January 25, 2020

UMW Pathway Provides Grad-Level Engineering Opportunities

Thanks to a new pathway program with George Mason University, UMW students will now have the opportunity to enroll in pre-master’s courses in Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering. Photo by Ron Aira/George Mason University.

Thanks to a new pathway program with George Mason University, UMW students will now have the opportunity to enroll in pre-master’s courses in Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering. Photo by Ron Aira/George Mason University.

Engineers share a lot in common with superheros.

The latter leap tall buildings in a single bound, fight evil-doers and travel faster than a speeding bullet. The former design sustainable and safe infrastructure, combat cyber-crime and create signals that move at lightning speed.

UMW students aren’t caped crusaders, but they need to be prepared to tackle and solve complex problems plaguing our society. Starting in fall 2020, a new agreement with George Mason University will help them do that. Mary Washington undergraduates will have the opportunity to take graduate-level courses in Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE) during their senior year. Students can earn up to nine credits that will be applied to their bachelor’s degree at UMW and potentially later be used toward a master’s degree in engineering at Mason. Read more. 

Betsy Lewis Appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences

Modern Languages and Literatures Professor and Chair Betsy Lewis was appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Modern Languages and Literatures Professor and Chair Betsy Lewis was appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

A Message from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Betsy Lewis as the Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

In her new role, Dr. Lewis will take over much of the work associated with support of our undergraduate research programs, including management of URES 197, the undergraduate research grant budget, and the annual Research & Creativity Day event. In addition, Dr. Lewis will support the college on more enhanced assessment of our activities in these areas, and will focus on better communication and promotion of student accomplishments by building a healthy relationship with University Relations and the Advancement offices.

Author of two books and more than 20 articles, Dr. Lewis earned her Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of Virginia and has spoken at dozens of conferences and universities around the world on topics ranging from gender in 18th-century literature to digital pedagogy. At UMW, she has been active in a variety of leadership and service roles, establishing important relationships with offices around campus. She is currently serving her sixth year as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

I would like to thank the search committee of Brooks Kuykendall, Lynn Lewis, and Margaret Ray, chaired by Associate Dean Grant Woodwell, for their valuable recommendations and insights during this process.

I personally look forward with eager anticipation to having Betsy as a colleague and partner in the work of the Dean’s office. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Betsy Lewis into her new position as Assistant Dean of CAS. She will formally assume this role in January 2020.

Sincerely,

Dr. Keith E. Mellinger, Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

 

 

Smithsonian Partnership Lets Students Explore Endangered Species

Thanks to a new partnership with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, Mary Washington students will soon have the opportunity to study clouded leopards and other endangered species with Smithsonian scientists. Photo by Evan Cantwell/George Mason University.

Thanks to a new partnership with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, Mary Washington students will soon have the opportunity to study clouded leopards and other endangered species with Smithsonian scientists. Photo by Evan Cantwell/George Mason University.

Imagine getting up close and personal with the world’s most endangered species – and then having the chance to save them.

Thanks to a partnership with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), Mary Washington students will soon have that experience. They’ll spend a semester working directly with these animals and learning from Smithsonian scientists and George Mason University professors at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The agreement comes just as UMW’s biology department introduces a new major in conservation biology. Read more. 

2019 Graduate Emily MacIndoe’s Research Published in Mathematics Journal

A research article “Analytical Solutions of the Susceptible-Infected-Virus (SIV) Model” by Emily MacIndoe (’19) has been published in SIAM Undergraduate Research Online Journal. McIndoe’s research was completed as part of her honors requirement in the spring of 2019, and she was advised by Associate Professor of Mathematics Jangwoon “Leo” Lee. “It is highly unusual for a student to publish a paper in mathematics,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, who praised MacIndoe’s work and wished her “a hearty congratulations.” McIndoe’s paper is accessible through the following link on the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics website: https://www.siam.org/Publications/SIURO/Volume-12.

Abstract: The Susceptible-Infected-Virus (SIV) model is a compartmental model to describe within-host dynamics of a viral infection. We apply the SIV model to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); in particular, we present analytical solutions to two versions of the model. The first version includes only terms related to the susceptible cell-virus particle interaction and virus production, while the second includes those terms in addition to the infected cell death rate. An analytical solution, although more challenging and time-consuming than numerical methods, has the advantage of giving exact, rather than approximate, results. These results contribute to our understanding of virus dynamics and could be used to develop better treatment options. The approach used to solve each model involved first isolating one of the dependent variables, that is, deriving an equation that involves only one of the variables and its derivatives. Next, various substitutions were used to bring the equation to a more easily solvable form. For the first model, an exact solution is obtained in the form of an implicit equation. For the second model, we give an analytical solution generated by an iterative method.

Commonwealth Cyber Initiative takes next steps with meeting of executive committee (Augusta Free Press)

Fredericksburg-area students take part in national walkout to protest violence in schools (The Free Lance-Star)

Mathematics Faculty Participate in Joint Mathematics Meetings

Eight members of the Department of Mathematics presented at the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta in January.  The JMM is the largest mathematics conference in the country, with registrations this year exceeding 6,000 participants.  Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Randall Helmstutler, chair and associate professor, presented the talk “Generalized dihedral groups in non-commutative cryptographic protocols,” based on research conducted with former student Chris Lloyd. Dr. Helmstutler also participated in a day-long workshop for mathematics department chairs.
  • Professor Debra Hydorn presented the talk “Small Teaching” in the MAA session on discrete mathematics in the undergraduate curriculum. Dr. Hydorn also exhibited two pieces in the Mathematical Art Exhibition and participated in several committee meetings.
  • Associate professor Leo Lee gave the presentation “DDM for SPDE” in the AMS contributed paper session on numerical analysis and computer science.
  • Professor Larry Lehman gave two talks on his research in number theory, “A Continued Fraction Algorithm for Quadratic Numbers, Forms, and  Ideals” and “A Formula for the Number of Solutions of an Arbitrary Quadratic Congruence.”
  • Lecturer Jennifer Magee presented the talk “Cryptology for first-year students” in the MAA session on cryptology for undergraduates, providing an overview of the department’s unique FSEM course in the field.
  • Professor Keith Mellinger delivered “The ingredients for a successful liberal arts course in quantitative reasoning,” a talk addressing the department’s innovative approach to a recently developed course offering, Math 120: Quantitative Reasoning for the Sciences.
  • Professor Marie Sheckels presented “Enhancing Quantitative Reasoning and Skills through Exploring Scientific Applications” in the session Innovative Strategies to Inspire and Prepare Potential STEM Majors.
  • Professor Suzanne Sumner gave the talk “Environmental Applications: Introduction to Mathematical Modeling” in the session Meaningful Modeling in the First Two Years of College.

Mellinger Publishes Research Article

Keith Mellinger, professor of mathematics and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, saw his co-authored article Small Kakeya Sets in non-prime order planes appear in the July 2015 issue of the European Journal of Combinatorics.

UMW to Host Fredtech’s Fourth Annual STEM Summit, April 25

The University of Mary Washington will host Fredtech’s fourth annual STEM16 Summit, a showcase of regional initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, on Saturday, April 25. ChemistryThe summit will feature a keynote address and more than 50 booths highlighting the achievements and offerings of the region’s students, educators, and businesses in the STEM arena. The event is organized by Fredtech, the Technology Council for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. The free public event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Anderson Center. Keynote speaker Jason Kring, an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has previously been featured on TEDx talks on subjects such as building a home for space and searching for the ideal crew for manned mission to Mars. Kring is currently working on MEERS, Embry-Riddle’s Mobile Extreme Environmental Research Lab. He received his doctorate in applied experimental and human factors psychology from the University of Central Florida. The summit is the region’s largest STEM event, connecting the region’s educators, students, public officials and businesses. This year, the summit is expected to represent more than 40 secondary schools, the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren. Keith Mellinger, professor of mathematics at UMW, sees the university as a key player in having students apply science in their future careers. “UMW is a recognized leader in developing the next generation of scientists,” said Mellinger. “Higher education plays a critical role in the pipeline from high school to the working world.  UMW’s involvement in the summit demonstrates its commitment to strengthening this pipeline.” The event is sponsored by UMW, SimVentions, WGRQ SuperHits 95.9, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Lockheed Martin. For more information, to register or to purchase booth space, contact Sheri Wikert at sheri@fredericksburgchamber.org or (540) 373-9400.

Taking on Twitter

Is it a human or a Twitter bot?

Researchers from the University of Mary Washington and the Naval Surface Warfare Center want to know for sure.

UMW computer science majors Bryan Holster and Chris Zimmerman, under the guidance of Professor Stephen Davies, have teamed with scientists at the center’s Dahlgren division to get to the bottom of this sometimes perplexing social media mystery. The partnership is one of several ongoing collaborations between the University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center.