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Chair’s message

May 24, 2012
Dr. George Ashline

Dr. George Ashline

At the end of another exciting academic year at Saint Michael’s, we are celebrating the accomplishments and graduation of ten mathematics majors.1 They are planning to pursue a variety of endeavors, ranging from mathematics education to graduate school in applied mathematics to employment with insurance and accounting companies.

Speaking of employment, it is worth noting that once again several of the top rated jobs in 2012 require significant mathematical abilities and skills. In particular, in the Jobs Rated 2012 top 10 list, 5 of the top 10 positions involve proficiency with advanced mathematics.

For information on the activities of some of our current students and graduates, please see our alumni profiles and other relevant information available on our departmental webpage. This summer, we once again have students participating in grant-supported undergraduate research on campus and at other institutions. Information about some of them is included at the end of this letter.

This past year, we welcomed a new full time member to the Department, namely Professor Krisan Geary. After completing her Master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Vermont and teaching there for several years most recently, Prof. Geary has served the College and Department as Instructor and Quantitative Skills Coordinator.  She has taught both Elementary Statistics and Elements of Calculus, which have been expanded under the new College curriculum implemented this past year. As part of this curriculum, all undergraduates must now complete at least one Quantitative Reasoning course, and Prof. Geary has provided academic support to students and faculty in quantitative courses and disciplines, such as through coordination of our mathematics peer tutors. Furthermore, she is revising our Calculus Placement Test to provide feedback to incoming and current students about their preparation for introductory Calculus.

In our continuing Departmental Colloquium Series, we have regularly offered talks on a variety of mathematical topics. In 2011-2012, we had an especially rich collection of presentations by our current and former students and well as several distinguished visitors. Their presentations included:

  • In September of 2011, several undergraduates presented results from their summer undergraduate research work, including
    • James Coolidge ’12 and Kevin O’Brien ’12  “Utilizing the Octet Truss in the Design of Lateral Transfer Retroreflectors”
    • Katie Heath ’14 “Signature Recognition using Wavelets and Other Methods”
    • Eric Parziale ’13 “Possession is 9/10’s of the Law: Banking, Footie, and how to ‘Excel’ at Multilevel Logistic Regression”
    • Jaqui Tuthill ’12 “Rhythmic Clustering of Drum Breaks”
  • Later in September of 2011, Prof. Frank Morgan from Williams College presented our annual Pi Mu Epsilon Lecture “Soap Bubbles and Mathematics.”
  • In October of 2011, Prof. Emily Proctor from Middlebury College, gave the Colloquium talk “Describing the Orbisurfaces.”
  • In November of 2011, Prof. Charles Bergeron from Rensselaer Polytechnic University, gave the Colloquium talk “Least-Squares Curve-Fitting Techniques for Improved Medicine Development.”
  • Later in November of 2011, Sarah Hamilton ’07  Ph.D. candidate from Colorado State University, gave the Colloquium talk “Oh the Things You Can Do and the Places You’ll See With a Mathematics Degree from SMC!”
  • In January of 2012, Prof. Sheila Weaver from UVM gave the Colloquium talk “Mathematics and the Arts.”
  • In February of 2012, Prof. Christine Latulippe from Norwich University gave the Colloquium talk “This is a Test…This is Only a Test…The As Bs and Cs of Assessment in Mathematics.”
  • In April of 2012, Prof. Dan Velleman from Amherst College gave the Colloquium talk “Taylor Series by Nonstandard Analysis.”
  • Also, Prof. Jo Ellis-Monaghan has continued to serve as co-organizer/coordinator of the weekly Combinatorics Seminar jointly hosted by Saint Michael’s and the University of Vermont.

We enjoy hearing from all of our mathematics graduates. Please keep in touch! And please consider including your post-Saint Michael’s experiences among our alumni spotlights. Thank you for your support!

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