The Annual Meeting of the Texas Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America
in Stephenville, Texas on
April 3 - 5, 2008

The Texas Section of the MAA held its 2008 annual meeting in Stephenville, Texas on April 3, 4 and 5, 2008 on the campus of Tarleton State University.

Invited Speakers

Linda Allen, Texas Tech University

Taught the short course on Integrating Biological Applications in the Mathematics Curriculum on Thursday, April 3, 2008, from 7:00 – 9:00 in Science Building Room 208.

Abstract: Several well-known and recent biological applications of mathematics were discussed in this workshop. These applications can be introduced into undergraduate or graduate courses in Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations to motivate and inform students about realistic mathematical problems that arise from biology. Biological applications that were discussed included population genetics and the Hardy-Weinberg law, age and stage-structured population models, effects of ingestion of drugs or inorganic toxins on the human body, disease spread and antibiotic resistance.

Biography: Dr. Linda J. S. Allen is a Professor of Mathematics at Texas Tech University. She works in the areas of mathematical epidemiology and population dynamics. Dr. Allen enjoys working with students and has directed 32 MS and PhD projects and 6 undergraduate projects. In collaboration with students and colleagues, she has published over 70 articles. In addition, she has written two books on applications of mathematics in biology, An Introduction to Mathematical Biology and An Introduction to Stochastic Processes with Applications to Biology.

Currently, she serves on six editorial boards including Journal of Theoretical Biology, Mathematical Biosciences, and SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics. Her recent research focuses on the spread of zoonotic diseases and stochastic metapopulation models applicable to playa wetlands.

Nancy Hagelgans, Chair, MAA Committee on Sections, Ursinus College

Gave a Texas NExT Invited Address entitled "Coorperative learning in undergraduate mathematics classes" on Friday, April 4, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in the Thompson Student Center, Room 130.

Abstract: Cooperative learning is a method of active learning in which stable groups of students produce a significant amount of work in a course. Their work is assessed and counted in the course grade. She discussed formation of student groups, initial activities for groups, groups in the classroom and computer lab, assignments outside class, difficulties with groups, monitoring the groups, modes of operation within groups, assessment in the courses, and group testing, Courses considered include Mathematics for the Liberal Arts, Calculus with Review, Calculus I-III, Discrete Mathematics, Abstract Algebra, and Topology.

She also gave an invited address entitled "Planar Linkages" on Saturday, April 5, 2008, from 10:30 – 11:20 in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Abstract: A planar linkage is constructed in the plane from rigid links or rods that are connected with movable joints at their ends. Robot arms and carpenters’ rulers are examples of planar linkages in which the links are connected to form a chain. She examined the reachability regions of robot arms, which are chains with one fixed end. Then she went on to solve the minimal folding problem of carpenters’ rulers with links of different lengths. Finally, she addressed some planar linkages that can be used to convert one type of motion to another type of motion.

Biography: Nancy Hagelgans is Professor Emerita of Mathematics and Computer Science at Ursinus College, where she taught a great variety of mathematics and computer science courses for 26 years and served two terms as department chairperson. She earned a Ph.D. in algebraic topology at Johns Hopkins University and later an M.S. in computer science at Villanova University. Her A. B. in mathematics was awarded by Goucher College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.,

Her interests include discrete mathematics, computer solutions to mathematics problems, and student learning. She was a co-author of the MAA book ”A Practical Guide to Cooperative Learning in Collegiate Mathematics”. Currently she is a member of the MAA Executive Committee, Chair of the MAA Committee on Sections, Chair of the MAA Strategic Planning Working Group on Sections, and an adjunct faculty member in graduate computer science at Villanova University. She plays the violin in a symphony orchestra and various chamber music groups.

Dr. Sarah Greenwald, 2005 MAA Alder Award winner, Appalachian State University

Gave the Texas NExT Invited Address entitled "Connecting Students to Mathematicians" on Friday, April 4, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in the Thompson Student Center, Room 130.

She also gave an invited address entitled "Good news Everyone! Mathematical Morsels from The Simpsons and Futurama" on Friday, April 4, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. in the Agave Banquet Room (“City Hall”).

Abstract: Did you know that The Simpsons and Futurama contain hundreds of humorous mathematical and scientific references? What curious mathematical object is used as a bottle for beer in the 31st century? What is a Frinkahedron? What is the significance of the number 1729? The only prerequisite for this talk was an open mind!

She explored the mathematical content and educational value of some favorite moments along with the motivations and backgrounds of the writers during an interactive talk. Popular culture can reveal, reflect, and even shape how society views mathematics, and with careful consideration of the benefits and challenges, these programs could be an ideal source of fun ways to introduce important concepts and to reduce math anxiety. In the process she looked at related, recent work in geometry and computational number theory. For more information, check out SimpsonsMath and FuturamaMath.

Biography: Sarah J. Greenwald is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and a Women’s Studies core faculty member at Appalachian State University. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarship areas include Riemannian geometry, popular culture as it pertains to mathematics, and women and minorities in mathematics, and she is a 2005 Mathematical Association of America Alder Award winner for distinguished teaching.

She co-created the educational website with Andrew Nestler. While it is not affiliated with the show, the site was mentioned in the audio commentary of the 7th season of The Simpsons. Her interactive mathematics lecture appears as a 25-minute DVD extra for the 20th Century Fox Futurama movie Bender’s Big Score and is listed as “Mind-bending.” Dr. Greenwald has spoken about the impacts of scientific popular culture representations on NPR’s Science Friday and all over the country.

Robert W. Vallin, Associate Director for Student Programs at the Mathematical Association of America

Gave the student forum talk entitled "An Introduction to Voting Theory" on Friday, April 4, 2008, from 11:00 – 11:50 in the Thompson Student Center, Ballroom A.

Abstract: As of late, mathematics is making several inroads into the social sciences. Dissecting how decisions are made and finding the best choices are the focus of fair division, game theory, and voting theory. This talk introduced voting with a preference ballot and various schemes available to use with these ballots, including applying these methods to a real election. Additionally, he discussed what makes a “fair voting method” and, the effect of insincere voters trying to manipulate the outcome.

Biography: Robert W. Vallin is currently the Associate Director for Student Programs at the Mathematical Association of America. Before (and maybe after) this he was faculty member of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has always been active in student research and in student programs for the Allegheny Mountain Section of the MAA. For the Section he served four years as Puzzle Czar and six years as Coordinator of Student Programs.

A real analyst by training, he has written research papers in analysis, topology, and fractal geometry, but also has written several articles in both MAA FOCUS and Math Horizons for fun. In 2004 he was the Director for the Summer Symposium in Real Analysis and in 2005 was a co-Director for the MAA Allegheny Mountain Section Meeting. He likes to spend his spare time with his children and admits he would not mind growing up to be Batman

Pam Littleton, Tarleton State University

Moderated a panel discussion entitled "Partnerships Between High Schools and Institutes of Higher Education in Mathematics and Science" on Friday, April 4, 2008, from 11:00 – 11:50 in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Biography: Pam Littleton is a Professor of Mathematics at Tarleton State University. Her primary area of interest is the preparation of middle school and high school mathematics teachers. She served as Associate Project Director of the Texas Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (TxCETP), a National Science Foundation funded grant, from 2000 to 2007. In 2006-2007

Dr. Littleton served as principle investigator on a grant from Texas Education Agency charged with developing and delivering professional development to mathematics leaders across the state addressing the revisions to the Mathematics Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. As a result more that 300 mathematics leaders were trained and in turn trained classroom teachers in their regions.

Dr. Littleton is very active in the public school mathematics community. She provides independent consulting to area school districts and continues in outreach activities by teaching graduate courses designed specifically for the classroom teacher. Dr. Littleton is the 2008 recipient of the O. A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Science and Technology.

Kimberly Childs, Stephen F. Austin

Was a panelist on a panel discussion entitled "Partnerships Between High Schools and Institutes of Higher Education in Mathematics and Science" on Friday, April 4, 2008, from 11:00 – 11:50 in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Biography: Dr. Kimberly M. Childs currently serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) and Project Director (PD) of the Texas Middle and Secondary Mathematics Project, a National Science Foundation Math/Science Partnership award funded to improve the capacity in mathematics of 4 - 12 grade level teachers across the East Texas region.

She has also served as a PI, Co-PI and/or PD in numerous NSF and THECB awards over the past decade. Dr. Childs has received the College Teaching Excellence Award and Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching at SFASU. She has provided independent consultation for various school districts across East Texas and continues in outreach efforts to school districts across the state, working with inservice and preservice teachers. Dr. Childs is a past chair of the Texas Section MAA. 4 March 25, 2008.

John Polking, Rice University

Was a panelist on a panel discussion entitled "Partnerships Between High Schools and Institutes of Higher Education in Mathematics and Science" on Friday, April 4, 2008, from 11:00 – 11:50 in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium

Biography: I was born and raised on a farm in western Iowa. My undergraduate years were spent at Notre Dame, after which I spent three years with the US Navy on a destroyer in the Atlantic. I received my PhD from the University of Chicago. My first faculty position was as an Instructor at Brandeis University. I came to Rice in 1968, where I have been ever since, except for a three year period at the NSF, where I was the Division Director for Mathematical Sciences.

I retired in 2004. Since then I have been a Professor Emeritus at Rice. I teach one course each year. I am the PI on an NSF grant that supports our Mathematics Leadership Institute. This program is training teacher leaders for the high schools in the Houston and Aldine School Districts. In addition, I am on the Steering Committee for the Park City Mathematics Institute.

John Neuberger, University of North Texas

Gave an invited address entitled "A view of differential equations" on Friday, April 4, 2008, at 1:10 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Abstract: An overview of ordinary differential equations was given. It was emphasized how existence and uniqueness results provide a basis for the study of ODEs, both numerical and theoretical. He then indicated a unified theoreticalnumerical approach to the study of partial differential equations.

Biography: John Neuberger received a PhD from the University of Texas in 1957, under H. S. Wall.. He taught at several universities since then but has been at the University of North Texas for the past thirty years. Under an Alfred P. Sloan research fellowship he was a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Studies and Cambridge University. He works in differential equations, numerical analysis, functional analysis, real analysis, multilinear algebra and algebraic geometry as well as in some applied fields, particularly superconductivity.

The main thrust of his work has been a search for a central point of view for partial differential equations. Click here fora list of publications. He has supervised twenty-eight PhD degrees in mathematics and has about sixtynine academic descendants. He continues to be an active consultant to a number of governmental and industrial organizations. His teaching has always been problem-based, with class periods mainly being being devoted to student presentations of their work. He is active with the Educational Advancement Foundation in promoting alternatives to lecturing. He bicycles thousands of miles per year and enjoys extensive, mostly mathematical, travel with his wife Barbara.

Minerva Cordero, University of Texas at Arlington

The 2007 Recipient of the Texas Section Distinguished College or University gave an invited address entitled "Conveying the Beauty of Mathematics Through Our Teaching" on Saturday, April 5, 2008, in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Abstract: In this presentation she looked at some results in Algebra and Combinatorics and how we could use these to excite our students about mathematics.

Biography: Dr. Minerva Cordero is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of the Honors College at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She has published extensively in the area of Finite Geometries and Combinatorics. Dr. Cordero runs a summer undergraduate research program for underrepresented minority students supported by a grant from the MAA National Research Experience for Undergraduate’s Program (NREUP).

Dr. Cordero has been a member of the MAA Strategic Planning Working Group on Membership since 2006. She also serves on the Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities at UTA and on the National Collegiate Honors Council Committee on Science and Mathematics. She has received several teaching awards including the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award at Texas Tech University and the 2007 MAA Texas Section Award for Distinguished Teaching. She is a member of the academy of Teachers at UT Arlington. In January 2008 she was elected to a three-year term as Governor-At-Large for Minority Affairs of the Mathematical Association of America.

Dr. Marilyn Carlson, Director, Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, Arizona State University

Gave an invited address entitled "Preparing Students for Success in Calculus: Research Insights and The Precalculus Concept Assessment (PCA) Instrument." on Saturday, April 5, 2008, in the Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Abstract: Precalculus level curriculum has not supported students in acquiring the reasoning abilities and understandings needed for success in beginning calculus. The session addressed issues that contribute to this situation. Research findings that reveal the ways of thinking and understandings students need for success in beginning calculus were discussed. These findings were contrasted with results from studies that have revealed the understandings that high performing precalculus level students’ hold.

Finally, a research-developed Precalculus Concept Assessment (PCA) instrument that assesses students’ readiness for beginning calculus was shared.

Here are some pictures I took of the festivities as "official photographer" of the meeting. Enjoy!

This year concludes my tenure as official Texas Section photographer. It also marks my 40th consecutive meeting to attend.

At the banquet, I was presented the plaque at the left comemorating this achlevement for which I am very grateful. I was fortunate to have been in good health in March and April during the years from 1969 to 2008. Over the years, I have traveled to Texarkana, Lubbock twice, San Angelo, Edinburg, Beaumont and a great number of places in between.

I was privileged to present numerous papers at those meetings - the most popular of which concerned the behavior of the Texas Lottery numbers.

I would like to encourage you young people just starting to attend the Texas Section meetings to commit yourself to the goal of breaking my longevity record in 2048 when you attend your 41st consecutive meeting. I hope some of you already have a head start.

I would like to thank Dr. Dale Bedgood, department head at ETSU from 1967 to 1988, for encouraging me and other mathematics faculty to attend the Texas Section meetings. I would also like to thank Dr. Stuart Anderson, department head at ETSU from 1988 to 2003 and secretary of the Texas section, for encouraging me and other mathematics faculty to attend the Texas Section meetings and encouraging me to continue to attend after my retirement in 1996. He "hired" me to be the "official" Texas Section photographer which I have enjoyed doing for the last several years.

I have also enjoyed putting together these Texas Section Meetings' websites each year and hope you have enjoyed reliving the meetings through text and pictures over the years. Good luck on your future meetings. It won't be long until we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2020. I hope I am still around to come to it. Please have it close by.

You are visitor number: since April 15, 2008

This web page designed by and photos taken by

Dr. John F. Lamb, Jr.

Official Texas Section Photographer Retired

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Texas A&M University at Commerce
Commerce, Texas

Please send questions, comments, corrections, additions and deletions to me by e-mail.

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