Mathematics majors and faculty present at regional conference
A total of 11 mathematics majors and faculty members attended the annual meeting of the Southeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, on March 14 to 16.
Elon was well-represented at this regional conference, having two students present research talks (Alyse Keim '13 and Christopher Shill '14), two faculty present research talks (Jeff Clark, mathematics professor, and Chad Awtrey, mathematics assistant professor), four students participate in the lively Math Jeopardy tournament (Nicole Miles '15, Nakhila Mistry '14, Christopher Shill '14, and Erin Strosnider '14), and one faculty member served as a judge for both the Math Jeopardy tournament and the undergraduate research awards program (Jim Beuerle, mathematics associate professor). Also in attendance were Todd Lee, mathematics professor, and undergraduate students John Johnson '15 and Madeline Edwards '15.
Keim's talk "Agent-based modeling of malaria transmission: investigating the Ross-Macdonald model" portrayed her fascinating research into using mathematics to model the spread of the malaria disease in human populations. Her research was mentored by Lee and Crista Arangala, mathematics associate professor, and the three researchers are in the final stages of editing their research paper before they submit it for publication. After Keim graduates in May, she will work at Credit Suisse (in Raleigh, N.C.) before heading off to graduate school in the coming years.
Rawls Scholar Chris Shill's talk "Galois 2-adic fields of degree 12" marked his third professional presentation of his research. He previously presented at a regional conference in Greensboro, N.C., and at a national conference in San Diego, Calif. Shill's research was mentored by Awtrey, and his work on determining the arithmetic structure of certain p-adic polynomial equations has resulted in a professionally-refereed publication in the Greensboro conference proceedings. Additionally, Shill is in the process of writing up his results from a recently-finished research project, which is joint work with Elon student Brett Barkley '14 (mentored by Awtrey). Based on his success as an undergraduate researcher, Shill has been accepted into a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undegraduates (REU) program at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., during the summer of 2013.
Clark's talk "Derivative sign patterns" discussed the intriguing results of one of his recent publications. Clark's paper, which is published in the College Mathematics Journal (a widely-read journal with a competitive acceptance rate), uses ideas that are accessible to undergraduate calculus students to prove far-reaching results about a wide-range of important mathematical functions. Clark's work has already had an impact on the math research community, which is evidenced by the fact that other researchers are publishing papers that leverage his results and apply them to novel situations.
Awtrey's talk "Counting dihedral p-adic fields" detailed joint work with undergraduate Trevor Edwards '12 about beautiful symmetry properties of roots of p-adic polynomial equations that are related to regular polygons. This talk was based on research conducted by Awtrey and Edwards (currently a graduate student at NC State) last year, and the results have been published in the International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics. During the 2013-14 academic year, Awtrey will continue to engage undergraduates in his research program by working on a project with Elon students Nicole Miles, Chris Shill, and Erin Strosnider. The research will be supported by a grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (which is funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by mathematician, Michael Dorff of Brigham Young University). All four researchers are grateful and excited for this wonderful upcoming opportunity.