Department Updates

 People with science, mathematics and engineering degrees who want to be part of a national effort to reform the way math and science are taught in the United States have a new option--a graduate fellowship program that offers a $30,000 stipend and a chance to spend a transformative year earning a master's degree and teaching in a high-need middle or high school classroom. Western Michigan University is one of six Michigan universities now accepting applications for entry into the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship Program.

 Dr. Christian Hirsch, who is nationally known for his work in leading the successful Core-Plus Mathematics Project at WMU, will lead a new effort called Transitions to College Mathematics and Statistics. The goal is to design, develop, field-test, refine and bring to publication a fourth-year mathematics course that can be used in high schools around the nation, regardless of the type of curriculum used for the first three years.

 Inch selected as Presidential Scholar. The Department of Mathematics is pleased to acknowledge its selection of Kristina Inch as the department's Presidential Scholar for 2010. Kristina is a senior Secondary Mathematics and Physics Teaching major who is also a recipient of one of the department's prestigious Beeler Scholarships for 2009-10. A 2006 graduate of Flat Rock High School in Flat Rock, Michigan, Kristina maintained a 3.97 GPA through the fall 2009 semester. She is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon (secretary), ScMaTa (co-secretary), and Kappa Delta Pi at WMU. She interned in a seventh grade math classroom at Portage North Middle School. Kristina will graduate in May of this year, and hopes to find a high school teaching position for next fall.

 Kalamazoo Area Algebra Project (KA2P) is launched. Teachers from 19 area school districts met at WMU on Saturday, February 6, 2010, to participate in a day of training that will prepare them to facilitate professional development in their districts. KA2P is designed to enhance content knowledge for grades 6-12 mathematics teachers, and is a partnership between the WMU Department of Mathematics, the Kalamazoo Math/Science Center, and 19 school districts in Southwest Michigan. The project is funded by a grant of $993,000 from the Mathematics and Science Partnership Program of the Michigan Department of Education, and is directed by WMU's Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer. A unique feature of this initiative is that professional development programs will be delivered through online formats and DVD instructional modules. The 2010 and 2011 summer programs will be devoted entirely to technology for teaching algebra, and will be delivered face-to-face. The DVD instructional modules are being developed by WMU's mathematicians with the assistance of WMU's Academic Technology Instructional Services. For more information, contact .

Koelling Koelling awarded Space Grant.
Faculty member Melinda Koelling, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a $5000 grant from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium in support of her project, Mathematical Models of Several Neurons Near a Microelectrode Array. Project dates are May, 2010, to April, 2011. The Consortium grants program is administered by NASA. Its grants support research on space-related science and technology.

Department graduate students publish and present work at national meetings.

Graduate students Meaghan Heires, Ryan Jones, Willem Renzema, and Matthew Roberts, together with Futaba Okamoto (Ph.D. 2007) had their paper entitled Non-trivial Solutions to a Checkerboard Problem accepted for publication in Involve, a journal showcasing mathematical research involving graduate students.

Graduate students Kyle Kolasinski, Jianwei Lin, Chira Lumduanhom, and Bryan Phinezy, together with Futaba Okamoto (Ph.D. 2007) had their paper entitled The Singular Chromatic Number of a Graph accepted for publication in Ars Combinatoria, a Canadian journal of combinatorics.

Graduate student Anirban Dutta presented his paper entitled Option Pricing for Biomedical Firms with Predictable Price Jumps at the Joint Mathematical Meetings, held January 13-16, 2010, in San Francisco. His trip was supported by a $600 Travel Award from the WMU Graduate College. Anirban is working to complete his Ph.D. in mathematics under the direction of Professor Jim Zhu. His thesis defense is set for February 24, and he is on track to graduate in May of this year.

Ph.D. students Allan Bickle and Ben Phillips have had their paper entitled 2-Tone Colorings of Graphs accepted for presentation at the Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Computing, to be held March 8-12 at Florida Atlantic University. Allan is a student of Professor Allen Schwenk, and Ben is a student of Professor Clif Ealy.

Alumni nominations sought. The department is accepting nominations for its 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. Anyone having received a WMU degree (bachelors, masters, doctorate) in the Department of Mathematics or in the former Department of Mathematics and Statistics is eligible for this award. To submit a nomination, please send the nominee's name and year of graduation, together with a brief description of their accomplishment, to by August 15, 2010.

Math Student Commons upgrades. The Math Student Commons, located in Rood Hall 3361, is now better than ever! Thanks to funding supplied by the WMU College of Arts and Sciences, the Commons received a major overhaul this summer. Improvements include new paint, carpet, and furniture. The Commons is open wMath Commonseekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and has seen increased use each year since it opened in the fall of 2007. This space is intended as a casual place for students to study, discuss mathematics (free chalk!), relax between classes, browse its collection of books and journals, view the gardens behind Lee Honors College, or play a game of chess.

Ivars Peterson, MAA, delivers public lecture






Department of Mathematics
3319 Everett Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5248 USA
(269) 387-4510 | (269) 387-4530 Fax