Category: CMS-Mathematics & Statistics

Two CMS Faculty Receive a Mathematics Education Grant

Two professors in our college recently received a Mathematics Association of America grant totaling $29,502 for mathematics education.

Dr. Emily Hendryx, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, and Dr. Matthew Parks, Assistant Professor of Biology, will receive $29,502 courtesy of the Mathematics Association of America. Their project, “Multiple Aspects of a Single-use Problem: Applying Mathematics to Understand Consumer Litter Distribution along Metropolitan Waterways,” will provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in applying mathematics and statistics to the real-world problem of consumer litter accumulation along local streams. In their 7-week program, students will not only develop mathematical models and perform statistical analyses based on local litter data, but they will also participate in the design and implementation of the data-collection process. Students will therefore gain first-hand experience in experiment design, fieldwork, data wrangling, basic programming skills, statistical analyses, and mathematical modeling through differential equations.

Both professors wish to thank the Mathematics Association of America for its generosity.

Oklahoma Academy of Sciences Technical Meeting at East Central University in Ada, OK

The College of Mathematics and Science had several undergraduate and graduate students attend and present at the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences Technical Meeting at East Central University in Ada, OK. OAS holds annual technical meetings, field meetings, and, until recently, junior academy meetings. The purpose of the Academy is to stimulate scientific research in Oklahoma.

CMS had one Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation winner at the 110th Technical Meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. Sidra Jawaid won in the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science section with her abstract titled “IDENTIFYING CRITICAL HIGHER-ORDER INTERACTIONS IN COMPLEX NETWORKS”.

Dr. David Bass has been involved in OAS since 1985 and has served in many leadership roles including president in 2000, and as the Executive Director for 20 years.  When asked what the value of OAS as a forum is, Dr. Bass said, “The technical meeting is a great venue for students to attend. Students have opportunities to listen to presentations by professionals and learn how these talks are conducted. Students also have an opportunity to present their own research findings in a low-key, friendly environment. It is also noteworthy that, as students, many faculty gave their first research talk at a state academy meeting.”

A UCO Senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences, Hallum Ewbank, presented her research this fall. When looking back at her experience she said “I really enjoyed getting to share my research and receive support and feedback from other students and professors. It was very encouraging to see others excited to hear about what I was doing and I gained valuable ideas for changes to make in the future. Additionally, it was a great way to hear about what others are researching in many different fields.” Professor Christopher Goodchild responded by stating, “The greatest accomplishment as a professor is seeing my students succeed.”

Dr. Chad King will continue to send his students to OAS stating that “This venue is a fantastic place for students who are new to research, to present their research findings and work on their science communication skills. This was the case for my research student, Valeria, who started in my research lab during Summer 2021. The research experience and OAS Technical Meeting has motivated her to pursue funding through the UCO RCSA grant program to answer a research question that she has fully developed on her own!”

Central has seven faculty members involved in the Executive Council of OAS including Dr. Benjamin Tayo, Dr. Brad Watkins, Dr. Nesreen Alsbou, Dr. Gang Xu, Dr. Mehmet Aktas, Dr. Nikki Seagraves, and Dr. David Bass.

For more information about the Oklahoma Academy of Science visit its website at www.oklahomaacademyofscience.org

Editor’s Note: See the full list of winners from the 110th Technical Meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Science Collegiate Academy awards (2021). www.oklahomaacademyofscience.org/2021.html

GirlsGetMath@UCO

In Fall 2019, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics was awarded a grant to run a summer program called GirlsGetMath@UCO, mirroring a well-established program at The Institute for Computational and Experimental Research at Brown University. However, COVID-19 hit, and all summer camps were put on hold. We were hopeful for Summer 2021, but during the planning phase, we found that vaccination rates weren’t at a level high enough to safely run the program. But this time we were able to modify our plans and shift our goals a bit in order to introduce local high school students to math in a way they may not have previously imagined. One way we did this was by creating a summer virtual book club. The book club was facilitated by UCO mathematics education major Amanda Tingler. She met (virtually) with students four Sundays during the summer to discuss the book “Power in Numbers: Rebel Women of Mathematics” by Talithia Williams, Ph.D. During one of the book club meetings, Amanda also held a college Q&A session. In addition to the book club, Amanda and UCO mathematics major Chase Compton began developing interactive, online math modules for high school students. Their work, which is still in progress, can be found here: https://bit.ly/3xCewCE.

Adeola Obembe conducts undergraduate research with Dr. Hendryx

Senior undergraduate student, Adeola Obembe, and Dr. Emily Hendryx have teamed up with cardiologist Dr. Stavros Stavrakis at OUHSC to conduct research at the interface of mathematics/statistics and medicine. The goal of their work is to develop models predictive of patient response to a non-invasive treatment for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) involving electrical nerve stimulation through an exterior part of the ear. Since Dr. Stavrakis has found that some, but not all, PAF patients see improvement given this nerve stimulation, Adeola and Dr. Hendryx are applying mathematical and statistical techniques to look for patterns in PAF patients’ electrocardiogram (ECG) data that may indicate whether a patient will actually respond to the treatment. With Dr. Stavrakis’ clinical expertise as a guide, Adeola is currently using computational algorithms to derive features from the ECG for use as model input—no small task when working with real patient data that can contain a variety of artifacts. The interdisciplinary team will continue to work on model construction over the months to come, in an effort to identify predictive ECG features and offer clinical decision support for future PAF treatment.

Alumni Highlight- Stephanie Walker

Stephanie with her poster at the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics

Stephanie Walker graduated from UCO in May 2020, with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She started working on a research project with Dr. Britney Hopkins in the spring of 2019, that morphed into a group project that included Dr. Mike Fulkerson, Dr. Erin Williams, and two fellow undergraduates. Stephanie started the project by learning and teaching basic difference equations to the group. She then moved forward adapting a technique for determining the existence of solutions for even-ordered differential equations to even-ordered difference equations using techniques drawn from functional analysis.  Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, she refined her work under a student Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities (RCSA) grant. She has presented her work both regionally and nationally at Oklahoma Research Day, the Joint Mathematics Meetings, and the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. Stephanie is currently a graduate student and teaching assistant in Mathematics at the University of Kansas.

Stephanie pictured with the four UCO students who attended the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (from left to right: Shannon Yeakley, Ashlynd Heatherington, Stephanie Walker, Amber Young)

UCO Professors Collaborate on U. of Kansas NSF EPSCoR Grant

Drs. Robert Brennan and Sean Laverty are part of a multi-institutional NSF EPSCoR grant to research tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The four-year $3,921,229 grant, “Marshalling Diverse Big Data Streams to Understand Complexity of Tick-borne Diseases in the Southern Great Plains,”  is a collaboration among six universities in Kansas and Oklahoma, with the University of Kansas (KU) serving as the lead institution. Along with KU and UCO, the consortium includes Kansas State University, Pittsburgh State University, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. According to the project abstract, major components of the research include assembling detailed large-scale datasets on the occurrences of different tick species, genomes of the ticks and pathogens, and environmental variation across the region. Dr. Brennan, biology professor, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Education and Research (CIBER) and associate dean of the UCO College of Mathematics and Science, serves as a Co-Principal Investigator on the grant. Dr. Laverty, associate professor of mathematics and statistics and CIBER member, will provide data analysis.