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SUMS Conference Celebrates its Fifth Year

The fifth annual SUMS conference attracted students from as far away as Michigan and invited speakers from New Jersay and Texas.

Fifty-one student presenters. Twenty-nine presentations. Twenty posters. Two keynote speakers. Add them together and you have the vital statistics for this year’s Shenandoah Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) Conference hosted by JMU.

Students from as far as Michigan attended the October 3 conference, now in its fifth year.

“This year's student presentations were fantastic,” said Laura Taalman, co-director of SUMS and associate professor of mathematics and statistics at JMU. “Each year the undergraduate speakers at SUMS show an impressive level of mathematical sophistication and confidence in presenting their results, and this year was no exception.”

The one-day conference featured 15-minute talks and poster sessions, highlighting the world of collegiate undergraduate mathematical research. The projects covered a vast array of mathematical topics.

“Not only are students often surprised to find that undergraduate research in mathematics is possible, they are also interested to learn how varied this research can be,” said Elizabeth Theta Brown, associate professor of mathematics and statistics and co-director of SUMS. “For example, the mathematics of games and puzzles is a hot topic in undergraduate research, and our puzzle table at SUMS is always very well received.”

In addition to the student research, the conference brought keynote speakers from New Jersey and Texas. Dr. Doron Zeilberger of Rutgers University opened the conference with a talk about his work in the field of summation and the importance of engaging students in undergraduate research.

Dr. Michael Starbird of the University of Texas at Austin closed the conference, speaking about the abstract process of insightful thinking and creation of ideas, called the fourth dimension.

After running SUMS for five years, Taalman and Brown say they have a clear picture of how they want SUMS to turn out each year.

“This was in my opinion our best year,” said Taalman, “with record attendance, a record number of student speakers, and two fantastic invited addresses.”

The conference is supported by a National Science Foundation grant through the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences, the College of Science and Mathematics at JMU, the office of the special assistant to the president for diversity, the department of mathematics and statistics, and the national mathematics honor society, Pi Mu Epsilon.

This year’s student presenters were:

A student presenter discusses equations at this year's SUMS conference on October 3.

  • Sarah Kunkler, College of William and Mary
    The Protocol Paradox of Approval Voting
  • Barbara Brown, University of Mary Washington
    Generalized Dihedral Groups and Geometry
  • Avis Foster, George Mason University
    Numerical Modeling and Analysis of Fluid Structure Interaction in Biological Systems
  • Jamey Szalay, James Madison University
    Separating Signals With Independent Component Analysis
  • Olivia Walch, College of William and Mary
    The Commutant of the Tridiagonal Pattern
  • Robert Abramovic, Johns Hopkins University
    Harmonic Maps on Cayley Graphs and Compactification
  • Josh Snyder, George Mason University
    Analysis of 3D Potts Model Monte Carlo Simulation of Crystalline Grain Growth
  • Elizabeth Bernat, University of Mary Washington
    Numerical Estimates of Temperature Changes Using Finite Difference Methods
  • Reginald Ford, David Melendez, and Juan Ortega, James Madison University
    AYO/MANCALA
  • Hudson Harper, University of South Carolina
    An asymptotic for class numbers of positive fundamental discriminants
  • James O’Beirne, George Mason University
    Modeling Phase Separation in Ternary Alloys
  • Marlene Ouayoro, George Mason University
    Retrieving Economic Parameters of Asset-Flow Equations
  • Samantha Dahlberg, Grand Valley State University
    Prove that Sum: W-Z verses Counting
  • Beihua Yan, University of Virginia
    A Look at the ABC Conjecture via Elliptic Curves
  • Nina Bence and Glenn Young, James Madison University
    Mathematical modeling of the nociceptive withdrawal response of the tail in spinalized rats
  • Franz Hamilton, George Mason University
    Parameter Estimation in a System of Differential Equations
  • Dallas Joder, James Madison University
    Comparison of Priors for Estimation of Binomial Parameters
  • Lydia Garcia and Kylie Robillard, St. Mary's College of Maryland
    Unraveling Untangle
  • Cory Simon, University of Akron
    Compartmental model for the transmission of pandemic H1N1/09
  • James Manning, University of South Carolina
    Exchange Rate Behavior
  • Robert Bradford, Ohio State
    Multivariate Tutte polynomial of graphs and HOMFLYPT polynomial of links.
  • Andrea Faatz, The College of William and Mary
    Traveling Wave Dynamics of Dengue Fever
  • Michael Atkins, George Mason University
    Phase Field and Atomistic Modeling of Grain Boundaries
  • Theodore Dokos, Ohio State University
    The second order coefficient of the ascending or descending Conway Polynomial for virtual knots as a determinant.
  • Immanuel Williams, University of Maryland Baltimore County
    Allocation of Monetary Resources in HIV infected Community
  • Philip Naudus, George Mason University
    Computer Model of Gravitational Lensing Systems
  • Tarik Aougab, University of Pennsylvania
    Geometric Covering Spaces of Julia Sets
  • Yichen Zhou, University of Virginia
    The framework of solving an optimization problem
  • Satyasheel “Monty” Korpe, Virginia Tech
    Field-Induced Motion of a Ferrofluid Droplet through Immiscible Viscous Media

This year’s student poster presenters were:

A student talks about one of the 20 posters presented at the conference.

  • Cameron Atkins, James Madison University
    Pebbles in Graph Theory
  • Joseph Bae
    Ill posedness of the backward heat equation
  • Melissa Bechard and Victoria Stratton, James Madison University
    Microarray and Meta-analysis on Bordetella avium
  • Patricia Bellew, James Madison University
    Trigonometric Functions
  • Kathryn Christian, University of Mary Washington
    Solutions to Laplace's Equation in Modeling Heat Conduction
  • Samuel DuVal, James Madison University
    Topological Demons: Recycled IN 3-SPACE!
  • Kaira Ewald, James Madison University
    Math in Games
  • Leah Haling, James Madison University
    Signal Processing and Acoustic Data
  • Ryan Harter, James Madison University
    Vega Estimation
  • Rachel Kozlowski, James Madison University
    A Mathematical Solution to Sudoku
  • Jonathan Legendre, James Madison University
    Diffusion on a Grid
  • Kun (Justine) Leng, SUNY Buffalo
    Modular Dynamics in Plant Growth and Development
  • Juan Ortega, James Madison University
    AYO/MANCALA
  • Kristen Poland, James Madison University
    Where Are the Mathematicians in the Math Curriculum?
  • Jessica Remmes, James Madison University
    Writing Fractions the Egyptian Way
  • Cory Simon, University of Akron
    Compartmental model for the transmission of pandemic H1N1/09
  • Elizabeth Tuley, Univeristy of Maryland
    Analysis on Fractals - Orthogonal Polynomials on the Sierpinski Gasket
  • Jason Von Hoene, James Madison University
    Series and Sequences
  • Jesse Wagner, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Knots and Unknots
  • Immanuel Williams, University of Maryland Baltimore County
    Allocation of Monetary Resources in HIV infected Community

Published October 2009