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Math Graduate Programs Symposium


Friday, Oct. 19, 2018
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Texas State University
Derrick Hall


Math Education Talks
First Session: 1:00 – 2:15
1. Measuring Approximations: Responding to Students’ Thinking
Presenter: Sharon Strickland
In a well-known video, math teacher Cathy Humphreys introduces variables to her students through a math task known as The Border Tile Problem. I will share a comparison of a teachers’ approximation of this famous lesson to the original by examining their respective patterns of responding to students’ thinking.

2. Student-to-student responsiveness: How students interact with each other’s mathematical ideas
Presenter: Jessica Bishop
In a study of middle-grades mathematics classroom discourse, we have noticed that, at times, students take up and build on fellow students’ mathematical ideas—what we describe as student-to-student responsiveness. In our presentation, we share why we believe these occasions are powerful learning opportunities and describe some of the different ways that students talk to one another about mathematics.

3. Assessing Teachers’ Knowledge of Student Thinking in a Coaching Model Intervention
Presenter: Alejandra Sorto
A coaching model intervention is being tested in Sonora, Mexico. The increase of teachers’ knowledge of student mathematical thinking is measured with a new instrument. Examples of items and initial results will be presented and discussed.


Second Session: 3:30 – 4:45
4. What Does It Mean to Understand Group Theory?
Presenter: Kate Melhuish
In this talk, I discuss what it means to have conceptual understanding in advanced mathematics. I use this framing to (1) illustrate how we may meaningfully measure conceptual understanding in group theory, (2) share results from a national study on students' understanding of group theory, and (3) consider how a focus on conceptual understanding may influence the course instruction.

5. The Role of Statistics in Mathematics Education
Presenter: Alex White
In this talk I will discuss the different ways statistics impacts research in mathematics education from design of data collection, creation of assessments, controlling for variables, and analysis of results. Using examples from recent studies, we will see how quantitative research in mathematics education involves much more than the two sample t-test.

6. What are some benefits of teaching differential equations with a mathematical modeling approach?
Presenter: Jennifer Czocher
I report a mixed-methods study of two instructional approaches to differential equations (DEs): one emphasized analytic solution techniques and the other emphasized modeling principles to derive and solve DEs. The effect on student achievement was statistically significant. A follow up qualitative study of the results will be discussed.

Mathematics Talks
First Session: 1:00 – 2:15

1. An old conjecture on sequences
Presenter: Suho Oh
Pick any graph; we can count certain trees to get a sequence. Take a collection of multisets with same size. Count certain sets, to get a sequence. Stanley in 1970 conjectured that they are related. This has nice connections to topology, algebra, polytopes and certain games.

2. Integrative Analysis of Gene Expression and Methylation Data for Breast Cancer
Presenter: Shuying Sun
DNA methylation, an epigenetic event, plays an important role in cancer. We will integrate DNA methylation and gene expression data to study the complex relationship among genes associated with breast cancer. Specifically, we use linear models and bioinformatic tools to investigate the correlation between methylation and gene expression.

3. Mental Mathematics -- A Problem-Solving Technique for Training Mathematically Gifted Students
Presenter: Jian Shen
This talk will discuss how I have used Mental Mathematics to train students from Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp for many years. I will also discuss how I have taught PhD students (our future math teachers) in Math7378F (Research on Mathematical Problem Solving in Secondary Schools) to learn Mental Mathematics skills.


Second Session: 3:30 – 4:45
4. Modeling and Simulation of Wormlike Micellar Fluids in Porous Media
Presenter: Young Ju Lee
Wormlike micellar fluids are known to have significant potential to enhance oil recovery.
We present background in such knowledge and then present recent results on modeling and simulation of Wormlike Micellar fluids in porous media.

5. Generalizing graph theory through oriented incidence
Presenter: Lucas Rusnak
We will survey how oriented hypergraphs generalize graph theory through their locally signed graphic structure. The naturality of these generalizations will be discussed using parallel developments of familiar graph theoretic results such as: the Matrix-tree theorem, Sachs' theorem, and the Circuit classification theorem. Student contributions will be highlighted.

6. A journey through zero forcing
Presenter: Daniela Ferrero
Zero forcing is a graph propagation process arising in multiple settings. Line digraphs are models for a broad range of applications. I will prove that regular line digraphs have optimal zero forcing properties and I will show what this means to other disciplines and how everything connects to everything else.