On Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12, Drs. Elliot Krop and Christopher Raridan of the Clayton State University Mathematics Department in the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS) escorted 11 Clayton State students to the first-ever Kennesaw Mountain Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, held at Kennesaw State University and funded by the National Science Foundation. Presentations were given by students from Clayton State, University of Georgia, UNC-Asheville, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Berry College, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Clayton State students attending the conference were Alex Adams (Hapeville), Samuel Adams (Hapeville), Marcus Bartlett (Stockbridge), Michael Bennington (Hampton), Thao Duong (Riverdale), Tranisha Guthridge (Forest Park), William Knowles (Peachtree City), Christine Lengel (Ellenwood), Michael Ngo (Jonesboro), Myron Standridge (Forest Park), and Tony Yaacoub (Beirut, Lebanon).
“After speaking with the students, it became clear to me that opportunities like this have a significant impact on student interest in mathematics and in research in general,” says Raridan. “This active learning, this active engagement in the discipline, will motivate these students to work a little harder in class because they’ve seen what can be achieved by their peers.
“Given the current movement toward active learning here at Clayton State, and the amount of effort being put into realizing the goals set forth in our Strategic Plan, the future is bright for Clayton State CIMS students!”
The first day of the conference provided a very interesting origami workshop led by Dr. Robert Rumely from UGA. The workshop started with participants watching the movie “Between the Folds,” an interview with some of the world’s leading origamists, including Erik Demaine, who will be speaking at the 91st Meeting of the MAA Southeastern Section, to be held at Clayton State in March 2012.
“As a freshman, I liked going to the conference to see what math is all about,” says Samuel Adams. “I liked how there were sessions showing how math can be used in different ways, especially real-life applications.”
“I really enjoyed the conference and was absolutely thrilled to see mathematics used in so many ways,” adds Duong. “These conferences are definitely invaluable, and I look forward to going to more conferences with the Math Club at Clayton State University.”
The second day of the conference was devoted primarily to student research. Students from many universities presented their topics, including two of Clayton State’s senior mathematics majors. Bartlett presented results from his work, “On some relations between chemical indices of trees” and Yaacoub presented results, “On Cartesian products of graphs and the Roman domination function.” The abstracts for these talks can be found at http://www.uncg.edu/mat/rmsc/talks-abstracts.html. Both students are completing their Senior Capstone Projects under the guidance of Krop.
“The KSU conference was fantastic as it allowed me to get some perspective about what mathematical research is like and allowed me an opportunity to meet other mathematicians from around the southeast. I would love to have the opportunity to go to another conference!” says Alex Adams.
On Saturday, the very funny Dr. Colin Adams (Williams College) had students and faculty members alike rolling in the aisles during his keynote address entitled “What Knot to Do when Sailing.” Assuming the alias of Sir Richard Bacon III, Adams tricked the audience into learning a little knot theory (yes, people do study knots) as he told his pun-heavy tale of a high seas adventure involving knots, sheets, flan, sharks, and his America-side mentor Mel Slugbate, a sleazy real estate agent from Texas.
Ngo probably summed the conference up the best. “There were just enough breaks to take a step back from having my mind blown so many times during the day! The presentations were really interesting, and the whole experience encouraged me to do my own presentation someday as well. The keynote speakers were very entertaining.”
The students’ travel was funded through the Clayton State Math Club budget and from travel funds provided by CIMS. The students and the professors would like to offer special thanks to the Student Fees Advisory Board, especially Dr. Elaine Manglitz, and to Brandi Davis and Felisha Whitehead in the Department of Student Affairs, for all of their help and support. In addition, they would like to thank Dr. Anthony Giovannitti, interim Mathematics Department chair, and Dr. Lila Roberts, dean of CIMS, for providing additional support for travel to conferences.
for more information about the Clayton State University Math Club, please visit http://studentorg.clayton.edu/mathclub/index.html.