Rebecca Bogie's, DBA ’19, career trajectory changed when she picked up a magazine as she waited for a job interview.+ Read More
For the first time, a team from UD, consisting of juniors Therese Aglialoro, William Kostuch, and Cameron Nottingham, has been awarded the designation Meritorious in the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). Such a designation places them in the top 8% of all teams, with a total 13,749 teams participating in this year’s MCM. Furthermore, the UD team was the only team in the United States to achieve the designation Meritorious or higher on their particular problem and one of only 18 teams nationally on any of the MCM problems posed.
The contest challenges teams to clarify, analyze, and propose a solution to their choice of one of three open-ended, real-world problems. Teams develop and apply mathematical models to solve their chosen problem and may use any resource available, such as websites, books and articles, computers, and databases. Each team has exactly four days to solve their problem and write a 20-page solution paper that communicates their approach and results. Teams are awarded one of five designations: Successful Participant, Honorable Mention, Meritorious, Finalist, and Outstanding.
The problem that Agialoro, Kostuch, and Nottingham chose required teams to construct a mathematical model to identify the best 3-dimensional geometric shape to use as a sandcastle foundation that will last the longest period of time on a seashore that experiences waves and tides. Part of the required analysis included determining an optimal sand-to-water mixture proportion for the castle foundation. In addition, teams had to determine if their foundation remains the best 3-dimensional geometric shape when it is raining. Finally, teams had to write a 2-page non-technical summary suitable for publication in a fictitious vacation magazine.
In their paper titled, “The Best Sandcastles Are Egyptian: Pyramids Reign Supreme,” Aglialoro, Kostuch, and Nottingham identified the best water-to-sand ratio to be around 6% by adapting known results on granular cohesion to their scenario. They then wrote and implemented a computer model that tested sandcastle strength, checking for collapse due to shear stress, erosion, and oversaturation. After applying their model to cubes, cylinders, pyramids, and cones, they determined that the shape that withstood waves and tides best was the pyramid, even when rain was included as a possible factor.
Dr. John Osoinach has served as faculty advisor for UD teams for the past six years, having advised nine teams so far. He praised this team’s ingenuity and hard work on their solution, remarking that “their sandcastle paper will be used as a guide for future UD teams. It’s an exceptionally well-written paper that uses mathematics in both practical and creative ways.” Dr. Osoinach looks forward to advising other teams in the future, saying “UD students are very well suited for this contest, as it’s as much about clear writing as it is about mathematical modeling.”
Date Published: Nov. 27, 2017
Sophomore Mary Kate Tomassi, BA ’20, “embodies the diligent student who loves learning mathematics,” explained Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Osoinach, as faculty and students gathered in Constantin Garden on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to honor Tomassi’s achievement as UD’s first recipient of the Waldemar J. Trjitzinsky Memorial Award.
As one of seven undergraduates to receive this year’s award given by the American Mathematical Society (AMS), Tomassi will delve further into the field of mathematics in her studies at UD, as well as explore her interest in computer science. UD was one of seven schools in the country selected by the AMS to bestow the award on one worthy student who plans on pursuing a career in mathematics.
“There are plenty of deserving math students at UD,” said Tomassi. “I’m honored to receive such an award, and I’m especially grateful for the support of my professors in the Mathematics Department.”
Although still undecided where her career in mathematics will take her after UD, Tomassi would like to make a positive impact in society by working on issues such as homelessness or human trafficking. “Mathematics allows you to explore and work in so many different disciplines,” she said.
“I truly enjoy studying mathematics, because it gives you an opportunity to further explore philosophical thought in a more tangible sense,” she said. “Learning about the process of mathematics has helped me form better methods of decision making and critical thinking, which benefit not only my studies at UD but my day-to-day life.”
According to her award biography, “Mary Kate is one of those rare students who not only excels in mathematics, but also embraces the mathematics culture at the university by working in the Mathematics Department office.”
Additionally, Texas Right to Life named Tomassi one of 38 2017 Dr. Joseph Graham College Fellows in April. Over the summer, she participated in a week-long training program as part of this fellowship to gain pro-life knowledge and leadership skills to bring back to UD.
This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Waldemar J. Trjitzinsky Memorial Awards, which was made possible by a bequest from the estate of Waldemar J., Barbara G. and Juliette Trjitzinsky. These funds help support mathematics students who lack financial resources. Each year the society selects a number of geographically distributed schools who in turn make one-time awards to assist students in pursuit of mathematics careers.
In April of 2013, senior mathematics major Hoai-Ngoc Ngo presented her research in Biomathematics at the 93rd annual Texas section meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. The conference drew faculty and students from across the state, contributing 100 talks in total, nearly half of which were by undergraduates presenting their research. For her talk titled, Diversity and Homogeneity Revealed in SSR Analyses of NCGR Cultivars, Ngoc received first prize for the depth of her research as well as her exceptional presentation. In her research, Ngoc applied both statistical techniques and vector analysis to the problem of determining the genetic fingerprints of cranberry cultivars. Since previous crosses of cranberry cultivars have produced advantageous offspring, the goal of this research was to assist in the process of developing new and desirable cranberry cultivars. Using her statistical and mathematical techniques, Ngoc was able to find many discrepancies within previously identified cultivars, and consequently she was able to demonstrate the need to change the approach used to determine the pedigrees of these cultivars.
2016 Joseph Andrews
2015 Luke Simmons
2014 Sarah Nicholson
2013 Elizabeth Tasler
2012 Jeremy Smith
2011 Joseph Simmons
2010 Benjamin White
2009 Rafael Carrasco
2008 Joseph Hejkal
2005 Michael Humphries
2004 Joshua Cole
2003 Gregory Nicholas Benes
2002 Travis Brown
2001 Jonathan Engle
1999 Jane Burkett, Carol Gwosdz, Alena Oetting
1997 Tyson Kackley, Nicola Mullan, Erin Vculek
1995-1996 Tyson Kackley, Brian Klingele
1993-1994 Tyson Kackley, Sean Walbran
1992-1993 Philip Muth
1991-1992 Allison Eskritt, Sean Walbran
1990-1991 Sally O'Neill, Paul Speaker
1989-1990 Sally O'Neill, John Pickert
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