W&J Students, Professors Present Research at National Mathematics Conference

Created: August 21, 2015
Last Updated: July 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (August 21, 2015)- Three Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) professors and three W&J students presented their work at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) centennial meeting this summer.

The annual national event, known as Mathfest, is mainly for undergraduate teachings and research in mathematics. The centennial was held in Washington, D.C. and there were about 2,400 participants; three of them being Amanda Mummert ’17, Katie Linthicum ’17, and Kadie Clancy ’17 from W&J.

All three students expanded projects they worked on in the classroom and presented the projects at the conference. Mummert, Linthicum, and Clancy all presented their MTH 308 project, “Social Security Benefit: Now or Later,” in which they analyzed the social security system by using a differential equation to figure out when a person should start to collect their Social Security based on tax brackets and investment rates.

Roman Wong Ph.D., a math professor at W&J, noted how well the three students presented.

“They, along with the College, got exposure and recognition in the math community at the national scale. Their presentation of the Social Security paper received a lot of interesting questions and inquiries after their presentation. One person asked them to email their presentation slides,” said Wong.

The research and the presentations from their own groups, and other groups and individuals proved to be beneficial for the students as their mathematical knowledge and research skills expanded.

“I learned more about different types of math and their applications, from graph theory and games to using math with imagery in computers. We got to see some famous mathematicians solve simple things we don’t think about using math for with math,” said Mummert.

Clancy is a part of the national math honor society Pi Mu Epsilon, PME, which also holds its annual meeting at Mathfest. PME helped fund Clancy to attend the meeting where she presented her own project from MTH 320 entitled “Flying Napoleon Triangles.”

The students weren’t the only ones who were present at Mathfest this year; in addition to Wong, W&J math professors Ryan Higginbottom, Ph.D. and Michael Woltermann, Ph.D. attended the meeting. Higginbottom presented “Warmup Problems: How to Help Students Learn, Avoid Grading Homework, and Make All Your Dreams Come True.”

W&J was well represented at Mathfest this year and gained recognition for the hard work that both the students and professors put into their presentations.

“We received a lot of positive feedback including people asking for a copy [of our presentation] and people just coming up to us as they were leaving and stopping to congratulate us on a job well done,” said Mummert.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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