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2011 News

Google RISE Award

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2011 Honors Summer Math Camp participants. PHOTO via TEXAS STATE

“Google announced this week it will award $15,000 to Mathworks at Texas State University. The grant is one of several Google Roots in Science and Engineering (RISE) Awards, which are offered annually to organizations that provide science, technology, math and science (STEM) enrichment programs to K-12 and university students.” - San Marcos Mercury

Electronic Journal of Differential Equations

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We are pleased to announce that the Electronic Journal of Differential Equations (EJDE) http://ejde.math.txstate.edu has been accepted for indexing in the Web of Science (ISI Impact Factor) http://apps.webofknowledge.com/ the most comprehensive citation index available. The inclusion of the EJDE in the Web of Science demonstrates our dedication to providing relevant and influential content to the mathematical community.

Office of Disability Services recognizes Math faculty

Annually the Office of Disability Services (ODS) recognizes a faculty member for their efforts in assisting students with disabilities at Texas State. The 2010-2011 Dr. Linette Watkins Faculty Award was given to Mr. M. Shawn Peterson. Other members of the Mathematics Department who have won this award include Mr. Walter Dorman (2005-2006), Mr. Glen Hermsmeier (2002-2003), and Prof. Greg Passty (2000-2001).

Third International Research Conference for Graduate Students

Nov.2-3, 2011

The Third International Research Conference for Graduate Students was a great success! This year there were nearly 80 graduate student paper presentations with about 150 student authors/coauthors participating in the event. The presentations covered a wide range of topics from a variety of disciplines. Students and judges were from Texas State as well as from other institutions including the University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech University, Abilene Christian University, the University of Southern Indiana, Tecnol o de Monterrey, Mexico, Kookmin University, South Korea.

The conference opened on Nov. 2nd with a special panel on Hispanic/Latino research to mark Texas State University’s new status as a Hispanic Serving Institution. Drs. Alejandra Sorto, Ivan Blanco, Sindy Chapa and Maria De La Colina presented papers on various aspects of Hispanic/Latino research and emphasized the need for more research in this area. Dr. Jaime Chain, Dean, College of Applied Arts chaired the panel. First Amendment expert, Harold Wasserman, JD., professor of law, Florida International University College of Law, gave the keynote address on “Libel Tourism.” On the morning of Nov. 3rd, Texas State University Systems Regents’ Professors Dr. John Baccus, Biology (Retd.) and Dr. David Butler, Geography started the conference by presenting their research related to conservation policy and climate change, respectively.

Faculty judges from across the campus and from other universities provided excellent feedback to students on their presentations. ASG Graduate House Representatives served as moderators.

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2011 Siemens Competition Results

The initial results of the 2011 Siemens Competition have been announced! This year, 14 Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp students, representing 5 projects, have received recognition. These students worked many hours with dedicated mentors during the past summer as part of the HSMC program, proving new theorems and establishing new algorithms in the math and science fields.

To date, Mathworks has 116 students recognized in the prestigious Siemens Competition. The Competition draws over 2,000 individual and team research entries each year from across the nation.
We congratulate the following students and mentors! Regional finalists will go on to compete in one of six regional competition held at universities across the nation.

TWO REGIONAL FINALIST TEAMS
(These two teams will be advancing to the regional level of the competition)

"On the Acyclic Subgraphs of k-Majority Tournaments"
Alexandra Ilic, Bobby Shen, and Lilly Shen
Mentor: Professor Jian Shen (Texas State-San Marcos, Mathematics Department)

"Determining the Existence of Graceful Valuations of Various Families of Graphs
Kevin Tian, Kevin Chang, and Andrew Xu
Mentor: Professor Edward Early (St. Edward's University Math Department)

THREE SEMIFINALIST TEAMS
"A Generalization of Sperner's Theorem for Multisets"
Steven Chen, Amy Kang, and Jeremy Kalas
Mentor: Professor Eugene Curtin (Texas State-San Marcos, Mathematics Department)

"Computing Spatio-Temporal Data with Applications to Hurricane Analysis"
Ding Zhou and Jessica Wang
Mentor: Professor Mark McKenney (Texas State-San Marcos, Computer Science Department)

"A Mathematical Model of Structural Behaviors and Physical Properties of Polymer Nanocomposites"
George Qi, Catherine Liu, and Linda Zhang
Mentor: Professor Gary Beall (Texas State-San Marcos Chemistry & Biochemistry Department)


Mathworks is a center for innovative and research-based programs that significantly improve mathematics education. Core programs include the acclaimed Junior Summer Math Camp and Honors Summer Math Camp.

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science, & Technology is a nation-wide research competition for high school students. Administered by the Siemens Foundation and the College Board, the competition recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research.

Mathworks Students Achieve High Honors In International Math Contest

http://www.txstate.edu/mathworks/about/news/2011_pmwc_team_results.html

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The National Science Foundation awards Dr. Sorto with a CAREER grant

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Abstract
Dr. M. Alejandra Sorto and graduate students in the Mathematics Department at Texas State University, in collaboration with the public school system in Central and South Texas, propose to carry out a five-year project - Mathematics Instruction for English Language Learners. The main research goal of this project is to empirically estimate whether and which classroom factors contribute to mathematics gains of English Language Learners in Texas schools. The emphasis is on mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT), knowledge of students as English Language Learners, and the mathematical quality of instruction (MQI) (including language issues) in Grade 8 classrooms. The main educational goal is to develop professional development and instructional activities for in-service teachers of ELL that are research-based and focus on the mathematics needed to teach ELL efficiently.

PROJECT SUMMARY
In the next 40 years, the population of Hispanics in the United States is predicted to double due in part to immigration of Latin American students who will continue their education in classrooms with a large percentage of English Language Learners (ELL). Currently, significant achievement gaps in mathematics exist between ELL students and their majority counterparts. In addition, recent mathematics achievement results in the state of Texas show that districts in the southern region perform better despite the large percentage of socio-economically disadvantaged students. Therefore, I propose to investigate what teacher characteristics related to knowledge and skills contribute to Latino ELL student learning gains, and to what extent these characteristics mediate the differences between school districts.

The intellectual merit of the proposed study is to empirically estimate whether and which classroom factors contribute to mathematics gains of English Language Learners in Texas schools. The emphasis is on mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT), knowledge of students as English Language Learners, academic language proficiency in English and Spanish, and the mathematical quality of instruction (MQI) in Grade 8 classrooms from Central and South Texas districts.
Connections between research and practice will be accomplished by developing professional development and instructional activities for in-service and pre-service teachers of ELL that are research-based and focus on the mathematics needed to teach ELL efficiently. Current state of research willinform the initial development of materials to be used with the participants. Results of the research study, in particular the classroom practices analyses, will be used to revise and improve the materials to produce a model for professional development and teacher education.
The research study will follow a primarily quantitative method, two-level cluster design in which students are nested within teachers. Most of the teacher characteristics and student learning gains will be captured with existing rigorously developed and validated instruments. Powerful multivariate analysis of the data such as hierarchical linear modeling will be used to measure the effects of teachers’ knowledge and skills.

The proposed study will achieve a broader impact through the integration of research and educational activities. It will not only expand our knowledge of a student population we know very little about, but by understanding learning processes better in a range of contexts it will alsomake it easier to address the pressing challenges of educating all children in the fast-growing population of Latino students in the United States. Additionally, the study will shed light on how best to produce qualified teachers in mathematics who work in bilingual contexts. Finally, the local collaboration of school districts and university educators will expand our reach into new areas of research for education of mathematic teachers of ELL. This educational experience will create a foundation for the improvement of mathematics teacher education for ELL the way other studies have impacted other aspects of teacher education in mathematics.  

April was Math Awareness Month

The importance of mathematics as the foundation of science, art, technology and 21st Century life is celebrated during Mathematics Awareness Month with representatives of the internationally renowned Texas State University Math Department. University faculty members foster mathematics education in public schools and have led a winning Texas Mathworks team in the Primary Math World Contest in Hong Kong since 2001.

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L-R, front are Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Dr. Nathaniel Dean, Chair-elect; Dr. Max Warshauer and Hiroko Warshauer of the Texas State Mathematics Department; back row are City Council Members Jude Prather, Chris Jones, Kim Porterfield and Shane Scott and Jean Davis of the Mathematics Department.  

Graduate Mathematics Open House

On February 25, 2011, the Department of Mathematics Graduate Programs hosted an Open House. This provided prospective students an opportunity to obtain information about the master's and doctoral programs in mathematics and mathematics education. A chance to meet the faculty gave visitors a chance to speak to them one on one and explore some of the research opportunities and assistantships that are available.