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"A Sense of Accomplishment" for Clayton State Students at MAA-SE Conference

Apr 03 2015

MAA-SE ConferenceThe Mathematical Association of America is celebrating its 100th year in 2015. And while Clayton State University students haven't "figured" in every Southeastern Section meeting, there's no denying MAA-SE has a strong Clayton State presence each year.

Earlier this month, MAA-SE held its 94th annual meeting at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, in Wilmington, N.C. Dr. Christopher Raridan, associate professor of Mathematics at Clayton State, and the holder of one of six University Professorships, once again escorted undergraduate students to this important meeting and mathematics research conference. In attendance were Ha Dao (Riverdale), Shayla Ellington (Huber Heights, Ohio), Kenny Gillis (Lake City), Chance Morgan (Stockbridge), Michael Ngo (Riverdale), and Ngan (Michelle) Nguyen (Nha Trang, Vietnam).

Raridan typically combines challenging his students with supporting them, working with dozens of Clayton State students since 2009 on undergraduate research projects in mathematics, often on subjects that are so complex as to be incomprehensible to non-math majors. That work, as exhibited by students at events like MAA-SE, provides an unparalleled sense of accomplishment.

“Engaging students in research projects and promoting students’ attendance at conferences gives them a strong sense of accomplishment and allows them an opportunity to become a true member of the academic community,” remarks Raridan. “Support for undergraduate research has been given priority at Clayton State as a high impact learning practice that increases student success. I am extremely proud that Clayton State students and faculty are so willing to invest their time and energy in such endeavors.

“I take my role as advisor on these projects very seriously, and I use my research interests, and my love of mathematics, to engage students in the classroom. I am always encouraging students to think for themselves and to seek out a solution that not only works, but one which works for them.”

Ngo, who is completing his Senior Capstone Project with Dr. Elliot Krop, associate professor of Mathematics at Clayton State, delivered a 15 minute presentation at MAA-SE about his research concerning small mixed pattern Ramsey numbers. This collaboration is based on work with several other recent Clayton State graduates; notably Marcus Bartlett (creator of the Bartlett Index while still an undergraduate at Clayton State), Thuhong Nguyen, and Petra President, and will likely result in a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Presenting enlivens the research and is a great opportunity to share results with other mathematicians,” says Ngo. “The bond within the mathematical community also enriches the learning experience and has encouraged me to attend graduate school.”

“I had an amazing time at the MAA-SE conference!" adds Ellington. "I am not a math major, but I had a great time and enjoyed many talks. I hope to attend more conferences in the future and present some of my own work.”

Gillis, Morgan, and Nguyen each reiterated Ellington’s desire to attend math conferences in the future and perhaps present their own research.

Dao, a dual-enrolled student from Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, is currently working with Hung Hua, a dual-degree student completing his second major at Georgia Institute of Technology, Ngo, and Raridan, and already has plans to present her research on the edge-balanced index sets of complete even bipartite graphs at the Clayton State Student Academic Conference on Friday, May 1.

Also in attendance at MAA-SE were undergraduate and graduate students and faculty from many institutions, including the host institute, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Asheville, Berry College, Davidson College, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, Winthrop University, and Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The holder of the Jimmy Easley University Professorship, named in honor of long-time Atlanta Journal/Constitution employee Jimmy Easley, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Alabama, Raridan is the organizer for the MAA-SE Student Poster Session and was named the 2015-2016 MAA-SE Section Lecturer.

Raridan would like to thank the Clayton State Office of the Provost for providing the funding to attend the 94th MAA-SE conference through the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program. He would also like to thank the Department of Mathematics, the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences, and the Math Club for their ongoing support of undergraduate mathematics research at Clayton State University.

Photo Caption: Pictured at the 94th MAA-SE Meeting are:  (front) Michelle Nguyen, Ha Dao, Shayla Ellington, (back) Chance Morgan, Kenny Gillis, Michael Ngo, and Dr. Christopher Raridan.

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