Florida Section Newsletter
The Mathematical Association of America
May 2003
Volume 24, Issue 3


bullet36th Annual Meeting
bulletTeaching Award
bulletService Award
bulletBusiness Meeting
bulletExecutive Committee Meeting
bulletFinancial Statement
bulletAwards Committee
bulletNominating Committee
bulletMathematics in the Sun
bulletGovernor's Report
bulletStudent Activities
bulletCampus News
bulletEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University
bulletFlorida Atlantic University
bulletPolk Community College
bulletSt. Petersburg College
bulletUniversity of South Florida

Officers of the Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America
2003 - 2004


Judy Jones
Department of Mathematics
Valencia Community College
(407) 582-2491

Past President

David Kerr
Department of Mathematics
Eckerd College
(727) 864-8437

Vice-President, Programs

Lubomir Markov
Department of Mathematics
Barry University
(305) 899-3612

Vice-President, Site Selection

Stephanie Fitchett
Department of Math and Sciences
Florida Atlantic University
(561) 799-8613


Joe Skala
Department of Mathematics
St. Petersburg College
(727) 791-2558

Coordinator of Student Activities

Shrinivas Dalal
Department of Mathematics
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
(386) 226-6658

Newsletter Editor

Bill Rush
Department of Mathematics
St. Petersburg College
(727) 341-4660


Marilyn Repsher
Department of Mathematics
Jacksonville University
(904) 256-7306


Scott Hochwald
Department of Mathematics
University of North Florida
(904) 620-2653

Vice-President-Elect, Programs

Pam Crawford
Department of Mathematics
Jacksonville University
(904) 256-7303

Vice-President-Elect, Site Selection

John R. Waters Jr.
Department of Mathematics
Manatee Community College
(941) 408-1492


36th Annual Meeting
Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America


I think it is safe to say that this past February’s joint meeting of FL-MAA and FTYCMA was a huge success - over 180 people in attendance, almost $1,500 in MAA book sales, some very delicious afternoon cookies and tea from W. H. Freeman Publishers, and a scrumptious continental breakfast from John Wiley.  The meeting included four plenary speakers, four workshops, seven papers by undergraduate students and over twenty contributed papers from mathematicians from around the state.

As you might expect, a lot of people worked very hard to make this meeting so successful and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication to collegiate mathematics.  First off, we owe a great deal of thanks and appreciation to Ken and Betty Pothoven for their work on the registration table and for coordinating the MAA book sales.  Ken has been the section’s Secretary/Treasurer for the last three years but that simple title really belies all the work that is involved with his position.  Without doubt, he has done an outstanding job coordinating and balancing more details at any moment in time than any one of us can imagine.

I have had the privilege of helping Ken and Betty set up the registration area at each of the last three meetings.  They do this late Thursday night, sometimes still working as the clock is approaching midnight and, as good as Ken is, Betty is even better.  She orchestrates the entire set up and directs each of us in a multitude of details and, believe you me, it is no small task getting some of us mathematicians to secure the MAA-blue table skirt onto the edges of the registration tables.

Jacci White, from Saint Leo University, also deserves a lot of thanks and appreciation for the success of this years meeting.  As our section’s Vice-President for Programs, she designed a truly outstanding program - a template worthy of emulation in future years.  Plenary sessions by Bob Devaney, Tina Straley, Ron Graham, and Erich Friedman made the program outstanding.  Complementing these with workshops on calculator and computer technology, developmental mathematics and the mathematics of business decision-making just made the meeting better.  Most importantly, designing a series of diverse contributed paper sessions - crafted in such a way so that everyone could find something of interest at every given time - gave our sectional meeting the richness and variety of a national meeting.

I would like to thank Pam Crawford and Mike Nancarrow of Jacksonville University for their outstanding work in hosting our meeting.  Pam and Mike worked as co-chairs of the Local Arrangements Committee.  They did an awful lot of work and coordinated the most minute of details (some of them - like the request for signage with big lettering - even imposed by myself).  Pam and Mike were personally involved in every detail and the success of this meeting is a direct reflection on their professionalism.  They did not work alone, though, and so I would also like to thank the following Jacksonville University faculty and staff:

bulletSanjay Rai -- for many things, particularly coordinating technology and getting W. H. Freeman and John Wiley  to sponsor food;
bulletMarilyn Repsher -- for overall guidance and a source of answers to many organizing questions;
bulletBob Hollister -- for signage (i.e., BIG signs for directions and listings of talks outside of rooms);
bulletMarcelle Bessman -- for coordinating the participation of the publishing companies; 
bulletPete Ryan -- for food presentation;
bulletMel Hazen --   for supervising Math Lab student workers in setting up the registration area and then staffing the registration area with helpers throughout the meeting;
bulletJudy San Socie and Deborah Sylvester -- secretaries for the Jacksonville University Division of Science and Math -- for invaluable support, particularly with regard to the registration folders and their contents.

There are lots of other people deserving our thanks and appreciation - Mike Mears for his work on the Awards Committee, Chuck Lindsey for his work on the Nominating Committee, Scott Hochwald for his work on the Site-Selection Committee, Bill Rush for his work with the website, Debbie Garrison for coordinating FTYCMA activities, and many others.  Let me, in closing, just say a general thank-you to everyone involved.

To me, the success of the Florida Section, can trace its roots to the performance of one man - Fred Zerla from the University of South Florida.  Fred established the work ethic that each of us, no matter the institution we come from, strive to emulate.  He set the standard and he has been awarded lots of awards, including both the sectional and national distinguished service awards from the MAA.  He is retiring this month from the State University System and we wish him well in the future.  Fair Winds and Following Seas, Fred.


David Kerr
Past President


Florida Section

Mathematical Association
of America

Distinguished Teaching Award


For the gratitude you have earned from a multitude of students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels;

For your clear and understandable way of presenting material so that regardless the topic, whether Calculus I or Leray-Schauder Degree Theory, the students were always challenged by the rigor, depth and beauty of the mathematics yet to come;

For your successful work directing Ph.D. dissertations in the areas of nonlinear functional analysis, partial differential equations and control theory;

But, perhaps most of all, for your remarkable ability to draw out the highest levels of accomplishment and performance in your students,

The 2003 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics for the state of Florida is Athanassios Kartsatos, University of South Florida.


Florida Section

Mathematical Association
of America

Distinguished Service Award


For your continuing service as the section's Newsletter Editor;

For your successful work in transferring the newsletter to an electronic format;

For your development of a state-wide listserv to facilitate communication among all persons in the state interested in mathematics;

But, most importantly, for the initiative, artistic creativity, and exemplary performance in developing and maintaining the section's website,

The 2003 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics for the state of Florida is Bill Rush, Saint Petersburg College.


Annual Business Meeting
Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America
Jacksonville University
February 22, 2003

President David Kerr called the meeting to order at 1:25 P.M.

He extended a welcome to all and thanked Jacci White (Chair of the Program Committee), Chuck Lindsey (Chair of the Nominating Committee), Ben Fusaro (Coordinator of the Student Activities), Pam Crawford and Mike Nancarrow (Local Arrangements Committee), and all the plenary speakers and presenters of the 2003 meeting.

Marilyn Repsher gave the Governor’s Report.  She reported that (1) the MAA will conduct the next election electronically as well as by mail; (2) the MAA received a $3 million donation from Paul and Virginia Halmos to be used to fund conferences and to renovate the Carriage House; (3) there will be a Henry L. Adler Award for Distinguished Teaching; (4) a large number of NSF grants are available; and (5) she reported on the upcoming Math Awareness month.

Ken Pothoven gave the Secretary/Treasurer report.  He reported that at the beginning of the calendar year 2002, the Section had assets of $5,299.55 and that at the end of 2002, the Section had assets of $7,657.88.  The savings have come from the discontinuation of the printed newsletter.

Newsletter editor Bill Rush demonstrated the Section’s website and informed the gathering on how to sign up for the Section listserv.

Scott Hochwald reported for the Site Selection Committee.  The 2005 meeting will be at Manatee Community College and the 2004 meeting will be at the University of Central Florida on February 20-21.

Sanjay Rai gave the report of the Nominating Committee.  The nominations from the committee are:


Secretary/Treasurer – Joe Skala


Newsletter Editor – Bill Rush


Coordinator of Student Activities – Shrinivas Dalal


President-Elect – Scott Hochwald


Vice-President-Elect for Programs – Pam Crawford


Vice-President-Elect for Site Selection – John Waters

There were no nominations from the floor.  By acclamation, all nominees were elected.

David Kerr presented amendments to the bylaws as approved by the Executive Committee.  They are as follows.

Article VI, Section 1 would be replaced by the paragraph "Standing committees of the Section include the Executive Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Program Committee, the Site Selection Committee, the Local Arrangements Committee, and the Awards Committee.  The President may appoint other ad hoc committees to carry out the work and activities of the Section."

Article VI, Section 2 would be replaced by the paragraph "The Executive Committee shall appoint the members of the Nominating Committee in such a way that the Nominating Committee is representative of the varied professional and geographic affiliations of the Section membership.  The Program Committee shall consist of the Vice-President for Programs and the Vice-President-Elect for Programs.  The Site Selection Committee shall consist of the Vice-President for Site Selection and the Vice-President-Elect for Site Selection.  The Awards Committee shall consist of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Past Presidents and the committee shall be chaired by the 4th Past President."

These were approved.

Ken Pothoven read a citation to the host institution.

The meeting adjourned at 1:55 P.M.


Executive Committee Meeting
Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America
Jacksonville University
February 21, 2003

President David Kerr called the meeting to order at 9:30 A.M.  Each one present introduced himself or herself.  Present were committee members Stephanie Fitchett, Scott Hochwald, Judy Jones, David Kerr, Chuck Lindsey, Lubo Markov, Ken Pothoven, Marilyn Repsher, Bill Rush, and Jacci White.  Present representing FTYCMA was Debbie Garrison.

The minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of April 27, 2002 were approved.


  1. Ken Pothoven, Secretary/Treasurer, gave the financial report.  The report showed a balance of $8,287.81 in assets for the Florida Section as of 2/18/2003.  All the receipts and none of the expenses for the 2003 meeting were included as yet in the statement.

  2. Marilyn Repsher gave the Governor’s Report.  She reported that (1) the MAA will conduct the next election electronically as well as by mail, (2) the MAA received a $3 million donation from Paul and Virginia Halmos to be used to fund conferences and to renovate the Carriage House, and (3) that there will be a Henry L. Adler Award for Distinguished Teaching.

  3. Newsletter Editor Bill Rush gave his report.  He gave deadlines for the next newsletter and informed the Committee about the website and the listserv of the section.

  4. President-Elect Judy Jones reported on the regional meetings.  She reported on the Central Florida, First Coast, Suncoast, and West Coast regional meetings.

  5. There was no report from the Coordinator of Student Activities.  The Executive Committee suggested the registration form be redesigned so that students presenting papers must pre-register for the conference and the banquet though there is no actual cost incurred by the student.

  6. Scott Hochwald, Vice-President for Site Selection, reported that the 2005 meeting would be held at Manatee Community College either in February or March.  A decision of the time for the meeting will be made after the 2004 meeting.

  7. Jacci White, Vice President for Programs, distributed the programs for the 2003 meeting. The Committee complimented her on a very well planned meeting.

  8. There was no report from the Local Arrangements Committee.

  9. Chuck Lindsey, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported on the nominations to be voted upon at the Annual Business Meeting.  The following are the nominees.


Secretary/Treasurer – Joe Skala


Newsletter Editor – Bill Rush


Coordinator of Student Activities – Shrinivas Dalal


President-Elect – Scott Hochwald


Vice-President-Elect for Programs – Pam Crawford


Vice- President- Elect for Site Selection – John Waters

  1. Debbie Garrison reported for FTYCMA.  She reported that the board for FTYCMA will be meeting at 10:30 A.M. this day.

New Business

The Committee approved a motion to have the signatures of Joe Skala and Ken Pothoven as signatories on the checking account.

Stephanie Fitchett led a discussion on establishing a sectional Project NExT.  She stated that the NExT fellows in the state would need to be involved and the backing of the Florida Section would be needed.  She was asked to contact NExT fellows in the state and determine their interest in being involved and to report back at the next meeting of the Executive Committee.

The Committee meeting adjourned at 10:55 P.M.


Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America
4/26/02 to 2/18/03

BALANCE ON HAND 4/26/02:            $7,042.59
           Suntrust Bank Checking Account $7,042.59
RECEIPTS: $3,049.21
Registration - 2003 Meeting $740.00
Conference Dinner - 2003 Meeting $532.00
Luncheon - 2003 Meeting $323.00
Publisher Contributions $450.00
Registration Change $0.00
MAA National $900.00
Book Sales Receipts $104.21
EXPENSES: $741.37
Annual Meeting Expenses (2003 Program Printing)           $0.00
Food - 2003 Meeting $0.00
Miscellaneous Annual Meeting Expenses $19.00
Postage $79.87
Registration Change $0.00
Awards $642.50
Book Sales Payment $0.00
BALANCE ON HAND 2/18/03: $9,350.43
Suntrust Bank Checking Account $9,350.43
Exxon Program $250.59
Suncoast Region $728.03
Gold Coast $84.00
TOTAL ASSETS: $8,287.81

Awards Committee

The Awards Committee is seeking recommendations for two awards to be given at our state meeting in 2004:
bulletThe Service Award to be given for outstanding service to the Florida Section
bulletThe Teaching Award to recognize distinguished college or university teaching

Send your nominations by Friday, November 15, 2003 to the Chair of the Awards Committee:

Walter Walker
Eckerd College

Please include the individual’s name and school/college/university (or other) affiliation.

Past award recipients can be found at http://www.spcollege.edu/central/maa/archives/.

Call For Nominations

The Florida Section is looking for a few good mathematicians to serve in the following capacities:

bulletVice-President-Elect for Programs
bulletVice-President-Elect for Site Selection

If you would like to nominate any Section members (including yourself) for any or all of these positions, please send a brief note to the chair of the Nominating Committee:

David Kerr
Eckerd College

Please be sure to include in your note the individual’s name and school/college/university (or other) affiliation.

Past officers can be found at http://www.spcollege.edu/central/maa/archives/.


Mathematics in the Sun

Mathematics in the Sun Second Annual Retreat will be held on the campus of St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs, Florida, September 26-27, 2003.  This year's Retreat, A Celebration of Teaching, will focus on teaching strategies that facilitate the teaching and learning of mathematics at any level.  There will be lots of opportunities for discussion among participants.  Registration is free.  Hotel information will be available soon.

bulletRegistration Form
bulletSpeaker Proposal Form

Norma M. Agras
Department of Mathematics
Miami-Dade Community College
Fax:  (305)237-7652
Phone:  (305)237-7461
Email:  nagras@mdcc.edu


Governor's Report
Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America

Marilyn Repsher

MAA is again sponsoring PREP (Professional Enhancement Programs) workshops on a wide variety of topics.  See the MAA web page for details and deadlines.  There are also a number of PMET (Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers) workshops for which the deadline has not passed.  The MAA web page has details as well.

By now you should have been able to cast your ballot in the national elections either by mail or electronically.  It is hoped that the electronic balloting will provide a speedy and efficient method.

Tina Straley, MAA Executive Director, attended a mathematics summit in February convened by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.  The meeting was to provide a first focus for the President’s No Child Left Behind initiative.  Although many of the speakers lacked first-hand experience in teaching mathematics, a number of interesting points were made about content, pedagogy, and teachers.  If you would like a copy of Ms. Straley’s report, please email me at mrepshe@ju.edu.

A report on developmental mathematics sponsored by the Florida Two Year College Mathematics Association, FTYCMA, is just out.  For details, contact Norma Agras at Miami-Dade Community College or another member of FTYCMA.

The Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics, CUPM, has sent word that the new curriculum guide will be available at the Joint Meetings in January 2004.  Look for a panel discussion on the guide at the Phoenix meeting.  I have recently been appointed to CUPM so I should be able to report more completely after the summer meeting.

Student Activities of the Florida Section
Mathematical Association of America

36th Annual Meeting
Jacksonville University
February 21-22, 2003

The following seven undergraduate students, representing both public and private universities across the state, presented at the 36th Annual Meeting.

Sara York
Florida Atlantic University

Factoring in a Timely Fashion

Abstract:  Many encryption systems rely on the difficulty of factoring large numbers.  This talk will describe two variations of a factoring algorithm based on the trick of expressing the number to be factored as a difference of perfect squares.  A comparison for the algorithms will be provided.


John Richard Samuels Jr.
Florida Atlantic University

Fractal Dimension:  An Analysis of Different Definitions

Abstract:  We will explore two of the most widely used definitions of fractal dimension.  The goal is to provide an example where the different definitions produce different results.  This example will highlight the meaning and interpretation of each definition of dimension, as well as reveal the drawbacks of each definition.


Anthony Genova
Aeronautical University

Assessment of NEAR XGRS X-ray spectra

Abstract:  The objective of this work is to quantitatively assess NEAR XGRS X-ray spectra for evidence of weak X-ray lines.  The results included temporal fluctuations observed in the received data that followed a Poissonian statistical distribution and a constructed model of X-ray fluorescence spectra including background and line features.  Verification implies likelihood functions for the X-ray data can be developed using Poisson probability densities.  The X-ray fluorescence spectra model is currently crude but captures principal features and provides basis for statistical signal detection.


Adam Singleton & Brian Lane
Jacksonville University

MCM 2002:  The Fountain Dilemma

Abstract:  Ornamental fountains can create an enjoyable environment or unexpected showers.  The key to keeping passersby dry is adjusting maximum water column height to compensate for wind induced spray.  We develop an algorithm utilizing the Golden Ratio to maximize aesthetic appeal while minimizing fountain over-spray, keeping onlookers both dry and happy.


Paul Stuk & Katie Spence
Stetson University

A Meritorious Solution to the 2002 MCM Airline Problem

Abstract:  One of the two Mathematical Contests in Modeling problems in 2002 concerned modeling airline revenues, and specifically how overbooking and a possible terrorist attack might affect those revenues.  Our group analyzed the problem from several perspectives:  analytical, a simple Monte Carlo model, and finally a very complicated Monte Carlo model.


Katie Spence
Stetson University

A Markov Chain Model for Baseball

Abstract:  We obtain play-by-play data from the 2002 Major League season and develop a Markov-Chain model based on this data.  The model involves a transition matrix representing the possible changes in plays during a game.  By dividing the overall model into smaller parts, we can examine possible differences in leagues, divisions, and teams.  We will use a Monte Carlo simulation to check the model accuracy, and statistical methods such as a chi-square test to compare different models.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Axiom - Newsletter of the ERAU MAA Student Chapter

bulletApril 2003 - Volume 6, Issue 2

Florida Atlantic University


Florida Atlantic University is pleased to welcome Terje Hoim to the faculty of the Honors College, beginning in August of 2003.  Dr. Hoim completed her Ph.D. at Kent State University in 2000, and comes to FAU from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she has just completed a prestigious three year postdoctoral position as the Harold L. Dorwart Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics.  Welcome, Terje!


FAU's Honors College is also celebrating the graduation of its first mathematics student, John Samuels.  In the fall, Johnny will be entering the graduate program in Applied Mathematics at North Carolina State University.  Congratulations, Johnny!

Polk Community College

The Polk Community College Team participated in the 2003 Florida Math Olympics at UNF-Jacksonville on April 5, 2003.  With impressively fine performances, our team won both Individual and Team Championships!  The Individual Champion is Ramez (Ramsiss) Shebl, and our Championship team members are Tom Joyce, Robert Lamar, Santos Medina, Elliott Rice, and Ramsiss.  The team was coached and led by the faculty member Li Zhou.  Most of these fine students are graduating or near graduation and intend to major in math or computer science.  They will transfer to USF, Stetson, and other four-year colleges.  We would like to thank UNF and Scott Hochwald for their tireless dedication in challenging and inspiring two-year college students!

St. Petersburg College

Jim Rutledge, St. Petersburg College / Gibbs campus, was invited to participate in a conference workshop as a member of the Mathematical Sciences Conference Group on Digital Educational Resources at the MAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in March.   Representatives from several national digital libraries and organizations were present and progress was reported on federated searching as well as on individual library projects.  Jim is the co-Editor-in-Chief of the MERLOT-Mathematics Editorial Board.

University of South Florida


Four faculty at the USF Department of Mathematics are retiring this year.

Edwin Clark arrived at USF in 1970 six years after receiving his Ph.D. from Tulane University.  Initially and perhaps ultimately an algebraist (rings and semigroups), he also worked in physics and various areas in combinatorics, especially graph theory and coding theory (he spent a year visiting the National Security Agency) (his Erdos number is 2).  He had seven doctoral and two masters students.  He was active in the upper division of the undergraduate program, and designed the MAPLE class here.

Samuel Isaak arrived at USF in 1968 three years after receiving a Ph.D. from Indiana University.  Initially working in differential geometry, tensor analysis, and related fields, he turned to undergraduate education, where he has taught all courses in the line from pre-calculus to differential geometry.  He received a Teaching Incentive Program award, and was the mathematics representative to the USF teachers' program for the Peace Corps.

Joseph Liang arrived at USF in 1970 a year after receiving a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.  He worked in algebra, number theory, and several applications of mathematics to computer science.  He had seven doctoral students, and was Associate Director of the Institute for Constructive Mathematics.  He was also active in mathematics education, helping bring nearly a million dollars in educational grants to USF, and serving as Program Director of the Hillsborough County/USF Summer Program for the Gifted.

Fredric Zerla arrived at USF in 1963, four years before getting a Ph.D. from Florida State University.  He was one of the principal organizers of the lower division of the undergraduate program, and was Undergraduate Advisor for many years.  He also organized and ran the USF Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (the national mathematics honor fraternity) and the USF Chapter of the Mathematics Association of America.  He has been interim Department Chair, Speaker of the Faculty Senate, and President of the Florida Section of the MAA.  (He also ran the Suncoast Region of the MAA for many years.)  He has held many other positions, and has won many honors, including a Distinguished Service Award for the Florida Section of the MAA.

We wish them all well on their further adventures.


The Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Computer Science & Engineering, and Mathematics, are launching a new Master's Program in Bioinformatics this fall.  The Masters in Bioinformatics will cover some of the new developments in the structure of proteins and other complex molecules, and in computational and mathematical analysis of these molecules and the structures that they form.  This program can be taken by itself, or in parallel with other doctoral programs.

2005, All Rights Reserved, Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America
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