YSU MathFest students excel again at national event

Youngstown State University mathematics students presented research at the annual MathFest meeting in Denver, taking home two awards for excellence and winning the problem solving contest.

“Our students continue to give outstanding presentations,” said Thomas Wakefield, professor and chair of Mathematics and Statistics. “They serve as examples at this national meeting of the exceptional students in the STEM College and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at YSU.”

In all, 10 YSU students attended MathFest, the summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America and Pi Mu Epsilon.

Anthony Dickson of McDonald, who presented research titled “The Prime Number Theorem: A Historical Look at How Mathematicians Proved It” and Samuel Delatore of Poland, whose research is titled “A Not-So-Fair Guessing Game and the Math Behind It”, earned awards of excellence in student exposition and research.

Delatore and Rabin Thapa from Dhading, Nepal, were both invited to participate in the Student Problem Solving Competition. Delatore won the competition, while Rabin finished in fifth place.

Wakefield also noted that five female YSU students participated in the event. That is significant because the percentage of women earning bachelor’s degrees in mathematics is on the decline nationwide, according to the American Physical Society, and only 15 percent of tenure track positions at colleges and universities are held by women, according to the American Mathematical Society. Under the direction of Alicia Prieto Langarica, YSU associate professor, two first-year female students presented their research, and an additional three young women gave two talks on their research funded by the J. Douglas and Barbara T. Faires Center for Undergraduate Research at YSU.

“Getting students active in research and presenting results early in their education is critical in aiding them pursue and succeed in STEM careers,” he said.

Other YSU students making presentations were:

  • David Gessler of Poland, Ohio, “Youngstown Temperature Forecast”.
  • Alanis Chew of Poland, Ohio, and Madeline Cope of Leavittsburg, Ohio, “Come Converge! Let’s Talk About Clustering: Part One”.
  • Julie Phillis of Salem, Ohio, “Come Converge! Let’s Talk About Clustering: Part Two”.
  • Lindsey Chludzinski of Lisbon, Ohio, and Olivia Hall of Cortland, Ohio, “Infectious Behavior”.
  • Nicolas Beike of Canfield, Ohio, “Using Game Theory and Probability to Analyze International Conflict Deterrence”.
  • Rabin Thapa of Dhading, Nepal, “Convergence of an Infinite Series of the Form ∑1(+1)(+)∞=1”.

Attending MathFest with the students was Wakefield; Prieto Langarica; Angela Spalsbury, former YSU professor and now dean at Kent State University in Geauga and Twinsburg; Thomas Madsen, assistant professor; Alexis Byers, assistant professor; Julie Seitz, director of dual enrollment; Lance Williams, MAC coordinator; and George Yates, professor. Faculty who advised students included Wakefield, Prieto Langarica, Professor Thomas Smotzer and Associate Professor Paddy Taylor.

YSU participants at 2018 MathFest in Denver are, from the left, front row, Maddie Cope, Alanis Chew, Dr. Alexis Byers, Olivia Hall, Sam Delatore, Anthony Dickson, Julie Phillis, David Gessler and Nicolas Beike. Back row, Dr. George Yates, Rabin Thapa, Lindsey Chludzinski, Dr. Angela Spalsbury, Julie Seitz, Dr. Tom Wakefield and Dr. Thomas Madsen.