Last month, Clayton State University hosted the 91st meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Southeastern Section. There were well over 500 participants, so preparing was no small matter. Under the guidance of Clayton State Professor Emerita Dr. Cathie Aust, the MAA Planning Committee lived up to the challenge, though, and accommodated those in attendance with a style befitting the Clayton State name.
In addition to the numerous Clayton State faculty and staff members attending, approximately 20 Clayton State students attended, presented, or provided some volunteer hours for the conference: Alex Adams (Hapeville), Samuel Adams (Hapeville), Blake Anderson (Stockbridge), Marcus Bartlett (Stockbridge), Michael Bennington (Hampton), Chris Donovan (McDonough), Thao Duong (Riverdale), Tranisha Guthridge (Forest Park), Jessica Heath (Jonesboro), William Knowles (Peachtree City), Christine Lengel (Ellenwood), Sarah Minion (Fayetteville), Maria Morales-Beale (St. Louis), Michael Ngo (Morrow), Tracey Nicks (Atlanta), Khalid Rajahn (Jonesboro), Jayson Richard (Vicenza, Italy), Jarvis Turner (Morrow), Pedro Torres (Attleboro, Ma.), and Tony Yaacoub (Beirut, Lebanon).
This year was marked by a very important milestone concerning the MAA-SE conference: the first ever Math Jeopardy team, Clayton State Alpha. Bartlett, Donovan, Ngo, and Turner worked great together and learned a lot in participating in the Math Jeopardy competition.
“I enjoyed watching the teams participate in the Math Jeopardy Competition,” says Duong. “Overall, the conference was very exciting and I look forward to attending the conference again next year.”
“This was my first time attending an undergraduate math conference, and on top of it being a truly enjoyable experience it motivated me to continue doing my own research as an undergraduate,” remarks Donovan. “The MAA-SE experience inspired me to look into attending more conferences, and hopefully present my own work at those conferences. I think attending and participating in conferences like the MAA-SE are essential to the development of all future mathematicians.”
In addition to fielding the first Math Jeopardy Team, the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences at Clayton State had four students who gave 15-minute talks concerning their undergraduate research. Bartlett and Yaacoub, both seniors, presented results from their respective Capstone Projects entitled “On some relations between chemical indices of trees” and “On Cartesian products of graphs and the Roman domination function.” Morales-Beale, a junior, presented her research on the psychology of learning mathematics entitled “Little Man Tate and Other Great Minds.” Ngo, a sophomore, presented results from his research entitled “On new bounds for the monophonic number of Cartesian products of graphs.”
Bartlett, Yaacoub and Ngo are working under the direction of Dr. Elliot Krop and Morales-Beale is working with Dr. Kelli Nipper. Both professors are faculty in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences. The abstracts for the talks can be found at http://sections.maa.org/southeastern/maase/conference/presentationabstract.pdf.
“The MAA-SE conference was a great experience,” says Bartlett. “I enjoyed not only presenting my research and having the opportunity to become comfortable speaking in front of others, but also getting a chance to hear about undergraduate research projects from other students from around the southeast. I hope that opportunities such as attending undergraduate research conferences will continue to be made available to all students who show interest.”
“I am very proud of the students who presented—it is a testament to the dedication of the Math Department’s faculty that we would have so many students prepared to share their research at such a well-respected conference,” adds Raridan. “And to see so many students willing to volunteer their time, many of them giving up their Spring Break, only reiterates the desire that our students are showing for attending mathematics conferences.”