August 3, 2020

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.

FSEMs go to new African American History Museum

Thirty-two students from six sections of FSEM (Race & Revolution) and Racism and Contemporary American Philosophy visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture  and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Oct 27.  Four faculty accompanied them: Melina Patterson, Suzanne Sumner, Craig Vasey and Wanda Simpkins (James Farmer Post-Doctoral Fellow).  The museum is very impressive, and students were struck by the variety of exhibits and the amount of information concerning our history that is overlooked in what they learn in school.  To our surprise, however, we found that if you do not already know who James Farmer is, and what CORE was, you will not learn it from the current set of exhibits!

O’Dell and Sumner present at International Delta Kappa Gamma Society Convention

Deborah O’Dell and Suzanne Sumner presented the workshop “Craft(y) Faculty Development:  Teachers as Learners” for the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Convention, July 5 – 9, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Delta Kappa Gamma is a professional honor society with the mission to promote professional leadership development of women educators and excellence in education.

Professors Elected Co-Chairs of AAC&U PKAL D.C. Regional Network

Suzanne Sumner

Suzanne Sumner

Debra Hydorn

Debra Hydorn

Professors Debra Hydorn and Suzanne Sumner (mathematics) were elected co-chairs of the new  D.C. regional network of the American Association’s Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL). Hydorn and Sumner are both members of PKAL’s Faculty for the 21st Century (F21) Network. The goals for the network are to continue the work of PKAL toward improving STEM education for all students and providing faculty development and leadership opportunities for STEM educators.  The D.C. regional network is planning on holding two meetings each year. The first meeting is planned for Fall 2104 in the D.C. area. The second meeting will be held at JMU in the spring of 2015.

Four UMW Faculty Present at 2013 Lilly Conference

Suzanne Sumner explains her presentation during the 2013 Lilly Conference. Photo courtesy of Ian Franczak.

Suzanne Sumner, professor of mathematics, Mary Beth Mathews, associate professor of religion, Kathryn Loesser-Casey, professor of biology, and Debra Hydorn, professor of mathematics, gave presentations at the 2013 Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching. The theme of this year’s conference was “Evidence Based Teaching and Learning.” Professors Sumner and Mathews gave a poster presentation on “The ‘Race and Revolotion’ First-Year Seminar: Reclaiming the University of Mary Washington’s Social Justice.” Professors Hydorn and Loesser-Casey gave a workshop on “A New Course to Develop Students’ Scientific Reasoning and Practice Skills.” The conference took place in Bethesda, Md., from May 30 – June 2.

Mathematics Faculty and Student Present in San Diego

Suzanne Sumner

Suzanne Sumner

At the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, Calif., in January, two faculty members and a student from UMW presented their work.  Suzanne Sumner, professor of mathematics, delivered the talk “Intensive Experiences for Undergraduate Mathematics” in a session on Communicating Mathematics sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America.


Debra Hydorn

Debra Hydorn

Debra Hydorn, professor of mathematics, spoke in a session devoted to Innovative Ideas for Courses in the First Two Years.  Her talk was titled “Exploratory Projects in an Introduction to Discrete Mathematics Course.”  Hydorn gave a second talk titled “Using R for Data Analysis Assignments in an Introductory Statistics Course” in a session devoted to Modern Ideas in Introductory Statistics Courses.  In addition, she was honored to have a piece of geometric artwork accepted through a juried process to the Mathematical Art Exhibition.

Finally, UMW senior Ryan Vaughn presented a poster at the National Undergraduate Student poster competition.  Ryan’s poster, titled “Embeddings of Complete Bipartite Graphs in Finite Projective Planes” won one of the Outstanding Poster Awards.

Suzanne Sumner Delivers Invited Talk at VCU

Suzanna Sumner

Professor of Mathematics Suzanne Sumner, together with Dr. Wyatt Mangum, adjunct faculty member, recently delivered the invited talk “Worker Bee Aggression towards a Foreign Queen: Modeling from Data” for the Progress on Difference Equations international conference hosted at Virginia Commonwealth University.  The talk addressed their continued research into the mathematical modeling associated with the behavior of bees.

Mary Rigsby and Suzanne Sumner Present at Teaching Professor Conference

Mary Rigsby

Mary Rigsby, professor of English, and Suzanne Sumner, professor of mathematics, gave an invited feature presentation at the Teaching Professor Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, held May 20-22, titled “BustingWalls and Overcoming Blahs:  Knotty Problems and Speed Dating.”  The Teaching Professor Conference is a premier international conference on teaching pedagogy at the college level, with 800 participants from 10 countries.

Rigsby and Sumner received this invitation because of their past participation in Teaching Professor conferences, and to share their

Suzanne Sumner

experiences as former directors of UMW’s Teaching Innovation Program.  In addition, Sumner is currently on the advisory board for the Teaching Professor Conference and reviewed  proposals for contributed sessions for the conference.