North Central Mathematical Bulletin

The newsletter of the North Central Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America

Volume 9 Number 2 September 2006

Table of Contents

Governor's Report Fall Meeting
President's Report Campus News
Secretary's Report

Conferences and Courses

Treasurer's Report

Future Section Meetings

2006 Section Team Competition

Meetings of Other Sections

2006 Section Distinguished Teaching Award Information for Contributors
2006 Section Meritorious Service Award  

Governor's Report




President's Report


I'd like to begin by congratulating Dave Appleyard, our 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award winner and Dan Kemp, our section Meritorious Service Award winner.  Together Dan and Dave have served their colleges, their students, and us--their colleagues--for over three-quarters of a century with grace, wisdom and dignity. I've had the personal pleasure of working with Dave for twelve years and associating with Dan on the section executive committee; it's hard to imagine a more deserving (and, well, distinguished and meritorious) pair of winners.  It was gratifying to see their great service honored at our spring meeting.  And, I should say, thanks are due to our hosts at Mankato for a delightful meeting, especially Namyong Lee who chaired the organizing committee.

I would also like to thank the members of the section awards committees: Matt Richey, Su Dorée, and Ivy Knoshaug, on the teaching award committee, and Eric Lund, Donna Flint, and Gail Nelson on the service award committee.  I encourage you all to consider nominating a deserving colleague for one of these awards. It's easy; guidelines can be found on the section webpage, or you can consult with any member of the appropriate committee.

Plans are proceeding for the Summer Seminar to be held at Carleton July 16-20, 2007.  We're thrilled that Jon Borwein has agreed to deliver a series of lectures based on his newest book, Experimental Mathematics in Action, due out this fall.  Registration for the workshop, called Experimental Mathematics in Action: Insight from Computing, will open later this fall.  Watch the section webpage for details.  Or, even better, come to Morris October 27-28, hear some great mathematics talks (Ivy Knoshaug and David Wolfe!) and ask me how the planning is going.

Morris has a new game room on campus and we're making mathematical games a theme of the meeting.

I hope to see you there.


Secretary's Report


The Spring 2006 section meeting was held at Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, Minnesota. Sixty people attended. Invited speakers were Steven Willson of Iowa State University, Lowell Beineke of Indiana University Purdue, and Laurie Heyer from Davidson College.

The Fall 2006 meeting will be held at the University of Minnesota - Morris in Morris, Minnesota. Preliminary details and a call for papers are elsewhere on the web page. The Spring 2007 meeting will be at the College of St. Catherine.


Treasurer's Report


As the school year begins I am happy to report that the section's finances are in good order and I am looking forward to another successful year of section activities.  I would also like to encourage each of our section's colleges and universities to become institutional members of the NCS-MAA.  The cost is $25.00 per academic year and starting this year all proceeds will be used to support our section's Project NExT activities.   I will be sending out notices to our section's department heads in the near future.  I look forward to seeing all of you at our fall meeting at the University of Minnesota, Morris.


2006 NCS Team Competition

The ninth annual NCS/MAA Team Contest will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2006, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Colleges and universities are invited to enter as many teams as they wish, of up to three undergraduate students each.

An announcement and call for registrations has been sent by email this month to at least one person from each collegiate department of mathematics in the section. If you are unsure whether anyone from your department is receiving these announcements, contact Jerry Heuer at More information on the contest can be found here.

2006 Distinguished Teaching Award

The North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America presented its 2006 Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics to David Appleyard from Carleton College at its Spring 2006 meeting, held at Minnesota State University - Mankato.

A complete citation summarizing Professor Appleyard's accomplishments appears on the Distinguished Teaching Award web page.


2006 Meritorious Service Award

The North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America presented its 2006 Meritorious Service Award to Daniel Kemp of South Dakota State University at its Spring 2006 meeting, held at Minnesota State University - Mankato.

A complete citation highlighting Professor Kemp's work will be posted on the Meritorious Service Award web page shortly.


Morris: where the fun is!

The University of Minnesota, Morris will host the MAA/NCS Fall Meeting, October 27-28.  This fall's meeting will take on a "games" theme.  More information can be found by clicking here.  For more information on contributing a paper, click here

The MAA/NCS Spring Meeting will be held at the College of Saint Catherine, April 13-14, 2007.


Campus News


Augsburg College

Augsburg College is pleased to welcome new tenure-track faculty member Jody Sorensen. She brings a wealth of experience in undergraduate research in dynamical systems and in service to the MAA. We also have three temporary faculty working with us this year. Jerry Eddy has retired twice - once as a professor of physics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and once as a Long Island secondary school teacher with years of experience teaching AP Calculus. Elisa Vasquez-Rifo just earned her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin in o-minimality, an area which falls in the intersection of logic and real algebraic geometry.". Todd Wadsworth brings a background in teaching college mathematics and coaching lacrosse.  (Submitted by Su Dorée)



Bemidji State University


We had several staffing changes at Bemidji State University this year.  Clayton Knoshaug retired last spring after 38 years of service to our department.  His outstanding teaching and many hours of one-on-one work with students will certainly be missed.  We also lost two long time fixed-term members of our faculty: Barb Ranson and Greg Sarles.   This year we welcome two new tenure-track faculty.  Rich Spindler comes to us after completing a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Vermont.   Rich also holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and has several years of industrial experience.   We also welcome Ryan Hutchinson, who recently completed a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame.   Ryan's dissertation work is in Algebraic Coding Theory.  (Submitted by Randy Westhoff)


College of Saint Benedict / Saint John's University

The Mathematics Department at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University welcomes alumna Cathy Isaac to our department and Jennifer Galovich and Tom Sibley back to the department after their sabbaticals.  We also congratulate Bob Hesse on receiving tenure and promotion.   (Submitted by Tom Sibley)


College of Saint Catherine

We congratulate Dan O’Loughlin on his tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  Ann Sweeney was elected to the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Board of Directors as the Vice-President for Mathematics, representing the colleges and universities in Minnesota.  Dan O’Loughlin and Adele Marie Rothan, CSJ joined about 410 college/university statistics teachers and AP Statistics teachers in Lincoln, Nebraska 11 – 19 June and graded over 89,000 AP Stat Exams!  The AP disciplines (statistics, biology, physics) at this section have outgrown the facilities in Lincoln and are scheduled to move to Louisville next summer.  John Wenzel graded AP Calculus.  Yvonne Ng and Lori Maxfield, Education, presented a paper at the American Society for Engineering Education Conference in June.  Rochelle Pereira participated in the Park City Mathematics Institute in a knot theory workshop, 25 June – 15 July.  She completed her year as a Project NeXT Fellow at MathFest where she also moderated a panel about undergraduate math clubs.

Looking Ahead:  St. Kate’s will host the spring meeting of the North Central Section the 13 - 14 April 2007.  (Submitted by Adele Marie Rothan)


Concordia College - Moorhead

Daniel P. Biebighauser finished the Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University this past August, with a thesis in topological graph theory, and joined the faculty of mathematics and computer science at Concordia College. Dan is a 2002 graduate of Concordia.  (Submitted by Jerry Heuer)


Dakota Wesleyan University

Dr. Mike Catalano is in the second year as Principle Investigator for a National Science Foundation Grant, developing an innovative text for College Algebra tentatively entitled Algebra:  Modeling Our World.  The grant project (DUE – 0442979) is entitled College Algebra in Context: A Learner-centered Approach Incorporating Data-driven Activities Related to Social Issues.  The text is modeled on Understanding Our Quantitative World by Andersen and Swanson, a 2005 MAA publication.  A preliminary version of the text can be viewed at  Mike will be happy to talk with anyone willing to consider piloting materials.

Dr. Rocky (Rochelle) VonEye has been promoted to Full Professor.  (Submitted by Mike Catalano)


Gustavus Adolphus College

In the spring of 2006 Ron Graham visited Gustavus as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Lecturer. During his two-day visit he presented two well-attended lectures, one on the mathematics of juggling and the other discussing some important unsolved problems in mathematics. 

This year Math/Computer Science alums of the class of 1996 swept the Gustavus Alumni Association's "First Decade Awards" for the significance of their accomplishments within their first decade since graduation.  Math major Rebecca Konrad served in the Peace Corps, worked a little while in the actuarial field, then went to the University of Minnesota for an MBA, and is now serving with distinction at the World Bank.  Computer science major Milo Martin received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin and is now on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. He is known for his contributions to the design and analysis of multiprocessor systems.

Gustavus math major Alex Zupan has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. (Last year he won the Council on Undergraduate Research award for the best research talk in the MAA Student Papers sessions at MathFest 2005 in Albuquerque.)

Jeff Rosoff gave a talk this past July in Paris at the CNRS titled "Courbes Algébriques du Point de Vue Tropical" (Algebraic Curves from the Tropical Point of View).

David Wolfe has co-authored a textbook which will be in print before the end of the year:

            Michael Albert, Richard Nowakowski, David Wolfe

            Lessons in Play: An Introduction to Combinatorial Game Theory

            Publisher: AKPeters.

 (Submitted by John Holte)



Macalester College

During the 2006-2007 year, Macalester's Smail Gallery will feature an art exhibit entitled The Art of Venn Diagrams.  The exhibit features stunning images by Peter Hamburger and Edit Hepp illustrating rotationally symmetric Venn diagrams on 11 sets (see sample piece above).  On Tuesday September 19 at 3:00 pm Hamburger will give a lecture on the work, and at 4:30 PM the department will host the exhibit opening. See the department website for more information.

Macalester is pleased to welcome a new tenure-track statistician, Victor Addona.  Victor received his BS, MS, and PhD from McGill University in Montreal.  His research interests are in survival analysis, clinical statistics, and Bayesian methods.  He taught for Macalester in a visiting position last year and was hired in a tenure-track position beginning this fall.  Victor is fluent in French, Italian, English, SPSS, and R.

This year the department will be busy hiring two new tenure track members, one in theoretical mathematics and one in applied mathematics.  Check out our department website for more information.  (Submitted by Tom Halverson)



Minnesota State University, Mankato

There have been several changes in personnel at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Drs. Maureen Fenrick and Mary Ann Lee retired.  Drs. Pavel Kitsul and Dan Singer were promoted in rank to Professor and Associate Professor respectively.  Fixed-term Instructors Tony Nelson, Diane Olson, Rick Powers, and Cody Tabbert left MSU to pursue careers elsewhere.  We have gained Drs. Chris Danielson (Math Education at Michigan State University), In-Jae Kim (Combinatorial Matrix Theory at University of Wyoming), Brian Martensen (Topology and Dynamical Systems at Montana State University) and Deepak Sanjel (Statistics at University of Western Ontario) in tenure-track positions.  Also Mary Guy (Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin), Michael Haskins (Portland, Oregon), Charles Kapplinger (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan), Kris Regas (Mankato, Minnesota) and Jason Smith (Grand Forks, North Dakota) have joined us in fixed-term positions. Needless to say our personnel search committees were busy last spring.  (Submitted by Ernie Boyd)


Minnesota State University Moorhead

Professor Don Mattson retired (full time) last May. He had been working half time for the last four years. Dr. Justin James has joined the department as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. James finished his Ph. D. at the University of Nebraska Lincoln last spring; his thesis was entitled "Some Decision Problems in Group Theory". Professor Sayel Ali is on sabbatical this year, teaching in the United Arab Emirates.  (Submitted by Wally Sizer)


North Dakota State University

Faculty members Jim Coykendall and Bill Martin were promoted to Full Professor. Bill left the Department of Mathematics to assume the duties of Head of the School of Education at NDSU, retaining a tenured position in the Department of Mathematics. Faculty member Joe Brennan has been granted a one year leave of absence.

New tenure-track positions were awarded to Mariangel Alfonseca, Marian Bocea, Friedrich Littmann, and Cristina Popovici. Jason Boynton joined us as a visitor for this year. Tim Marshall's visiting appointment was extended for another year.

In graduate news, Shukhrat Usmanov obtained his Ph.D. degree. Two other graduate students, Tridib Dutta and Yevgeny Mospan, have finished the required work for their doctorates and are expected to graduate in the current academic year.  (Submitted by Friedrich Littmann and Warren Shreve)



University of Minnesota, Morris

1) Christopher Orth, UMM '06, presented his undergraduate research project, "Borel resummation of a divergent series," at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2006 (advisor: Barry McQuarrie).

2) Matthew Bryan, UMM '07, presented his undergraduate research project, "Combinatorics: Examination of posets," at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2006 (advisor: Mark Logan).

3) Emily Stout, UMM '07, presented her undergraduate research project, "The characterization of balanced matrices in directed hypergraphs," at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2006 (advisor: Peh Ng).

4) UMM students Matt Bryan, Jay Clawson, Rae Fredrich, Matt Justin, and Sam Potter participated in the December 2005 Putnam Competition.

5) Math faculty, Barry McQuarrie was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the University of Minnesota in August 2006.

6) On Oct 27-28, 2006, the University of Minnesota, Morris will be hosting the Fall MAA North Central Section Meeting, to which you are all cordially invited to attend.  For more information about this conference go to:  and for information about directions to the University of Minnesota, Morris, go to  (Submitted by Peh Ng)


University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota has had a couple of changes in our faculty.  Dr. Michael Gregory retired in May after 35 years at UND and Dr. Thomas Gilsdorf received a Fulbright to work in Mexico City this year.  Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Simmers has completed his term here and moves on to a tenure track job in Wisconsin.  Senior Lecturer Joe Champion left us to work on a doctorate in Math Ed at Northern Colorado. Replacing Joe is Jessica Snyder, who has an MS from UND and is returning after spending several years teaching in Minnesota junior colleges.  We also welcome Steve Lancette, who is here as a one year replacement.  Last, but certainly not least, congratulations to Dr. Anthony Bevelacqua, who received tenure and was promoted to Associate professor.  (Submitted by Richard Millspaugh)


University of Saint Thomas

In the Fall 2006 CAM Colloquium Series, the first talk of the semester is very special - Professor Peter Lax from the Courant Institute will be the speaker. We have scheduled this talk for 8pm in the hopes that colleagues from neighboring institutions can attend.

Here is the full Fall 2006 colloquium series schedule:

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006 @8:00 - Peter Lax, Courant Institute

    Friday, October 6, 2006 @3:00 - Catherine Beneteau, University of South Florida

    Friday, November 3, 2006 @3:00 - Carlos Carbonera

    Friday, December 1, 2006 @ 3:00 - Mike O'Fallon, Retired Mayo Clinic Statistician

Thirteen St. Thomas students passed Autuarial Exams in May 2006: eight passed Exam P/1, two passed Exam FM/2, three passed Exam M/3.

We have two new colleagues at St. Thomas, Eric Rawdon and Magdalena Stolarska.

Eric Rawdon received his B.A. in 1992 from St. Olaf College with a major in mathematics and a concentration in African Diaspora and American Racial and Multicultural Studies. He received his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Iowa in Computational Topology. Eric's research area is Physical Knot Theory: the knotting, linking, and twisting of real stuff, in particular objects in nature (like DNA and polymers). He enjoys getting undergraduate physics, computer science, and mathematics majors involved in his research.  Eric spent four years at Chatham College and five years at Duquesne University, both in Pittsburgh. A Minnesota native, he's excited to be back in the homeland.  Eric and his wife Gretchen have two small children, Sam (2.75 years) and Mikkel (0.5 years), who keep them busy. He enjoys golf, broomball, Minnesota pro sports teams, and, if time will ever allow again, brewing beer.

Magdalena Stolarska was born in Poland and moved to the United States at the age of five. She received all three of her degrees, B.S., M.S., and Ph.D., from the Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics Department at Northwestern University. Her Ph.D. thesis work focused on developing and implementing an extension of the level set method to model fatigue crack growth. After receiving her Ph.D. in 2002, Magda became a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota, working with Professor Hans Othmer. At Minnesota, her research focus changed, and she began working on continuum models of various problems related to growth and motion of biomechanical systems. After spending four years at the University of Minnesota, Magda is now an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of St. Thomas.  (Submitted by Doug Dokken)


University of Sioux Falls

USF looks forward to hosted the Mathematics on the Northern Plains Conference on April 29, 2006.  The annual event, which featured undergraduate student talks and invited addresses from Charlotte Chell and Daniel Schaal, drew 63 undergraduate students, graduate students, and university faculty (eight of whom did not complete/return conference evaluations) from eleven institutions.  The 2007 Mathematics on the Northern Plains Conference will be held on Saturday, April 28 at the University of South Dakota.  (Submitted by Jason Douma)


Conferences and Courses


Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference

April 7-8, 2006
College of St. Benedict
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN

Plan now to come and bring your students to the 29th annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference, held at St. John’s University.  The featured guest speaker is Carlos Castillo-Chavez of Arizona State University.  We count on you to encourage students to speak. 

For further information, contact

Kris Nairn
Phone: 320-363-3087

or visit



Ninth Annual

Mathematics on the Northern Plains Undergraduate Conference

April 28, 2007



The Ninth Annual Mathematics on the Northern Plains Undergraduate Conference will be held at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota on April 28, 2007.  This event features undergraduate student talks involving all areas of mathematics, mathematics education, and the mathematical sciences, in addition to keynote talks, a panel discussion, and some time for fun and games.

Details concerning the conference, including a schedule and registration form, will be made available in the spring.



Eighth Annual

Regional Workshop in the Mathematical Sciences

October 27-28, 2006



The eighth Regional Workshop in the Mathematical Sciences (mathematics, statistics, and computer science) will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on October 27th and 28th, 2006. The aim of the workshop is to promote interaction among faculty and students at universities, colleges and industries in the region. The workshop is designed to be of interest to undergraduate students who have begun to consider graduate school as well as graduate students, faculty and other professionals in mathematics, statistics, and computer science.  This year we plan to continue the workshop's expanded focus on undergraduate research. In particular, a portion of the workshop on Saturday will be devoted to parallel sessions of talks by undergraduates on their own research projects, and we particularly invite contributions by undergraduates to these sessions.

The workshop will begin with registration at 12:30 pm on Friday, October 27, 2006, and will end by 2:30 pm on Saturday, October 28.

The deadline for receipt of abstracts, registration and funding applications is October 21st, 2006. We have reserved a block of rooms at the Town House Motel in downtown Lincoln, and the Holiday Inn Express, for the night of October 27, and those wishing to secure accommodation there will need to notify us by October 12th at latest.

We have set up a website for the workshop at

All participants are strongly encouraged to register via the website.

Additional information about the workshop may be obtained via this website or by sending us an e-mail at


MCTM 2006 Fall Conference

20 October 2006


The theme for the Fall 2005 Conference of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics is "Opening Paths to Mathematics and Science Learning through Literacy."  Please visit for conference details.

Future Section Meetings

Spring 2007   April 13-14   College of St. Catherine
Fall 2007   TBA   Bemidji State University
Spring 2008   TBA   TBA


Meetings of Other Sections

Wisconsin Section     April 20-21       UW - Eau Claire
Iowa Section     April 13-14       Drake University
Nebraska / SE South Dakota     March 30-31       Dakota State University


Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent via mail to:

Jason Douma
Natural Sciences Area
University of Sioux Falls

1101 W. 22nd St.
Sioux Falls, SD  57105

Or (and preferably) by electronic mail to:



This newsletter was last updated October 11, 2006.