Category: CMS – Page 2

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.

Students Conduct Research on UCO’s Mediterranean Geckos

During the early surge of undergraduate research and transformative learning at UCO, we conducted a study of Mediterranean Geckos for which the data were collected by undergraduate students as part of a class project. For six consecutive Spring Semesters (2012-2017) students in General Biology for Majors – Principles (BIO 1204) conducted nightly censuses of Howell Hall, recording the presence of geckos on the walls of the building. Students were responsible for scheduling and conducting censuses, making and printing datasheets, entering and analyzing census data, collecting temperature data, and writing a report every year summarizing the data.

The original goal of the study was to document the date of spring emergence from hibernation. We assumed geckos hibernated during winter, because every other lizard species in Oklahoma hibernates. However, students made an interesting discovery during our study – geckos at UCO are active all winter. Geckos were active on the outside walls of Howell Hall on 343 of 391 censuses (88%), including 13 of 31 censuses (42%) when ambient temperatures were 0oC (freezing) or lower. It seems clear that this activity could not be sustained unless geckos were moving in and out of the building, using heat produced by humans to avoid the metabolic challenges of hibernation.

We recently published a manuscript about the study:
Stone, P. A., H. M. Marinoni, S. Laverty, and A. M. Fenwick. 2021. Winter activity in a northern population of Mediterranean Geckos (Hemidactylus turcicus). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 16:405-411.

Students were enthusiastic about the project, especially censusing geckos. A total of 193 students participated, and eventually, one determined student, Hillary Marinoni, spearheaded the effort to publish.

Welcome Mr. Chi San (Derrick) Lau

Mr. Chi San (Derrick) Lau joined the computer science (CS) faculty as a visiting instructor in fall 2021.  Mr. Lau holds an MS in Computer Science degree from UCO.  While studying at UCO, Mr. Lau completed the first graduate thesis of the MS in Computer Science program under the supervision of Dr. Jicheng Fu.  His research focuses on applying deep-learning techniques to the area of artificial intelligence planning.  Mr. Lau will teach at UCO for one year.  In the fall, Mr. Lau teaches several lower-division programming classes and labs.  Using this opportunity, we would like to welcome Mr. Lau to the CS faculty.

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.

Celebration of Dr. Bill McDaniel’s Retirement

After serving in the Computer Science Department, the College of Math and Science, and UCO for 39 years, Dr. Bill McDaniel retired on July 30.  It is bittersweet for his colleagues and students to see him leave.  On the one hand, his retirement is well deserved.  On the other hand, we will miss him as a faithful colleague, teacher, and friend.

Dr. McDaniel’s work at UCO was driven by his great curiosity in the discipline of computer science.  When he served in the Vietnam War working as an avionics technician, he was able to learn the FORTRAN programming language and several assembly languages by reading books using his free time.  Afterward, he completed an MS in Computer Science degree at OSU in 1975 and taught at UCO for three years as an instructor.  He was away from UCO between 1978 and 1985.  During that time, he worked in industry as a developer and eventually completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Kansas State University in 1985.  This was when he came back to UCO to teach until his retirement.   Dr. McDaniel loves teaching and his students enjoyed his relaxed teaching approach and deep knowledge in programming.

Besides teaching, Dr. McDaniel also made many unique contributions to the college and the department using his computing skills.  One of these contributions was that he served as the college’s technical computing specialist in the early years of IT until the college hired a full-time technician.  During that time, he provided web & network support and wrote programs for various academic functions while in the role.  In the Computer Science Department, we are using his programs for student account management and system backup.

We would like to thank Dr. McDaniel for his long-time service at UCO.  And we wish him a happy retirement.

Biology Alumna featured in Association of American Medical Colleges Students and Residents Website

Christiana Obioma, a 2018 Biology-Biomedical Sciences graduate and current student at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, is featured in the online “Anatomy of an Applicant” series of the Association of American Medical Colleges. While at UCO, Christiana worked with Dr. Caroline Bentley, health professions advisor and associate professor of biology, to take the appropriate courses to fulfill medical school pre-requisites. She enlisted in the Army during her junior year, taking two semesters off while training to become an emergency medical technician. During her senior year, Christiana participated in a research project on wound healing with Dr. Melville Vaughan, professor of biology, and presented her research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation conference (OK-LSAMP). Christiana was named the Outstanding Biology Senior in 2018 and graduated cum laude.

Read more about Christana’s journey on the AAMC Students and Residents website, Compassionate Caregiver to Military Medic: Christiana’s Path to Medical School.