MAA Iowa Section Newsletter
Spring 2013

This is the web edition of the Iowa Section Newsletter. To receive a printed copy of the newsletter or to make suggestions/comments, please contact the editor, Amanda Matson,


Joint Section Meeting Report

The joint meeting between the IA, MO, KS, and NE sections took place on April 19-20 in Maryville, MO. This was an experiment to see if we could manage a joint meeting among our four sections. This geographical location is close to the center of the four sections. I don't have an actual count, but there were about 7-10 members from the Iowa section, about 10-15 from the Kansas section, an unknown number from the Nebraska section and about the normal number from the Missouri section. Note, however, that the Kansas section had this meeting in lieu of their annual meeting, not in addition. I sat in on the MO executive committee and on the MO business meeting, just to compare to our section. The MO section has a tradition of a Friday night banquet with a speaker afterwards, but sessions beginning about 1 on Friday. Otherwise, the format and feel are fairly similar. I didn't meet with the rest of the Iowa group during the section gathering time (since I attended the MO business meeting), so I can not reflect the feelings of any other IA attendees. Thus, speaking for myself, I can say that I think that it was a worthwhile experiment but not one that I would want to repeat annually. I had lunch with some of the Kansas folks and they seemed to be in consensus of not trying it again. In summary, I am glad that we tried it and I may even suggest trying it again, but perhaps not with the motive of a merge.

Al Hibbard

Section Governor's Report

no report submitted

Section Chair's Report

No report submitted.

Section Treasurer's Report

No report submitted.

Iowa Section NExT Announcement

Like usual, the MAA's Iowa section will be holding activities for our Iowa-NExT group on the Friday before the sectional meeting. Iowa NExT fellows are invited to join us for our informal workshops and lunch before the section meeting on Friday. All pre-tenure faculty and senior grad students can apply to be Iowa-NExT fellows. Download the application from Iowa-NExT part of this site. If you know of such people in your department, please encourage them to apply.

2012 Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition

The 19th annual Iowa Collegiate Math Competition was held at ISU on Saturday, Feb.23, 2013. The problems and solutions can be found on the competition web site.This year we had 24 teams from 9 different Iowa Colleges and Universities participating. Here the 2013 winners:

1st place: "Units" from ISU (87 points)
2nd place: "Polar Bear's Coordinates" from ISU (77 points)
3rd place: "Gabriel's Horn" from UNI (74 points)

The competition is not to be held at the same location in consecutive years, so even though ISU took 1st and 2nd place we will have UNI host it in 2014. The date will be announced at the Fall Iowa MAA meeting and on the competition web site in October.

See the contest page for further information. For questions or comment, contact:

Ruth Berger
Luther College

Dates of Importance

July 31 - Aug 3, 2013 - MathFest 2013, Hartford, CT.

October 18-19, 2013 - Annual Meeting of the Iowa Section, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA.

January 15-18, 2013 - Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland.

Departmental News

The following items have been submitted by the liaisons for the corresponding departments. If your department has news that is not included, please contact your liaison so that it can be included and have them e-mail the the editor, Amanda Matson,

Central College
Russ Goodman

1. Al Hibbard completed a sabbatical in the spring of 2013.
1.5 Al Hibbard was awarded funding from the The Marvin L. Hackert Faculty Development Fund for Science and Mathematics.
2. Mark Mills is slated to be on sabbatical in the spring of 2014.
3. Mark Mills was promoted to the rank of Professor.
4. Mark Mills received the 2012-2013 Frank W. Moore Faculty Award (for teaching)
5. Wendy Weber was promoted to the rank of Professor.
6. Wendy Weber (along with Maryann Huey, Drake University) were awardees of a 2013-2014 Iowa Mathematics and Science Partnerships grant.
7. Mark Mills passed the actuarial industry's Exam P (Probability) in the summer of 2012.

Clarke University
Amanda Matson

Judy Munshower has finished her term as chair; Sean Bradley will begin as chair of the Clarke math department on June 1st.

Loras College
Angela Kohlhaas

Susan Crook joined the Loras math faculty as its seventh full time member this fall. She has a BS in Mathematics and a BA in French from the University of South Carolina and a MS in Applied Mathematics from North Carolina State University. She is currently finishing her doctoral work in numerical analysis at NCSU. Susan is an avid promoter and user of inquiry-based learning. She is ecstatic to be part of a teaching community that values active learning and realizes students are more than grades on paper. In her spare time, Susan enjoys reading, trivia games, catching up on sleep, and baking. A life long southerner, the largest adjustments after moving to Iowa have been getting weird looks when she uses the word "y'all" and trying not to freeze to death.

Luther College
Ruth Berger

Eric Westlund will be taking over as department chair from Richard Bernatz, congratulations Richard!

Ruth Berger presented a talk ìDeveloping Intuition for Hyperbolic Geometryî in the session on ìEngaging Undergraduates in Geometryî at MathFest in Madison last August.

An article authored by Richard Bernatz entitled ìFlood Frequency Estimation by Neyman-Scott Rectangular Pulse Rainfall Model and TopModelî is included in Volume 118, Issue 104 of Journal of the Iowa Academy of Sciences.

Kyle Fey directed Luther student Shane Wilson in a senior honors project. Shane found optimal strategies for controlling Dengue fever outbreaks by combining the isolation of infected individuals with a release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

This past summer, Mike Johnson worked with Luther student Sarah McRoberts on an undergraduate research project using Cellular Automata. Sarah presented a poster on their work in November at the Midstates Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium poster session titled "Using Stochastic Cellular Automata to Model the Growth and Competition Between Two Stationary Species".

Paul Savariappan coauthored three papers:

Mount Mercy University
John Robeson

Dr. Jitka Stehnova of Mount Mercy University received a Tensor Grant for Women in Mathematics from MAA for her ExploreU@MMU project. This is a continuation of the pilot program for middle school girls started last year which was supported by the Giacoletto Foundation grant to Dr. Stehnova.

Northwestern College
Kim Jongerius

Northwestern's math department has been graduating eight to ten students each year, approximately one-third each in math, math teaching, and actuarial science. Our actuarial science majors continue to do very well, with an 88% exam pass rate over the past five years and most students graduating with two or three exams passed. Recent grads are employed at The Principal Financial Group, Nationwide Insurance, and Modern Woodmen of America.

Simpson College
Heidi Berger

The 2012-13 academic year was an active one at Simpson! We had six students participate in the fifth annual Bryan Summer Research Program. The projects were led by Murphy Waggoner and Heidi Berger. These students presented their work at MathFest in Madison, with one group receiving an outstanding presentation award for their work.

Our students participated in a number of mathematical competitions, including the Putnam Exam and COMAP's MCM/ICM in February. We had over 20 teams participating in the MCM/ICM, with four teams earning an honorable mention and one team earning a meritorious ranking for their solutions.

We also did some outreach to the community. In April, we hosted the 10th annual MUMS (Midwestern Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium) with funding from the MAA's RUMC grant. We had around 120 participants attend, with plenary addresses from T.J. Hitchman of UNI and Rick Gilman of Valparaiso. We also brought in a special performance of Calculus: The Musical!

In May, we had 31 seniors graduate, with 9 having plans of attending graduate school, 3 teaching high school, 3 securing jobs as actuaries, and the rest working in business and industry. We also had one graduate be accepted as a Fulbright Scholar to teach English in Nepal next year.

This summer we will have 6 students participate in the Bryan Summer Program led by Bill Schellhorn and Deb Czarneski and 5 students participate in summer research through an MAA NREUP grant with Heidi Berger.

We are also preparing for our third summer workshop that teaches high school students and teachers about COMAP's HiMCM competition in November. This workshop is led by Rick Spellerberg and Heidi Berger and will employ 7 current undergraduates at Simpson and 2 alumni. This is funded by an MAA Tensor SUMMA grant. We are also excited to have 7 students accepted at off-campus research programs this summer with another 4 students obtaining off campus internships.

We look forward to what the 2013-14 year has to offer.

University of Dubuque
Monica Meissen

The University of Dubuque folks have been very busy. Mathematics split from the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences to form their own department during the 2012-13 school year with Dr. Monica Meissen serving as the chair. The main goal of the newly formed department was to work together to create a new mathematics major (B.S.) which has been approved effective Fall of 2013. Our new hire, Dr. Roseanne Wolf, who graduated from the University of Iowa last year, has now completed her first year at UD, and we are happy that Corissa Goertzen, who will graduate from The University of Iowa this summer, will join us next year. Our course offerings will be expanding to include 10 new courses (some offered every other year, or as demand warrants). Next year, math will join CIS (Computer Information Systems) and form a blended department with Prof. Teresa Nickeson as the new department chair. Next year will also be Dick Smith's tenth year of teaching at UD, and his 46th year teaching overall. Whew!!