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News from the Undergraduate Program

The Undergraduate Committee this year consisted of Benny Evans, Marvin Keener, Ning Ju, and Lisa Mantini. Lisa also served as faculty advisor to the Math Club. Two of our new courses officially came online this year. They Partial Differential Equations (MATH 4263), which supports both our pure and applied mathematics programs, and Mathematical Interest Theory (MATH 4453), which supports our financial mathematics program. Both of these courses have been taught recently under temporary numbers, but are now on our permanent course rotation. We will continue to modify our programs and add new courses where needed to keep OSU abreast of developments in modern mathematics and its applications.

This year, I want to devote the major part of this article to the activities of math majors outside the classroom.

The Math Club meets monthly and invites the participation of both mathematics and mathematics education majors. The officers of the club are Jack Knorr - President, Lauren Smith - Vice-President, Matt Davis - Secretary, Jonathan Crossley - Treasurer, Ben Wescoatt - Graduate Liaison. The Math Club regularly provides free pizza and a program that is fun and interesting. The March meeting, for example, featured a "Math Jeopardy" competition.

Some of our students take the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty to write a Senior Honors Thesis. A list of Senior Honors Theses written since 1992 is available here. Carlos Bernal and Jack Knorr are currently working on their Honors Theses, and their names will be added in due course. Topics have been selected from analysis, algebra, topology, complex analysis, number theory, applied mathematics, and mathematics education. Almost any mathematics-related topic that a student finds interesting can be developed into an Honors Thesis, and the department encourages all interested students to take advantage of this opportunity. Students begin the process at the beginning of their senior year by enrolling in one hour of thesis preparation. During this semester, the student works with the thesis advisor to develop the basis for the thesis. The thesis itself is written during the next semester, and the students sum up their thesis work with a presentation to the mathematics faculty.

The Oklahoma-Arkansas section of the Mathematics Association of America meets each spring, and the program includes sessions for undergraduate presentations. The department always encourages students to attend the conference and to make presentations. This year four undergraduates attended and gave talks. They were Jonathan Crossley, who gave a presentation on Computational Analysis of Delta L-Functions; John Knorr, who gave a presentation on Linear Sudoku Solutions and their Orthogonal Complements; Markus Vasquez, who gave a presentation on Symmetry Groups of Platonic Solids; and Carlos Bernal, who gave a presentation on Colorings of Platonic Solids and Representations of the Platonic Groups. In addition, Markus Vasquez won individual honors in the "integration competition" held at this year's meeting.

Three OSU teams participated in the national Mathematics Contest in Modeling. The teams had a choice of modeling traffic flow through a traffic circle or the energy-use consequences of the cell phone revolution. The team of Benjamin Popp, John Cooper, and Mark Nelson was a Meritorious Award Winner. The other two participating teams were Carlos Bernal, John Knorr, and Lauren Smith, and Jonathan Crossley, William Kelton, and Markus Vasquez.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is a mathematical problem-solving contest for undergraduates in the United States and Canada. It has been held annually since 1938. This initial competition was won by Robert W. Gibson of Fort Hays Kansas State College. Robert is now a Professor Emeritus at OSU. This year's OSU participants were Carlos Bernal, Benjamin Popp, Mark Nelson, Markus Vasquez, Jack Knorr, and Aigerim Kulseitova. Carlos Bernal achieved the highest score among OSU participants.

Our undergraduate scholarship program allows us to support and encourage our majors in activities both in and out of the classroom. We have received a few large gifts, but the major part of our undergraduate scholarship program is funded through smaller gifts from our friends across the country. Tax deductible gifts of any size to the Mathematics General Scholarship fund, the Emeritus Faculty fund, or the Hazel Bucy fund will be much appreciated by both the Department of Mathematics and the deserving students who are awarded scholarships from these funds. Your contribution can make a real difference for the future mathematicians who are in our classrooms today.


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