9 through 12 and accepts only individual projects; the middle school competition is open to grades 6 through 8 and accepts both team and individual projects. The high school division winner of our Fair goes on to compete in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held in Phoenix, AZ, this year. The top 10% of our middle school fair goes on to compete in the on-line phase of the Broadcom Masters competition. Our student participants come from the Memphis-Shelby county area. Our competition is open to all middle and high schools in Memphis/Shelby county, whether public or private, to students from schools that do not have science fairs, and to home school associations. We do not charge schools or students a fee to enter. If you would like to participate in judging or know of a middle school or high school student who would like to enter, please contact the Fair Director, Dr. Dennis Merat, Associate Professor of Chemistry, at dmerat@cbu.edu .

On Friday, March 22, Beta Beta Beta (and TKE) is scheduled for a tour of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Participants need to be there between 3:00 and 4:00 pm for a welcome at the Pavilion with tours following.  Beta Beta Beta is doing this tour in conjunction with Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.  People who are interested in the tour need to contact J.D. Wolfe directly at 501-773-0355 jwolfe1@cbu.edu.

On Saturday, March 23, CBU will host the Forty-Fourth Annual Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Twenty-Eighth Annual Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad. Students who earn top scores on the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad will return to CBU on April 13 to take the National Exam. The top scorers on the National Exam may be invited to become part of the team that will represent the United States at the 45th International Chemistry Olympiad to be held in Moscow, Russia, on July 15-24, 2013. The Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Chemistry Olympiad Examination are sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society and co-hosted by the CBU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society ( SMACS) and the CBU Department of Chemistry. For more information please contact Dr. Dennis Merat, Associate Professor of Chemistry, at dmerat@cbu.edu.

On Monday, March 25, Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, is giving a talk to the R and D Forum in the Nolan Engineering Building at 4 pm entitled:  ”The many facets of research in biology at CBU”.  Research can be characterized many different ways.  It can be a simple project that tests a hypothesis in a class, or years of work on a very esoteric project.  In this seminar she will review some of the projects and types of research conducted in the department of biology.

Broup shot at the TAS meeting last year.

Group shot at the TAS meeting last year. Photo courtesy of Dr. James Moore

On April 6, CBU will host the Western Collegiate Division Meeting Tennessee Academy of Sciences.  Abstract Deadline is Friday, March 15, 2013.  Keynote Speaker is Dr. Duane McKenna, Assistant Professor University of Memphis.  Contact  Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, for more information.

Last April's Volleyball Game

Last April’s Volleyball Game

On Thursday, April 11, we will have our annual CHARITY VOLLEYBALL GAME.  CBU’s biology honor society, Beta Beta Beta (along with the other School of Sciences Student organizations), is hosting the 11th annual Students vs. Faculty Charity Volleyball Game. Youth and Vitality (Tri-Beta, ACS, and other Sciences students) will take on Old Age and Deceit (Sciences faculty, alumni, and various “ringers”) at 6:00 p.m. in Canale Arena. All proceeds will go to the Church Health Center. Lots of prizes will be raffled, and admission is free!   If you’d like to show off your volleyball skills in front of professors and friends, arrive at 6:00 pm on game day to warm up and bring $2.  Sign-up sheets will also be in front of Dr. Ogilvie‘s and Dr. Merat‘s offices. There will be practice on Mondays (March 25 and April 8) at 6:00 pm in Canale to perfect your technique.   Don’t miss out on the bake sale and your chance to buy raffle tickets during lunch outside Alfonso Dining Hall this week! You could win a gift card, or a prize!

Group shot from the 2012 Research Poster Session

Group shot from the 2012 Research Poster Session.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Seventeenth Annual CBU Student Research Poster Session will be held in the Sabbatini Lounge of the Thomas Center. Here are pictures and information from last year’s session.

On Tuesday, April 16, the CBU Math Department will be hosting part of the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association (TMTA) High School Math Tests.  We expect about 160 students this year.

Alumni News

Dr.  Robert Appling, Biology 2003, announced his engagement to Jenny Cappleman. Dr. Appling is graduated from Barry University (2008) and is currently a podiatrist at Southhaven Foot Clinic.

Jennifer Heltonsmith

Jennifer Hiltonsmith

Jennifer Hiltonsmith, Natural Science 2011, is in the Graduate Biology program at the University of Southern Maine. She is currently studying the physiological effects of oil dispersant on blue mussels. With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the presence of the Portland-Montreal pipeline docking station in Maine, it is important to understand the effects that dispersants, which are used to clean up oil spills, may have on the wildlife environment. Blue mussels were selected as the test subject because they are very abundant in Maine and serve as a bioindicator. In addition to her thesis work she is also responsible for teaching Anatomy and Physiology labs. After completion of her master’s degree she plans on working for an environmental testing agency either with the government or in a private sector.

Brandon Maharrey, Biology 2012, was accepted to the Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for this summer.

Kristi Prevost, Biology 2010, has been accepted to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine class of 2017!  Congratulations to Kristi!!!

Hope Shackelford, Biology 2010 and MHIRT, and  Adam Luka, Biology 2009 and MHIRT, were married on February 23, 2013.

Active Student Groups

Beta Beta Beta Bowling for Uganda

Beta Beta Beta Bowling for Uganda

Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society, is a very active student group.  Here is a list of activities the group has held:
February 2012: Inducted 26 full members and 27new members. Samantha
Bownes spoke about her experiences at Hope North through the MHIRT
program.
March 2012: Speaker for Church Health Center spoke at Tri Beta meeting. He
explained the services provided by CHC and encouraged students to apply for internships.
April 2012:  1. Faculty/Student Volleyball tournament for the Church Health Center raised $600.  Faculty won for 2nd year in a row.  2. Arranged for tours of the University
of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Center.  3. Election of new officers.  4. Lasagna dinner (fixed by Dr. Mary Ogilvie) for old and new officers.
May 2012:  Senior members were able to proudly wear their Tri Beta Honor cords to graduation.
October 2012:  Mock Interviews with health professionals.  Julia Hanebrink (MHIRT Program Director) spoke at the meeting about Hope North in Uganda.  Co-sponsored an event with the Honors program for a screening of the movie, Born to be Wild.  This was followed by a talk presented by two zoo staffers from the Memphis Zoo.
November 2012:  Bowling for Hope North raised about $1,000 for the Ugandan community.
December 2012:  Tri Beta & ACS Christmas party and carols.
February 2013:  Induction of 31 associate and 11 full memebers.  Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, was the invited speaker and talked about the ecology of the Mississippi River.
March 2013:  The Volunteer Director from the Church Health Center (CHC) spoke to the grouop about CHC services and encouraged students to apply for internships.

SMACS officers

From left to right, the picture above shows Anna Birg, Vice-President, Robert Banks, National Chemistry Week Chair, Yusef Akbik, President, Esha Thakore, Secretary, Krystyna Clark, Treasurer, Russell Higgins, Senator, and Parth Thakor, Webmaster. Officers not pictured include Tiffany Corkran, Chemistry Olympiad Chair,
Brent Holmes, Social Chair, and Alvin Siow, Photographer/Historian.

The CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) has been very active during the past year.  The club received notification during fall 2012 that it will receive an Honorable Mention Award from the national office of the American Chemical Society for its 2011-2012 chapter activities.  The CBU SMACS chapter was also notified during fall 2012 that it will receive a Green Chemistry Chapter Award from the American Chemistry Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.  Formal presentation of the awards comes at the April 2013 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Anyone with an interest in chemistry or biochemistry is encouraged to join the club; membership includes students from the School of Engineering and most majors in the School of Science.  Yusef Akbik is the current President of the CBU SMACS chapter.

During the month of October, 2012, SMACS celebrated National Chemistry Week and Mole Day.  2012 marked the 75th Anniversary of the American Chemical Society’s Student Members clubs and the 25th Anniversary of National Chemistry Week.  The week began with a surprise demonstration on Monday of Elephant Toothpaste in the lobby of Assisi Hall and continued with Diet Coke and Mentos on Tuesday outside Cooper-Wilson, The Flaming Gummi Bear on Wednesday, a Special Seminar of Chemical Demonstrations by Dr. Harmon Donathan on Thursday, and Foaming Pumpkins in the lobby of Cooper-Wilson on Friday.  The club had its traditional Mole Day Dinner on October 23 at the Spaghetti Warehouse with student members and both current and Emeriti faculty in attendance.  A good time was had by all!

SMACS helping at Science Fair last year

The picture above was taken during the judging portion of the 2012 Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair.

The CBU SMACS Chapter participated in a variety of community service activities during the past year.  The club is one of the sponsors of the Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair.  Members of the club serve important roles in the Fair handling registration, judging middle school science projects, helping with general set-up and program preparation, and serving as courtesy guides.  The CBU chapter was also co-host for the Greater Shelby County local and National Examinations of the Chemistry Olympiad and the local High School Competitive Examination which were sponsored by the Memphis section of the American Chemical Society and were held during spring 2012.

The club participates in a wide range of additional service activities including chemical demonstrations for middle and high school students, participation in the Science Olympiad, participation in activities and demonstrations that promote environmental awareness, and assisting the Admissions Department with demonstration sessions during Science and Engineering Days.

Dominique Garcia-Robles (Left, B.S. Chemistry, 2011) and Kay Powell (Center) are shown talking with Damien Stevenson (B.S., Biochemistry) after the presentation.

Dominique Garcia-Robles, Chemistry 2011 (left) and Kay Powell (Center) are shown talking with Damien Stevenson, Biochemistry major, after the presentation.

The CBU chapter of SMACS participates in a number of activities with Tri-Beta, the Biology Honor Society.  They co-host the annual ACS-Tri-Beta Christmas Party.  Members of the CBU SMACS chapter participate in several Tri-Beta events, including Bowling for Hope North in Uganda and the Annual Volleyball Game for the Church Health Center.  On March 14, 2013, Tri-Beta was the club’s special guest for a joint meeting featuring presentations by Kay Powell on Optometry School and Dominique Garcia-Robles (B.S. Chemistry, 2011) on service opportunities with SVOSH, Student Volunteers for Optometric Service to Humanity. Both Kay Powell and Dominique Garcia-Robles are students at the Southern College of Optometry School.

MAA Chess Tournament this fall

Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Chess Tournament this fall

The Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America received the CREATIVE PROGRAM AWARD for its Chess Tournament at the Greek Awards 2012.  They again hosted the event this past November.  In addition to their usual activities: they created Fibonacci rectangles that resulted in the golden spiral seen through the Cooper-Wilson Science Center,  students from the Geometry and History of Math class shared insights about the origins of zero and early (surprisingly accurate) computations of the Earth’s circumference;  and teams challenged each other in a friendly game of Math Jeopardy.  A new addition to the annual Pi Day celebration was the tattoos members showed off.  Of course, that did not interfere with their eating pie.   The group is planning a trip to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where they will tour the Oak Ridge National Laboratories on March 25th.  The theme of Math Awareness Month 2013 is the Mathematics of Sustainability.  Sustainability is not only a hot national topic, but one that has inspired several initiatives on CBU’s campus in recent years.  The MAA is planning activities to educate the campus about math’s role.

Science Jeopardy contest

Science Jeopardy contest

The CBU chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) held a kite flying event at Shelby Farms in the spring, and had a paper airplane contest that included contestants from Rhodes College.  SPS members also attended the Zone 10 SPS meeting at Henderson State University where Brent Holmes made a presentation.  This fall it held a Science Jeopardy contest where teams from both CBU and Rhodes College competed.   SPS members assisted with three of the Science Olympiad events this spring.  SPS members also joined Rhodes College SPS members at a formal dance at the new Kroc Center this spring.

Math Center Tutors

The Math Center is a very popular place and continues to set new records for usage. It is a place for free one-on-one tutoring in math. It is also a place to do your math homework by yourself or in a study group with others in the center. Here are profiles of two of the tutors. Profiles of some of the other math tutors can be found in previous issues of this newsletter.

Rebekah Herrman

Rebekah Herrman, Math Center Tutor

Rebekah Herrman is a junior Math and Physics double major who graduated from St. Benedict at Auburndale High School.  She has been a tutor in the Math Center since her freshman year.  She has helped many students and has been a real asset to the tutoring program.  Rebekah is the president of the CBU Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and is on the Honors Program Board of Directors.  She also is a resident assistant in Rozier Hall and is involved in campus ministry and the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

Alex Grover, Math Center Tutor

Alex Grover, Math Center Tutor

Alex Grover, a senior Mechanical Engineering major, has been working in the Math Center since the beginning of the semester.  Though his involvement in math tutoring has been brief, he is no stranger to the program.  Over his last four years he has taken many math courses, both fundamental and higher level.   He has enjoyed passing on some of what he has learned to other students.  Aside from tutoring, he has been active in engineering projects on campus as well as internships.

Featured Alum: Christina Brown Tran, Biology 2006

Christina Brown

Christina Brown

My name is Christina Brown Tran. I graduated from CBU in 2006 with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and behavioral science. I started CBU knowing that I wanted to go medical school to become a surgeon. However, life had different plans. I did not get accepted to medical school for the 2006-2007 school year and I was devastated. With the support of some amazing teachers and friends, I found my “plan B.” Little could I have known at the time, my new path would turn out to far surpass my original plan.

I got a job working as a clinic assistant at the Church Health Center, a not-for-profit clinic that provides healthcare for the working uninsured. Through that opportunity, I realized importance of service to the poor. I also went to graduate school and received a Master’s of Science in Epidemiology and worked on a childhood obesity study and a brain development study.

I started medical school in August of 2010 and it was terrible. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done- hours upon hours of studying, missing friends and family, and special events. I spent the first two years of medical school wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But, thankfully, third year changed everything. During the third and fourth years of medical school, students are let loose in clinics and hospitals. Third year has reminded me of why I have been studying so hard- to take care of my patients.

Through all the tears and laughter of the last eleven years, CBU has played a huge role in my life. I met some of my best friends in Dr. Ogilvie’s freshman biology. I met my husband in the Spain Auditorium. I met some of my best advocates in their shoebox offices in the old Science building. I was incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to attend CBU.

Thank You to Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology

From: Wendy Michelle Rose
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 4:45 PM
To: James E. Moore
Subject: RE: statistics help

Hi James,

I have to tell you, I do not ask for help very often.  I could probably count on one hand how many times that I have.  I just want to let you know that the help you gave me may not have seemed like a huge deal to you but it made all of the difference in the world to me.  I messed with those graphs every day in January and could not figure out what I was doing wrong.  I talked to you Thursday morning and had all of my graphs revised by Friday afternoon!  They are now exactly as Dr. Simco requested.  I cannot thank you enough James.

Wendy

Featured Department: Mathematics

The Mathematics Department serves essentially every CBU student and is probably the biggest service department at CBU. It provides courses for Arts majors, courses for Business majors and many courses for Engineering and Science majors. It offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics, a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a dual degree in Math and Computer Science. There are options in the math degree in bioinformatics with a minor in biology or chemistry, and an option in forensics with a minor in biology. Most people recognize that you can teach with a math degree, and we do have a program for teacher licensure in Math. There are lots of other career options with a Math degree.

Math for some students is a fascinating and wonderful subject. For others it is something initially feared and dreaded. This wide range in attitudes and backgrounds in mathematics provides quite a challenge for the department. To handle this challenge, the departmental faculty have tried many different teaching techniques and use a wide array of tools.

Math Center in use

Math Center in use.

It all starts with trying to place students at the appropriate level. The initial placement is based on ACT scores, but the department offers placement tests for those who think their ACT results do not really indicate their level of skill and knowledge.

The Mathematics Department continues to explore ways to increase student success. To meet the needs of students who require a review of algebra before attempting other mathematics courses, the department has recently created three new ALG courses, ALG 110, ALG 115 and ALG 120. The department offers these in the fall in the day program and in the professional program in the evening. They are designed to prepare the student for Finite Math, MATH 105. The department hired Mrs. Sandra Davis a couple years ago to help with the new ALG courses. The Math 103 course was designed as a prerequisite for those that will take Precalculus and Calculus. Both the ALG courses and the MATH 103 course use computer tutorials to supplement instruction by the professor. These tutorials allow students to spend more time concentrating on individual weaknesses.

In the fall semester, the department incorporated the use of online interactive homework in its precalculus course, Math 117. The students in the course completed assessments in precalculus to help them learn and to prepare them for calculus. These assessments were developed at Pierce College in the state of Washington, are free and available at www.myopenmath.com. Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Arthur Yanushka, Professor of Mathematics, modified them for use in CBU’s course.

During the summer of 2012 Dr. Arthur Yanushka developed similar online assessments for Math 132 Calculus II, Math 232 Calculus III and Math 309 Probability. His students used these assessments during the fall and spring semesters.

This is the eighth year of a special course, Math 129, that was designed to improve success for engineering students. The math department calls it MIFE (Mathematics Immersion for Freshman Engineers). Dr. Pascal Bedrossian and Professor Cathy Grilli have been team-teaching Math 129 in the fall semester. In it, students meet for nine contact hours each week and cover the topics of Pre-calculus and Calculus I. The students who succeed in the course are pleasantly surprised in Calculus II when the lectures are less than an hour!

Br. Joel Baumeyer continues to serve as Director of the Math Center which offers free assistance in mathematics, physics and computer science to CBU students. Tutors are typically CBU students majoring in mathematics, engineering or the sciences. These tutors take pride in offering their services to their fellow students. Since moving into the new Math Center room in Cooper-Wilson, student visits have increased from about 1,000 per semester to above 3,700 per semester.

In the upper level courses, the department uses the MAPLE programs to help make the material as visual as possible. Br. Walter Schreiner, Associate Professor of Mathematics, spent many hours of the past couple summers revising and updating MAPLE worksheets and aligning them with our new calculus text. Dr. Leigh Becker, Professor of Mathematics, continues to use MAPLE in his manuscript Ordinary Differential Equations: Concepts, Methods, and Models. CBU uses this manuscript as the text for MATH 231 Differential Equations. Dr. Holmes Peacher-Ryan, Associate Professor of Mathematics, is doing research on the robustness of maximum likelihood factor analysis using five-valued Likert data. As an example of five-valued Likert data, consider the sort of questionnaire we have all seen in which we answer “1″ for “strongly agree”, “2″ for “agree”, “3″ “neutral” or “don’t know”, “4″ for “disagree”, and “5″ for “strongly disagree”. Maximum likelihood factor analysis is a statistical technique which finds underlying factors or “causes” of the pattern of responses to a group of questions.

MAA Halloween Party

Student Chapter of Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Halloween Party

This year four seniors will graduate this year with B.A. or B.S. degrees in mathematics. Besides the usual array of mathematics courses, math majors must also take two semesters of seminar (Math 481-482) in their senior year. A fifth student is also taking seminar but will graduate in 2014.   Raymond Bedrossian’s project is a study of the equations required to track an object, specifically its orientation, using a gyroscope and accelerometer. The main focus is on how to quickly compute the current orientation of the object on a cheap, low powered computer by using linear algebra concepts to create an accurate approximation algorithm as opposed to using exact equations, which can take too long to compute.   Brent Holmes’s project is on chromatic numbers of infinite hypergraphs on the real plane. Brent uses hexagon tilings to prove restrictions on the chromatic numbers.

Aaron Lewis

Aaron Lewis

Aaron Lewis’s project is on the finite element method which includes a myriad of analysis techniques, e.g., direct stiffness method, which help solve for internal forces, stresses, and strains in structural members and systems. This is done by considering elemental adjacencies, external and internal loads, and boundary conditions. Michelle McEachron’s project analyzes non-periodic tilings of the plane.  In particular she looks at how Penrose tiles force a non-periodic tiling when certain guidelines are followed.  Megan Wilson’s project is on using neural networks to estimate breast cancer risks. By using neural networks, a model that uses probability distributions, resampling techniques such as bootstrap can be made to approximate the probability of malignancy directly. Raymond Bedrossian is a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Mathematics. Brent Holmes is a double major in Mathematics and Physics.  Aaron Lewis is a double major in Civil Engineering and Mathematics.

Dr. Leigh Becker, Professor of Mathematics

Dr. Leigh Becker, Professor of Mathematics

Dr. Leigh C. Becker, Professor of Mathematics, submitted a paper for review and publication during spring break entitled Resolvents and Solutions of Singular Volterra Integral Equations with Separable Kernels.  This paper continues his recent efforts to develop techniques for finding closed-form solutions of certain types of integral equations.  The following papers dealing with similar topics were published last year:  Resolvents for weakly singular kernels and fractional differential equations, Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications, 75, Issue 13 (Sept. 2012), pp. 4839-4861, and  Singular integral equations, Liapunov functionals, and resolvents, Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications, 75, Issue 7 (May 2012), pp. 3277-3291 (coauthored with T. A. Burton and I. K. Purnaras).

The Math Department also provides service to the university and community through the Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America which is part of our featured article on Student Groups earlier in this newsletter. In addition, Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is the CBU site director for the West Tennessee section of the Science Olympiad (see News of the Moment section earlier in this newsletter). The Math Department also provides support so that CBU can be a test site for the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association high school tests in the spring.

Note from the Dean

Warm inside

Winter is cold outside, but it is warm and alive inside at CBU.

Life is full of challenges, including those of weather and seasons.  We are starting to come to the end of winter, a time of little daylight, cold, and colds and flu.  As cold as it feels to us here, Memphis doesn’t have the cold of the North, where according to Jack London in his story To Build a Fire:

“He spat upon the snow, — a favorite northland trick, — and the sharp crackle of the instantly congealed spittle startled him. The spirit thermometer at Calumet had registered sixty below when he left, but he was certain it had grown much colder, how much colder he could not imagine.”

Sometimes it helps to compare your problems with others, but the problems still remain.  The person in Jack London’s story started out with full confidence in his abilities, so much so that he disregarded a major safety precaution which Jack London begins his story with:

“For land travel or seafaring, the world over, a companion is usually considered desirable. In the Klondike, as Tom Vincent found out, such a companion is absolutely essential. “

Both students and faculty face problems in college, but at CBU we try very hard to provide that travelling companion to help our faculty and students survive and even thrive in the face of problems.  To tackle real problems and succeed is one of the greatest thrills a person can experience.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter and appreciate the coming spring with its more abundant sunshine and warmer temperatures.

*To read the short story, see: http://london.sonoma.edu/Writings/Uncollected/tobuildafire.html