• Statistician Dr. Talithia Williams addressed the campus community in April during Common Hour, a time F&M regularly sets aside each week during the academic year that enables all students, faculty and professional staff to gather together for culturally and academically enriching events.  Common Hour spotlights vital and relevant issues that are international, national, local and institutional in scope. Statistician Dr. Talithia Williams addressed the campus community in April during Common Hour, a time F&M regularly sets aside each week during the academic year that enables all students, faculty and professional staff to gather together for culturally and academically enriching events. Common Hour spotlights vital and relevant issues that are international, national, local and institutional in scope.

F&M Math Hosts Award-Winning Statistician

The Math Department proposed and coordinated a campus-wide Common Hour this past April 14, featuring Dr. Talithia Williams, a champion for an inclusive mathematical community. An innovative, award-winning Harvey Mudd College statistician  and a co-host of the PBS NOVA series NOVA Wonders, Dr. Williams engaged the F&M community with her talk, "Data-Driven Decision Making, Now and Imagined."   

F&M mathematician Prof. Annalisa Crannell initially submitted the Common Hour program proposal and introduced Dr. Williams.  The program was supported by the Math Department, Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the POC Alliance, and the Alice Drum Women's Center.

The professor and speaker explained how technology has a history of being a catalyst of change in training and education, for example, with desktop computers and, more recently, with the emergence of smartphones.  The next big technological disruption, Dr. Williams stated, is: Data.

  • Statistician Dr. Talithia Williams described examples of data being used to better understand performance in both education and enterprise at a Common Hour talk during the spring semester, and how those insights are being used to inform decision making and transform society. Statistician Dr. Talithia Williams described examples of data being used to better understand performance in both education and enterprise at a Common Hour talk during the spring semester, and how those insights are being used to inform decision making and transform society.

Dr. Williams shared how the advancing world of data analytics is forever changing the future of learning and work, including  the expanding ways in which data is generated, and the advancements in analytics that make that data actionable.  The talk was highlighted in The Diplomat, and can be found at Big Data, Big Prejudice?  Breaking Down Data Bias.

Her leadership roles in numerous STEM organizations include the Mathematical Association of America and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences.  

She demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways to excite students, parents, educators and the larger community about STEM education and its possibilities.  Dr. Williams is the author of  Power in Numbers:  The Rebel Women of Mathematics, a full-color book spotlighting the influence of women in the mathematical sciences in the last two millennia, and a speaker whose popular TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” extols the value of statistics in quantifying personal health information. 

Her research focus involves developing statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and applies them to problems in the environment.

Through her research and work in the community at large, she is helping change the collective mindset regarding STEM in general and math in particular, rebranding the field of mathematics as anything but a dry, technical or male-dominated field; instead, a logical, productive career path that is crucial to the future of the country.   The full recording of Dr. William's talk is accessible to those who have an F&M net ID, and can be found in the Common Hour Archive.

 

  • F&M career panelist Lauren D'Arinzo '17 says the math curriculum at F&M "set the stage for me to think critically about how we can solve statistical problems in the real world." F&M career panelist Lauren D'Arinzo '17 says the math curriculum at F&M "set the stage for me to think critically about how we can solve statistical problems in the real world."

Alumni Career Panel Shares On-the-Job Insights

Math major alumni from F&M and Millersville University shared their advice and answered current students’ questions about the variety of fields they represent during a virtual Alumni Career Panel this  spring semester. 

The panel featured:

  • Lauren D'Arinzo, F&M '17 (Joint Studies: Public Health & Math), currently a full-time master's student at NYU's Center for Data Science; part-time decision sciences analyst at NBCUniversal; and incoming senior data scientist at MITRE upon graduate school completion. 

The alum says, "Data is a ubiquitous resource and I work to promote its informed and high-impact usage by uniting teams of data scientists, data engineers, and data analysts. 

  • Rebecca Grube, MU '17 (Mathematics, with concentrations in Statistics and Applied Mathematics), employed by Clark Associates as a senior vendor manager.  

The alum describes, "In my career, I use mathematics as a tool to help effectively manage and develop strategies for millions of dollars’ worth of products that are essential to restaurants and companies across the United States."

  • Syed Mehmud, F&M '04 (Mathematics & Physics), employed by Wakely Consulting Group.  

The alum comments, "I am an unusual actuary in the sense I focus on big data, scalable analytics and telling stories based on math."

The program was the last session of the spring 2021 Joint Math Colloquium series, organized by the faculty of Franklin & Marshall College and Millersville University.

Teams Tackle International Math Contest

Two F&M student teams competed in this year’s COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM), an international contest for high school students and college undergraduates.  The contest attracts diverse students and faculty advisors from over 900 institutions around the world.

Team 1 was composed of:  Zhengyi Xiao ’21, Liting Huang ’21 and Yusong Sebastian Deng ’23; and Team 2:  Yuekun Shao’22, Shuwan Ning ’22 and Yihang Du’23.

Both teams received certificates as “Successful Participants” for the contest which spanned over four days.  The student teams produced creative and relevant solutions to one of six complex, open-ended questions and built models to handle the tasks assigned in the problems.  Team 1 chose problem E, related to environmental science; Team 2, problem D, which tackled operations research/networking. The problems also required data analysis, creative modeling, and scientific methodology, along with effective writing and visualization to communicate their teams' results in a 25-page report. 

Department, Honor Society Award Students for 2021

The Mathematics Department is pleased to announce its awards recipients for 2021, in addition to noting new inductees into F&M's Pi Mu Epsilon national math honor society. 

Ronald K. Stuart Mathematics Prize

Anay Gonzalez ’21 and Zhengyi Xiao are this year's co-recipients of the Ronald K. Stuart Mathematics Prize.  The Stuart Prize is the highest honor the F&M Mathematics Department grants and is awarded each year to the senior (or seniors) who accomplishes the best mathematical work of all students in the graduating class.

The prize, endowed by funds donated to the department, includes an honorary stipend and is “awarded to the student who has completed major work in the field of mathematics with greatest distinction.”

 

  • The Math Department's top honor, the Stuart Mathematics Prize, was awarded to graduating seniors Anay Gonzalez '21 and Zhengyi Xiao '21. The Math Department's top honor, the Stuart Mathematics Prize, was awarded to graduating seniors Anay Gonzalez '21 and Zhengyi Xiao '21.

Anay is an aspiring actuary and will be working towards passing the actuary exams. She is currently employed as a financial consultant at Florida Financial Advisors, Miami. 

Zhengyi plans to attend the University of Oxford, England, for a year in the Master’s of Science program in Advanced Computer Science and will study machine learning and artificial intelligence.  He will then return to the United States and study data science at the University of Pennsylvania.

John Kershner Scholars

Seventeen students are the recipients of the 2021 John Kershner Scholar designation.  This honor is awarded to "students of good and regular standing in the College for proficiency in mathematics,” and includes an honorary stipend.

The following seniors are second-time recipients:  

  •  Thu Do ‘21
  • Zhengyi Xiao ‘21
  • Andrew Kaplan ‘21
  • Xinwen (Beverly) Xu ‘21
  • Nart Shalqini ‘22
 

First-time awardees include:  

  • Menghan (Patti) Chen ‘22
  • Jianqing (Emma) Shen ‘21
  • Jihang Dai ‘22
  • Rafael Silva ‘21
  • Anay Gonzalez ‘21
  • Ruosi (Rose) Sun ‘21
  • Zecheng (Tom) Huang ‘21
  • Siyang (Sylvia) Sun ‘22
  • Rebecca McClain ‘22
  • Yimeng Wang ‘21
  • Nataliia Nevinchana ‘21

 

 

Pi Mu Epsilon Math Honor Society

F&M's Pennsylvania Eta Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) national math honor society welcomed 22 new members during the 2021 spring semester. 

Pi Mu Epsilon, a national mathematics honor society, with chapters located throughout the United States, elects members in post-secondary institutions according to their outstanding scholastic records and exceptional performance in mathematics. The society sponsors activities to engage members in mathematical and scholarly development.

 

  • Pi Mu Epsilon's colors are violet, gold and lavender, found within the honor society's crest. The crest is a shield, divided into four sections that represent beauty, community, integrity and truth in mathematics. Pi Mu Epsilon's colors are violet, gold and lavender, found within the honor society's crest. The crest is a shield, divided into four sections that represent beauty, community, integrity and truth in mathematics.

Chapters of PME may be chartered only at academic institutions whose standards are excellent in all the liberal arts and particularly so in mathematics.  F&M's chapter was founded in 1963.

The following students were inducted:  

  • Katherine M. Breczinski '22
  • Evan M. Shinn ‘22
  • Jihang Dai ‘22
  • Alexander D. Sobey-Strick ‘23
  • Y. M. Dang ‘21
  • Michael D. Valentino ‘22
  • Paul Spencer Davis '22
  • Shen Wang ‘23
  • Lea V. Dungan ‘21
  • Zeyuan (Robin) Wang  ‘22
  • Alicia G. Eckley ‘21
  • Tyler J. Wassell ‘22
  • Kutay Karakas ‘21
  • Congcong Wu ‘21
  • Haolan Ling ‘23
  • Zhengyi Xiao ‘21
  • Rebecca McClain ‘22
  • Junqian (Penny) Zhang ‘23
  • Tram Q. Nguyen ‘22
  • Hangqi Zheng ‘22
  • Brandon G. Perezous ‘22
  • Danielle Zoeller ‘23

 

This year the chapter hosted F&M math major alum Brian Habecker '02 , U.S. Department of Defense, as a special guest speaker.  He addressed cyber-security, "Hackerman 101: Dunking on Spies for Fun and Profit," in conjuction with the Joint Math Colloquium, a collaborative effort between F&M and Millersville University math departments.

Acting PME Pennsylvania Eta Chapter President Rafael Silva '21 assisted outgoing PME Advisor Prof. Annalisa Crannell with the in-person and virtual ceremony.  Katherine M. Breczinski '22 was elected president to serve for 2021-22;  Prof. Michael McCooey will serve as faculty advisor for the next academic year. 

Talks, Seminars & Competitions Take Shape

  • Open Performance

Joint Math Colloquium Series

F&M and our colleagues down the road at Millersville University jointly present a quasi-weekly mathematics colloquium talk series on Thursday afternoons during the academic year. All are welcome! Talks vary in their intended audiences: Some are moderately specialized and technical, while others are very student-friendly.   The colloquium schedule for fall 2021 is located here.

  • Tetrahedron image

Tetrahedral Geometry-Topology Seminar

Topologists, geometers, and other interested colleagues from F&M, Millersville University, Elizabethtown College, and Lebanon Valley College (the four vertices of our "tetrahedron") also co-sponsor a monthly geometry and topology research seminar series. We generally meet on the first Friday of each month at Hempfield High School (the approximate barycenter of our tetrahedron), in a math classroom festooned with inspirational Garfield posters. We then relax with a nice dinner out.  Stay tuned for plans for the fall 2021 semester.

 

  • writing, computer

Putnam Exam

The Putnam Exam is a prestigious, challenging competitive mathematics exam administered annually on the first Saturday in December to students at colleges and universities across the US and Canada. Franklin & Marshall has made good showings in recent years, and we hope to continue the tradition this year.

Interested students should contact Prof. Nicholas Baeth at nbaeth@andm.edu.

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