North Central Mathematical Bulletin

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

Volume 11 Number 2 September 2008

Table of Contents

Fall Section Meeting Meritorious Service Award
Invited Speakers and Biographies MAA-NCS Section NExT
Governor's Report Campus News
Treasurer's Report Conferences and Courses
Information Officer's Report Other Information
Student Chapter Coordinator's Report Meetings of Other Sections
Distinguished Teaching Award Information for Contributors

Hope to See You at Concordia College in Moorhead!

Concordia College will host the MAA-NCS Fall Meeting, October 17-18. Our two invited speakers for the fall meeting are Betty Mayfield (Hood College) and Karen Saxe (Macalester College).

For more information on contributing a talk go to  

A program for the Fall 2008 meeting will be posted approximately one to two weeks on the MAA/NCS website prior to the meeting.

The MAA/NCS Spring 2009 Meeting will be held at Hamline University, St. Paul, April 24-25.

Invited Speakers Abstract and Biographies

Betty Mayfield is the current 1st Vice President of the MAA. She earned a B.A. in mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island.  Between undergraduate and graduate school, she taught high school mathematics.

Since 1979, Mayfield has served on the faculty of Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, where she has chaired the mathematics department since 1999. She has enjoyed doing research, often with students or colleagues in other disciplines, in underwater acoustics, mathematics pedagogy, and the history of mathematics.

She became involved in the MAA first in the Maryland-DC-Virginia Section, and enjoys attending meetings in other Sections and learning about them. She is also proud to be a consultant for Project NExT.

Dr. Mayfield's talk is entitled Women and Mathematics in the Time of Euler

Abstract:  In 2007 mathematicians around the world focused on All Things Euler: his life, his work, his legacy. We were treated to special conferences, books, papers, posters, a study tour, and sessions at national meetings. We will examine a slightly different topic: female contemporaries of Leonhard Euler (1707 - 1783), some famous, some not so famous. We will look at their lives and their work, at mathematics that was written by and – surprisingly – for women in the time of Euler.

This talk grew out of an experimental summer research project with a group of undergraduate students in the history of mathematics.

Karen Saxe is professor and chair of mathematics and computer science at Macalester College. Her degrees are from Bard College and the University of Oregon. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Math Horizons (the Mathematical Association of America's magazine for undergraduates), and has served on other MAA editorial boards in the past. Karen is married to mathematician Peter Webb and they have three children.  

Dr. Saxe's talk is entitled Mathematics and Politics. 

Abstract:  "...democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." -- Winston Churchill  

The cornerstone for a democracy is, arguably, the electoral system chosen. How do we elect our president? Are there better alternatives? We will consider mathematical approaches to these questions, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the many different electoral systems that are used by democratic countries around the world.  



Governor's Report
Jennifer Galovich

College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


The Board of Governors met ,as usual, the day before MathFest.  In addition to the usual barrage of reports, there were several breakout sessions.  The main discussion items concerned:

A fun note: As I looked around the room it seemed to me that the NCS is unusually well represented at the Board level:  Current and recent Board members and other reporting folks from the NCS include:  Joe Gallian, David Bressoud, Wayne Roberts, Paul Zorn, Deanna Haunsperger, Tom Kilkelly (Wayzata HS), and moi.



Treasurer's Report
Randy Westhoff

Bemidji State University 


The North Central Section enters the new academic year in good financial shape.  Last year a total of twenty-seven colleges and universities became institutional members of the NCS-MAA raising a total of $675 to support our section's Project NExT activities.   Institutional memberships are again only $25 a year and I will be sending out notices to our section's department heads in the near future.  I look forward to your continued support and hope to see all of you at the fall meeting at Concordia College.



Information Officer's Report
Shawn Chiappetta

University of Sioux Falls


I would like to take the opportunity to say "Thank you" to all of the contributors of the newsletter this fall.  Even with the earlier deadline, we had 17 institutions submit information which was increased from 7 last fall.  I would also like to thank those that made suggestions to the website and newsletter format.  They are appreciated and usually incorporated as soon as possible.  Please keep the the suggestions coming!


Lastly, I wanted to pass along the following information received from Dick Jarvinen, the section's long-time Student Chapter Coordinator.

"I am happy to report that my recent CAT scan and MRI showed no new cancer sites, that this summer I enjoyably completed my 2nd six-year term as a Calculus AP Reader and presented three papers at the NASA Johnson Space Center while also helping to lead a session at JSC on enhancing analytical performance.  I will be teaching two courses this Fall Semester.  I am so grateful  for the support I received from our Section, which still greatly lifts me and is never to be forgotten."


Student Chapter Coordinator's Report

Peh Ng
University of Minnesota - Morris

This is not exactly a report, but a few amicable reminders regarding student activities: 

  1. Please strongly encourage your students to submit abstracts for oral presentations under the "Student Session" track at the Fall 2008 MAA-NCS meeting (Oct 17-18) in Concordia, Moorhead, MN.     The contents of students' presentations are broadly defined, meaning that they could be on results from, but not limited to, any undergraduate research projects, REUs, internships, course projects, or service-learning projects.

The deadline for students to submit abstract to the secretary will be the same as that for faculty, namely, Oct 3, 2008. And, the form with all the details will be provided soon on the MAA-NCS website.

Please NOTE: For the fall meeting, there is a $100 stipend for each student presenter to help with lodging/travel costs.

  1. The 2008 NCS-MAA Team Mathematics Competition will be on Saturday, November 15, 2008, from 9am till noon.

In case you are a new faculty at an NCS institution, please note that the NCS Team Math Competition consists of a contest where "teams of up to three undergraduate students work collaboratively at their home institution to solve ten math problems, under the supervision of local faculty members." See for details and for past years' questions and solutions.

Please encourage teams of undergraduate students from your institution to participate.  According to Jerry Heuer, the deadline for registration will probably be on Oct 27, 2008. Please email Jerry at  if you need more information.

  1. If you are planning to attend the Joint Meeting in Washington DC from Jan 5-8 2009, please encourage your students to participate in the "MAA's Undergraduate Student Poster Session" on Wed, Jan 7, 2009 from 4pm till 5:30pm.

Students may submit an abstract before the deadline: Nov 7, 2008; go to for more details.



Call for Nominations for

2009 MAA/NCS Award for

Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics


We urge you to submit a nomination for the North Central Section Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award. We know that you have someone eligible and qualified in your department.  We know that there are excellent teachers in the NCS but we need your help to nominate these people for the recognition they deserve. Even if the nominee is not selected this year, it is an honor for the individual to be nominated for this award, and the same person can be nominated again another year.  Please bring this announcement to the attention of colleagues in your departments. Self-nomination is not allowed, but anyone else may make a nomination.  Eligibility and guidelines are listed on the website along with further information.


The nomination form may be downloaded at


Nominations for the 2009 MAA Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics will be accepted until January 26, 2009.  The North Central Section Selection Committee will determine the recipient of the award from those nominated, and the awardee will be honored at the Spring 2009 section meeting at Hamline University on April 24-25.  The section winner will also be eligible to be the section nominee for the 2009 national MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.



Call for Nominations for

2009 MAA/NCS Meritorious Service Award


Now is the time to recognize our colleagues who have made a difference in the life of the mathematical community in the NCS! 


Nominations for the Meritorious Service Award are being accepted now until February 1, 2009.  If you have a colleague who has provided outstanding service to their department, the MAA, the section and/or the profession in general, you can submit a letter of nomination (no complicated paperwork- just a letter!).  This service might include (but not be limited to) governance, administration, mentoring, or organization of activities, programs, or conferences for colleagues or students.  Nominations are accepted from anyone (except the nominee themselves), but department heads are especially encouraged to submit nominations.  If you know of anyone who could supplement your nomination with additional evidence, multiple letters for one nominee are encouraged. 


Further information can be found on the NCS website (click meritorious service at the bottom of the page).



MAA-NCS Section NExT


Designed for new college and university faculty in the mathematical sciences, Section NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program that addresses the full range of faculty responsibilities including teaching, scholarly activities, and service.  Each year, applications will be solicited for new MAA-NCS Section NExT fellows to serve for a two year term. We will accept applications from faculty who are within the first four years of beginning full-time employment with teaching responsibilities at the college or university level.  The application consists of a short personal statement and a letter of support from the department chair, guaranteeing financial support for transportation, meals, and lodging at the fall and spring meetings of the North Central Section. 


The MAA-NCS Section NExT will meet on October 17, 2008 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, immediately prior to the NCS Fall Meeting.  Details about the MAA-NCS Section NExT program and its spring meeting may be found at  


Questions may be addressed to any of the program organizers:  Shawn Chiappetta (, Kris Nairn (, Donna Flint (Donna.Flint@SDSTATE.EDU), Randy Westhoff (



Campus News

Augsburg College, Minneapolis

Two faculty members joined Augsburg's Mathematics Department this fall.  Our newest tenure-track hire is Pavel Bělík who is an experienced teacher and researcher in the area of computational mechanics and materials science. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 2000 under the direction of Professor Mitchell Luskin.  Since then he has worked at Schlumberger-Riboud Product Centre near Paris, France, the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.  Serving in a one-year position this year is Sridevi Pudipeddi, who recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of North Texas in the areas of differential equations and numerical analysis under the direction of Professor Joseph Iaia.


Continuing in the Mathematics Department are professors Tracy Bibelnieks, Su Dorée, Matt Haines, Ken Kaminsky, Jody Sorensen, John Zobitz and our adjunct faculty Anna, Alyssa, Fran, Rich, Sue, Tami, Todd, and Troy.  (submitted by Matt Haines)


Bemidji State University, Bemidji


We have had several staffing changes this year.  Last spring Tom Richard retired after 37 years of teaching and Ryan Hutchinson resigned to take a new position at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  Rich Spindler will also be leaving our department to join his family in Eau Claire, Wisconsin after fall semester.  All of this means we will be busy this winter conducting searches for new faculty.  On a happier note, Todd Frauenholtz and Derek Webb were both promoted to the rank of full professor this year. 


Co Livingston and Randy Westhoff, along with three faculty members from the sciences, organized a STEM Camp for high school students this past summer.  We had a total of twenty-five students attend the one-week.  At the end of an exciting (and exhausting) week groups of students presented some impressive projects they had worked on during the week to the parents and relatives of the camp participants.


Glen Richgels and Derek Webb received a $225,000 grant from the Blandin Foundation to implement the Northern Minnesota College Readiness Partnership.  They will be working with four area high schools and five area community and tribal colleges this spring to improve student’s readiness for college level mathematics courses by offering them a locally developed course that uses active learning strategies and technology to enhance students’ knowledge of mathematics and statistics.  (submitted by Randy Westhoff)


College of St. Benedict/St. John University, St. Joseph/Collegeville


St. John’s and St. Ben’s will again host our undergraduate mathematics conference, the 30th Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference, April 18-19, 2009.  We hope the weather will be more cooperative this year.  Start encouraging your students to prepare a talk for our conference and plan on bringing many students to hear the inimitable Joe Gallian.  For more information, contact Kris Nairn (


The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University welcome Dr. Bret Benesh, our new tenure track hire in mathematics.  Bret earned his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a dissertation in group theory.  For the last three years, he has been a preceptor at Harvard University.  This was like a teaching post doc.  He trained their TAs, as well as taught.  In addition, he pursued his interest in mathematics education.  We congratulate Bret on his marriage this summer.


We also congratulate Cathy Isaac, a continuing colleague, on her marriage this summer. (submitted by Thomas Sibley)


College of St. Catherine, St. Paul/Minneapolis

Sue Molnar, Ph.D., retired this spring after 29 years at CSC. We recognize her many contributions to our department and her ten years (1992 – 2002) as director of the Antonia Scholars Honor Program. During her tenure as director, two students were recognized as Portz Scholars by the National Collegiate Honors Council: Andrea Kolar, 2000: Suffering Into Rebirth: A Complimentary Approach to Healing from Cancer and Stephanie R. Fosnight, 2001: When Austen’s Heroines Meet: A Play in One Act.  We welcome two new members to our department. Kathy Radloff joins us after 16 years at Ohio Wesleyan University and Monica Brown after 6 years at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and one year in industry here in the Twin Cities. Early June again found Dan O’Loughlin and Adele Marie Rothan, CSJ in Louisville along with about 800 other college/university statistics teachers and AP Statistics teachers grading about 110,000 AP Stat Exams. Yvonne Ng will again be primarily involved with the administration of the NSF-S-STEM Grant, Enhancing Recruitment and Retention for Women in Science and Engineering and related projects. Ann Sweeney is Vice-President for Mathematics for Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics and is chairing the fall conference to be held at Lakeville South High School. (submitted by Adele Marie Rothan)

Concordia College, Moorhead

Concordia College looks forward to welcoming the section to Moorhead for the fall meeting, October 17-18.

Joining us this year in tenure-track positions are Anders Hendrickson (mathematics), Jonathan Pikalek (computer science), and John Reber (statistics); the position of Ahmed Kamel (computer science) has been converted to tenure track.

Doug Anderson gave a plenary lecture at the Math on the Northern Plains undergraduate conference hosted by North Dakota State University in April, and gave two invited talks this summer, one at the 6th International Conference on Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems at Morgan State University in Baltimore, and the other at the 5th International Conference of Applied Mathematics and Computing in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Dr. Gerald Heuer (Mathematician in Residence) helped with the grading of the 2008 USA Mathematical Olympiad papers in Washington, DC, in May.  Heuer is a past leader of the USA team in the International Mathematical Olympiad. (submitted by Doug Anderson)


Concordia University, St. Paul


The Department of Mathematics at Concordia University, St. Paul, is proud to welcome Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Sharon (Clarke) Mosgrove.  Sharon moved to Minnesota with her new husband after five years at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.  She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is a Project NExT Fellow.  Sharon’s research area is Commutative Ring Theory. She is currently interested in star operations and zero-divisor graphs of commutative rings. More recently Sharon has been investigating semirings.


Sharon enjoys teaching most of the undergraduate math courses. Her favorite (most recent) course was "Nature of Math", which was a GE course. She loved teaching it because the students got to do a lot of the "nontraditional" math and a lot of hands-on activities. The students saw that math concepts went far beyond calculus. (submitted by Robert J. Krueger)


Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter


The Gustavus department of Mathematics and Computer Science sponsored a number of activities in support of Math Awareness Month.  Our visiting UBCHEA scholar from India, Professor Stephen Samuel, gave a seminar on fuzzy sets and fuzzy numbers.  Thanks to Lois Peterson, our artist in residence, we had a curator for the first MCS department art exhibit, featuring creative visual work of the faculty, such as needlepoint, weavings, woodwork, photography, and hand-tied fishing lures.  To cap off Math Awareness Month, and in keeping with its theme of math and voting, Professor Francis Edward Su of Harvey Mudd College gave a lecture titled “Voting in Agreeable Societies.”  In addition, the department sponsored a Fibonacci poetry contest with bonus points awarded for references to voting and voting theory.  (The Fibonacci poems have lines of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 13 syllables.)


The MCS department welcomes Dr. Baili Chen as a new tenure-track faculty member who will strengthen its programs in applied mathematics and statistics.  She obtained her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Fudan University and her Ph.D. from Texas Tech University.  Before joining the department, she held a post-doc at Tufts University. (submitted by John Holte)


Macalester College, St. Paul


There will be a number of changes to the curriculum at Macalester this year. It is the first year that students can choose to follow a track in Applied Math and Statistics, as a way to major in mathematics. Also, a new college concentration in Community and Global Health has been approved and several members of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department are involved with this initiative.

David Bressoud will begin his term as president of the MAA in January.  Dick Molnar has retired from teaching, and computer scientist Shilad Sen, from the University of Minnesota, has been hired to replace him. Weiwen Miao, one of our statisticians, has moved on to start a program at Haverford. Christine Kohnen will be teaching statistics courses this year while we search for Weiwen's replacement. (submitted by Tom Halverson)


Minnesota State University, Mankato


Dr. Larry Pearson, professor of statistics and former departmental chairperson (1990-1994, 1998-2007), died unexpectedly on 10 Aug 08.


Drs. Namyong Lee and Chia-Chi Tung are returning from sabbatical leave.  Dr. Dan Singer is beginning his sabbatical leave.  Dr. Gary Rockswold will continue on leave through the buy-out agreement with his publisher.


The Improving Teacher Quality Grant funded by the MN Office of Higher Education started in Summer 2007 was renewed for Summer 2008 through Spring 2009.  The Math and Science Teacher Academy funded by the MN Department of Education began Summer 2008.  The More and Better Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning Grant funded by MnSCU began Spring 2008.


Ms. Laura Buch, Mr. Dan Hermann, Mr. Bill Lee have left us for employment elsewhere.


New fixed term faculty are Mr. Steve Reller, Mr. Duane Maas and Dr. Ioannis Souldatos.  Steve Reller graduated with his Master of Arts degree in mathematics from MSU Mankato in Summer 2008.  He was a graduate teaching assistant for us last year.  Duane Maas has a long and varied career in mathematics and computer systems in the academic world and in the corporate world.  He joins us from his home in Bloomington, MN.  Ioannis Souldatos graduated with his Ph. D. in mathematical logic from UCLA in Spring 2008.  His original home was Athens, Greece.  (submitted by Ernest Boyd)


Minnesota State University, Moorhead

Lian Ng and Wally Sizer are on sabbatical this year.  Mel Wahl is new to the department as a sabbatical replacement.  Mel has a Master's degree from North Dakota State University and has taught in high schools and community colleges and at St. Cloud State University.  O'Neil Lynch is also new to the department.  O'Neil has a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of South Florida.  (submitted by Wally Sizer)

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


The Saint Mary’s math department bid farewell to several of its colleagues.  The first is Dr. Joe Shields, who after 17 years of teaching at Saint Mary’s retired in the spring.   Joe held numerous job titles while at SMU including Chair of the Math and Stats Department, Associate Dean for the Math and Sciences, and Academic Dean.   The second is Dr. Milan Lukic, who took a position at the Mathematical Reviews.  


The department is glad to announce the hiring of two new faculty:  Dr. Todd Iverson (Doctorate in Statistics from Colorado State University) and Mr. Christopher Stromberg (Masters of Arts in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota). (submitted by Kevin Dennis)


St. Olaf College, Northfield


The Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science welcomes three new faculty this year.

Sharon Lane-Getaz comes to us with a rich background of experience, including an 18-year career at IBM.  She has also taught mathematics in middle school in Minneapolis and statistics in high school.   The latter experience pointed her toward a PhD in Statistics Education at the University of Minnesota.   While completing that degree she has also taught at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo, Macalester College, and here at St Olaf.

Alex Woo joins us from a post-doc at the University of California -- Davis.  His PhD is from Berkeley.  No stranger to liberal arts education, Alex was an undergraduate at Williams College.  His research is in algebraic geometry and algebraic combinatorics.

Jason Gower comes to us from a post-doc at Minnesota's Institute for Mathematics and its Applications.   Before that he was at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied algebraic cryptography.  Jason was an undergraduate at Truman State U. in Missouri, and did his PhD, in number theory, at Purdue.

This past year saw one departure, as Cliff Corzatt, retired in spring after 34 years of service.   Among Cliff's proudest accomplishments is our thriving January term course in Budapest, treating both mathematical structures and Hungarian culture.

Another veteran member, Matt Richey, remains among MSCS faculty but has begun a new assignment as St. Olaf's associate dean for the natural sciences and mathematics.  Among Matt's many responsibilities in this position is to oversee physical moves of all science faculty departments, either to our brand-spanking new Regents Hall of Science or to temporary digs for one year, while our own department's quarters are fully renovated and connected to the new Regents Hall.

We're especially proud this year, too, of our students' achievements.  For instance, Nicole Novak, a 2008 graduate and statistics concentrator, received a Rhodes scholarship, while mathematics major Katie Evans (2009) won a student research award at the Madison MathFest.  Here on campus, 13 prospective mathematics majors from traditionally underrepresented groups received scholarships through an NSF S-STEM grant to St. Olaf College.

This academic year at St. Olaf has a special ``science and liberal arts'' theme, and in that connection we look forward to visits and readings from several prominent mathematics-related authors.  Manil Suri (author of the novels The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva) will visit in late October.  Brian Hayes, a long-time writer for the American Scientist and author of the recent collection Group Theory in the  Bedroom, will visit in November.  Readers of this newsletter are warmly invited to attend; for more information be in touch with Paul Zorn ( .  (submitted by Paul Zorn)

University of Minnesota, Morris

Math faculty, Mark Logan, was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the University of Minnesota in August 2008; and Math faculty, Barry McQuarrie, was one of the recipients of the 2008 Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education.

In Fall 2008, we welcome a new math faculty, Amanda Matson.   Amanda received her Ph.D. recently from North Dakota State University.

During the summer of 2008, math faculty, Peh Ng, was invited to be a visiting research professor at the Universite of Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France, where she spent a month collaborating with Professor Herve Kerivin on a new project called the "Prize-Collecting Connected Subgraph Problem."

Rae Fredrich, UMM 2009, presented her undergraduate research project,   "An Existence Theorem for Minimal Normalized Matching Bipartite Graphs" at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2008 (advisor: Mark Logan).

Charles Rudeen, UMM 2009, presented his undergraduate research project,   "Development of an Optimization Model for Bus Routes" at UMM's Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2008 (advisor: Peh Ng). (submitted by Peh Ng)

University of North Dakota, Grand Forks

UND is welcoming our 11th president.  Dr. Robert Kelley comes to us from the University of Wyoming, where he was dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Joining the Mathematics Department as a part time instructor is Dr. Timothy Prescott, who received his PhD from UCLA in 2008.

Finally, we congratulate one of our alumni, Kris Pressler (BS 1990, MS 1992), who is being inducted into the UND Athletics Hall of Fame in September.  Kris is now in the Mathematics Department at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where he is the Director of the Actuarial Science Program. (submitted by Richard Millspaugh)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

Starting this fall, Kurt Scholz, became the new chair of the math department.   He will also be on sabbatical during the spring semester.  John Kemper, who has served three terms as chair of the math department, is returning to regular teaching duties.


Dr. Mike Axtell recently joined the Mathematics Department at the University of St. Thomas. Mike received a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1995 with a minor in History. In 2000, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. At the University of Iowa, he worked in the area of commutative ring theory under the supervision of Dr. D.D. Anderson. After graduate school, Mike worked at Wabash College in central Indiana where he enjoyed the small school atmosphere and liberal arts emphasis of the institution.


Seeking to return to his Minnesota roots, Mike was very pleased to receive a position at the University of St. Thomas. He hopes to continue advancing his teaching and research within the beautiful city that is St. Paul. Though Mike enjoys teaching all levels of the undergraduate curriculum, he particularly enjoys teaching the Pre-Calculus and Calculus sequences. His current line of research involves examining factorizations in commutative rings with zero divisors. Much of this research is done with undergraduates through an NSF-sponsored REU that he is the director of the Wabash Summer Institute in Mathematics.


Outside of the job, Mike enjoys just about any sport and just about any book.


Cheri Shakiban who was on leave of absence from St. Thomas serving as the Associate Director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of  Minnesota has completed her two years of service and  has returned to  her position as professor of mathematics at University of St. Thomas.  Shakiban will continue her services at the IMA (on a part time basis) as the Associate Director for Diversity. (submitted Doug Dokken)

University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls

The University of Sioux Falls is very pleased to welcome two new tenure track faculty to its Mathematics and Computer Science Program.  Dr. Joy Lind, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, comes to us with experience in both academia (Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky and Assistant Professor at Earlham College) and industry (at the Avaya Corporation), a particularly fitting combination for a mathematician whose area of expertise is operations research.  Ryan Swanstrom, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, completed a M.S. in Mathematics (Information Assurance Concentration) from Iowa State University and served as a software engineer for Northrop Grumann and SAIC before making the current transition to academia.  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computational Science and Statistics from the University of South Dakota.  Our program is also excited add Brad Newitt, Instructor of Mathematics and Computer Science to its full-time ranks, after several years of outstanding service in a part-time capacity.  Professor Newitt's area of emphasis is mathematics education, serving both (secondary) mathematics education and elementary education majors, as well as students distributed throughout our liberal arts core.


USF senior Shane Strasser participated in his second REU this summer.  This year's venue was Texas A&M University, where he investigated numerical algorithms under the supervision of Dr. Vivek Sarin. (submitted Jason Douma)


Winona State University, Winona

Three of our majors, Megan Placko, Nicole Riveness, and Anthony Varey supervised and guided by Dr. Joyati Debnath presented papers on research findings at the MathFest 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin, July 30-August 2, 2008.  Placko presented (coauthored with Riveness) "Perfect Numbers and Mersenne Primes," Riveness (coauthored with Placko) presented "Common Modulus Attacks on RSA and how RSA Security Works", and Varey presented "Riemann Zeta Function and the Prime Numbers". These students will continue working on their research for future presentations.

Dr. Debnath's Lyceum Grant proposal was accepted for funding.  Our this year's Lyceum guest is Ivars Peterson, The Mathematical Tourist. Mathematics and Statistics dept will host his visit this year on October 15, 16 and 17.  His presentation schedule with abstracts is attached.  Also see the WSU Math dept website for more information.

Dr. Debnath attended two week long research workshop, June 29- July 12, 2008, hosted by Institute of Mathematics and Application (IMA), University of Minnesota at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa on Linear Algebra, Graph Theory and Number Theory.

Dr. Debnath also attended another week long workshop on "Research Experiences on Linear Algebra and Number Theory for Undergraduate Faculty" hosted by American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA during August 11 -August 15, 2008. (submitted by Joyati Debnath)



Conferences and Courses

Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference

April 17-18, 2009
College of St. Benedict
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN

The Thirtieth Annual CSB/SJU Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate mathematics research conference will be held on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18.  The invited speaker is Joe Gallian

All interested faculty and students in the upper Midwest are invited to attend this conference, held in P. Engel Hall on the campus of St. John's University.  The conference will feature papers presented by undergraduate mathematics students.

Additional information is available on our web site (

To submit a talk, or for further information, contact Kris Nairn ( at 320-363-3087.


MAA North Central Section

2009 Summer Seminar



A Hands-On Approach

to Computational Combinatorial Geometry


Principal Lecturer: Professor Jesús De Loera, University of California, Davis

Location: St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN

Dates: July 19-24, 2009

Contact: Jennifer Galovich


The Program:  It is undeniable that computers have changed the way we create and teach mathematics. Even classical old subjects such as geometry have not been immune to this influence. Among the most beautiful parts of geometry is combinatorial geometry, which deals with questions of geometric structures composed of finitely many elements. Examples of key structures include convex polytopes, hyperplane arrangements and point configurations. In this short course we introduce the audience to some fascinating computational problems that are at the same time profoundly deep and important but are beautiful and simple to understand.  We will include daily hands-on laboratories using POLYMAKE and TOPCOM.  Each day will be divided into theory and practice/exercise sessions.  Topics of study include:


  1. Geometry of points, planes and lines: An quick introduction to combinatorial geometry.
  2. Polyhedra: Their faces, graphs, convex hulls, shadows, and nets.
  3. Thinking algorithmically: efficiency of computation in geometry or what you wanted to know about NP,P and all that but were afraid to ask.
  4. The real reason why calculus is hard: Volumes and Integrals of polyhedra.
  5. How to find the best solution: geometry to the rescue!

The Lecturer:  Jesús De Loera is a member of the Mathematics faculty University of California, Davis, where his interests in discrete and computational geometry have afforded him regular crossover contacts as a member of the graduate groups in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science programs.  Dr. De Loera received his B.S. in Mathematics from the National University in Mexico, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University.  Prior to his current role at UC Davis, Professor De Loera has held positions at the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota, the Swiss Federal Technology Institute, the Mathematical Sciences Institute at Berkeley (where he organized a special semester on Discrete and Computational Geometry), and the Universität Magdeburg in Germany.   Dr. De Loera’s research has been recognized through an Alexander von Humboldt Award.  His teaching and service to students has been widely recognized; among the honors he has received at UC Davis are 2003 Chancellor’s Fellow, 2006 Diversity Award, and 2007 Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students. 

Stay tuned for further details, including registration and fee information.


Other Information

MAA Launches Math Classifieds


The MAA has unveiled its new tool for both job seekers and prospective employers,  The already popular “Math Jobs” section of MAA Online has added a number of features that make it easier for job seekers to find that perfect fit, and likewise for institutions and companies seeking candidates for their mathematical positions. At Math Classifieds you can:


MAA Math Classifieds provides a unique service that pairs job seekers with degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels with potential employers eager to hire candidates with a math background.


To access Math Classifieds, simply click on the link at the top-right portion of the MAA Homepage, or just type into your browser.  Take a look around, and remember that Math Classifieds is the new home for all of your mathematical employment needs. 


Project NExT / Young Mathematician's Network Poster Session

Project NExT and the Young Mathematician's Network invite submissions  of abstracts for a poster session to be held on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. (room TBA) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings  in Washington DC.  The poster size will be 48" by 36";  it is best to  have the posters 36" high.  Posters and materials for posting pages on  the posters will be provided on-site.  We expect to accept about thirty  posters from different areas within the mathematical sciences.

This poster session is intended to highlight the research activities,  both mathematical and pedagogical, of recent or future PhD's in  mathematics and related fields.  The organizers seek to provide an open  venue for people who are near completion, or have finished their graduate  studies in the last 5 years to present their work and make connections  with other same-stage professionals, in much the same spirit as the YMN  and Project NExT.

Should you have a special requirement involving a computer hook-up,  please let us know and we will check to see if it may be accommodated.

If you are interested in participating, submit copies of your abstract to both:

Prof. Mike Axtell

Prof. Kevin Charlwood

Department of Mathematics

Dept. of Math & Statistics

OSS 201

Morgan Hall 275 I

University of St. Thomas

Washburn University

2115 Summit Ave

Topeka, KS 66621

St. Paul, MN 55105




Phone: (651) 962-5495

Phone: (785) 670-1499



Our poster sessions the past twelve years were a great success.

Visitors to the session each year were numerous, and included many  prospective employers.  This session provides an excellent way to  showcase one's work in a relaxed, informal environment.

The deadline for final consideration is December 17, 2008.  Preference  will be given to those who did not earn a Ph.D. prior to 2003; please  include with your submission when and where you received your Ph.D.,  or indicate when you expect to receive it.  Please submit your abstract  via e-mail, not an attachment.  If it includes mathematical formulas, please submit it in basic LaTeX or TeX format.  Submissions will be  acknowledged quickly by e-mail.  Accepted abstracts will be posted at before the Joint Meetings.

Future Section Meetings

Spring 2009

Hamline University, St. Paul (April 24-25)

Fall 2009


Spring 2010


 University of St. Thomas, St. Paul (TBA)


Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent via mail to:

Shawn Chiappetta
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 September 15, 2008.