Category Archives: Academics

Beth Reed Named Distinguished Teacher

1495653731Beth Reed, a senior lecturer in the Mathematical Sciences Department of Michigan Technological University, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.

Reed, who is also assistant to the department chair, has been teaching mathematical sciences at Tech since 1985 and has been recognized at the departmental level multiple times for both her teaching and her service. This year she was named to the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Reed began her academic career in forestry, earning a master’s in forest biometrics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1982. She joined Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science in January of 1983 as a research associate working on four different research projects before moving to the Department of Mathematical Sciences in 1985.

Reed says the secret to her success lies, in part, in her effort to “personalize” her classroom. Though many of her classes have almost 60 students, she learns every student’s name.

“I expect and actually get interaction from almost everyone. It really helps that I can call on each person by name. and if they don’t know the answer, I can turn to their neighbor and ask them to help out.”

Read the full story.

Michigan Tech to Host UP Math Championships

Math09232013019Michigan Tech’s Department of Mathematical Sciences is hosting the UP Math Championships from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 15) in Fisher Hall. Students in grades 3 -12 from throughout the UP have been invited to participate.

Students will compete as individuals and in teams of four. High school students will be competing for 10 scholarships to Michigan Tech. The competition includes an individual test, a team test and a “GUTS” test in which teams race to complete as many problems as they can.

Prizes, in addition to scholarships, include laser tags, Texas Instruments calculators and 3-D printed trophies.

Sponsors, in addition to Tech’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, include OHM Advisors, GS Engineering, Respawn Laser Tag, Texas Instruments and Art of Problem Solving.

Math Students Present at Undergrad Research Symposium

imedImageThe Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.

Anthony Marcich – Applied and Computational Mathematics

Title: Preliminary Work for Autochrome Photograph Reconstruction: Scanning and Processing Design
Advisor: Dr. Cecile Piret
Overview: Marcich goal is to use Radial Basis Functions methods (RBF) to construct smooth and accurate images from scans of these photographs. Their investigation of RBF requires processing scanned photos into nodes. They then described the initial scanning and processing work necessary to obtain these nodes.

E. Yasmine Walton-Durst – Mathematics

Title: Rayleigh–Bénard Convection in Michigan Tech’s Cloud Chamber – A Statistical Analysis of High Frequency Temperature Fluctuations
Advisor: Dr. Will Cantrell
Overview: Walton-Durst used time series analysis and other statistical methods to identify trends in temperature fluctuations from a second to several minutes. We hypothesize that data from the temperature sensors can provide a signature of the characteristic fluid movement within the chamber.

Madison Heeringa – Acutarial Science Mathematics

Title: Finding Structure in Data
Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Ong
Overview: Heeringa’s goal is to learn about and understand PCA and multi-scale PCA. Which will eventually be used to classify land and canopy cover in satellite images.


A Year in Germany Gives Michigan Tech Student New Insights

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 2.33.40 PMWhy would someone put acceptance to a prestigious law school on hold to spend a year in Germany?  That’s just what Russell Lawson did, and he doesn’t regret a minute of it.

Lawson, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in economics at Michigan Technological University in 2016, has been accepted into the University of Michigan Law School, but he chose to spend this year participating in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange program.  In Germany, he’s going to school, working a job, immersing himself in the culture.

Lawson calls the competitive program, known as the ‘’Parlamentarisches Patenschafts-Programm’’ in German, a “cultural exchange program aimed at promoting understanding and cooperation between the two countries.”  It includes 75 participants chosen from all over the US, representing a majority of states and multiple fields of study. “We have engineers, bio chem majors, those who study music, politics, international relations, two welders and four chefs/bakers, really a diverse group,” Lawson explains.

Read the full story.

In the News: The Monroe News (Minnesota) published a feature article about Russell Lawson, a Michigan Tech student who is spending a year on a fellowship in Germany.

by Mary LeDoux, student writing intern

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Beth Reed

Math09232013021Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, has chosen to recognize Beth Reed, senior lecturer and assistant to the chair in mathematical sciences as our first Spring 2017 Dean’s Teaching Showcase member.

Seely’s nomination was influenced by Brent Baltus, a senior on the hockey team, who singled Reed at the Faculty Appreciation event during a game on December 2nd.

Baltus, a senior major in Finance who started this year with a 3.73 GPA, named Reed as “the best professor he had encountered” at Michigan Tech. Baltus had taken a couple of classes from her during his first two years in statistics and math and added she was “an unbelievable professor.”

Seely asked Reed what she does that would lead a good student (and athlete) like Brent to value her efforts. She answered with several points from the recently submitted students teaching evaluations for Fall 2016 and offered several points. Reed knows every student’s name, signaling that they are individuals to her. This makes her approachable and shows she cares about them as people. She prepares a handout for every class session containing the concepts, problems, formulas and so on covered that day. This allows students to actually listen in class rather than struggling to write everything down. Her handout adds structure to the notes taken by the students while eliminating transcription errors. Reed dedicates some class periods to worksheet days, devoted to working problems while she walks around and answers questions from students.

Finally, she asks a lot of questions of the students during class sessions. Students report this makes them pay attention (especially at 8 a.m.). When a student offers an incorrect answer, she talks them through the process until they get to the correct answer. Seely also asked Reed if there was something she did that specifically helps student athletes, who must miss classes due to travel.

In addition to her willingness to meet with them outside of class, she noted the most important thing was to ask them to introduce themselves on the first day of class. That allows her to work with them and their schedules. From this initial discussion, it is much easier to ensure Reed has a heads-up when an assignment and/or exam might conflict with games and travel. Such communication allows her and the student to work around any conflicts.

These are the kinds of effort — small steps in some respects, but large in the aggregate — that make a difference in how well students do. While a student-athlete recognized Reed’s efforts, the more important fact is that she makes these attempts for any student.

Reed will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative teaching methods or work in curriculum and assessment.

MIT Professor to Deliver Kliakhandler Lectures

stanleyThe Second Annual Kliakhandler Lectures will be held Sept. 29-30 at Michigan Tech. Richard Stanley of MIT will deliver the lectures which are sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences and funded by a generous gift from former faculty member Igor Kliakhandler.

The Kliakhandler lecture series brings a top mathematician to campus each year to give a pair of lectures.Stanley is a prolific mathematician who has won numerous honors, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has won the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ George Pólya Prize in Applied Combinatorics, the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition from the American Mathematical Society and the Rolf Schock Prize for Mathematics.

His first lecture is from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 in Dow 641. Stanley’s lecture will be “Plane Tilings,” in which he will discuss the challenges of filling a planar region with a given collection of shapes (tiles).  A jigsaw puzzle is a familiar type of tiling, though it is not very mathematical; decorative tile floors often use plane tiling to create an aesthetic effect. The physicist Roger Penrose created a family of tilings that are known as Penrose tilings.

Stanley will survey some interesting mathematics associated with plane tilings and discuss questions such as the following: Is there a tiling? If so, how many are there? If no tiling exists, how can we prove this? What special properties, such as symmetry, can a tiling possess? These questions involve such subjects as combinatorics, group theory, probability theory, number theory and computer science.

From 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 in Fisher 138, Stanley will deliver a colloquium entitled “A Survey of Alternating Permutations.” Permutations are fundamental transformations in mathematics, and alternating permutations comprise one of the most important families of permutations. Stanley will discuss several aspects of the theory of alternating permutations and describe applications to topics such as group theory and geometry.

Joseph Reath Receives Graduate Student Service Award

Joseph Reath
Joseph Reath

Graduate student Joseph Reath is a recipient of the Spring 2016 Graduate Student Service Award, as announced by the Graduate School.

A member of the Graduate Student Government and is nominated and voted on by that body of students and approved by the Dean. Nominated students have exhibited an outstanding contribution to graduate education at Michigan Tech.


Liang, Pastine, and Dunn Receive Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship

Graduate students Chao (Chad) Liang and Adrian Pastine are recipients of the Spring 2016 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, as announced by the Graduate School.

This award goes to graduating graduate students nominated by their academic school or department for their academic achievements.

Jarret R. Dunn is a Fall 2015 recipient.

Chao Liang
Chao Liang
Adrian Pastine
Adrian Pastine