CMU Department of Mathematics Fall 2023 Newsletter

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Greetings from the Department of Mathematics! Our faculty continues to be recognized for its outstanding quality in research, teaching, and service. Internally, Jordan Watts received the 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award in the College of Science and Engineering. Externally, Katrina Piatek-Jimenez also received an NSF ADVANCE Adaptation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Xiaoming Zheng received an NSF grant for his project entitled “Numerical Schemes for Fundamental Problems Related to Incompressible Fluids”, and Tibor Marcinek received the 2023 Michigan Distinguished Teaching Award from the Mathematical Association of America. Congratulations to our faculty! Several initiatives around the department are also being considered. We have a committee looking at potential certificates in the department, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, a committee investigating where open educational resources (OER) can be implemented into the curriculum in order to reduce costs to students without reducing the quality of their education, and another looking at how technology can be integrated more holistically into our programs. With any luck, there will be good news to report on these fronts next year. A huge thank you to the Newsletter and Alumni Committee – George Grossman and Xiaoming Zheng – for putting this newsletter together! Thank you to Rob Wang in the College of Science and Engineering for assembling and publishing the newsletter. Thank you to the faculty in the department and student groups for sharing about all the exciting events, activities, and successes of the last year. Last but not least, to our alumni, thank you for your continued support and encouragement ¬– we hope to see you around Pearce Hall this year!

Dr. Debraj Chakrabarti During a eight-week period in summer 2023, Dr. Debraj Chakrabarti and Graduate Student Isaac Cinzori collaborated with three undergraduate students on a mathematics research project. The undergraduate students were Ishani Gaidhane, Jonathan Gregory and Mary Wright, all of whom are math majors. The goal was to compute the Bergaman kernels of a class of interesting domains in complex space. The Bergman kernel is a function associated with a domain (open connected set) which has many applications to complex analysis. The work was successfully completed, and a paper has been published in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications which explains the computation. Jonathan and Mary attended the Young Mathematician’s conference at Columbus, Ohio where they presented their results.

Dr. C-Y Jean Chan

Originally from Taiwan, Dr. C-Y. Jean Chan received her Ph.D. degree in mathematics from University of Utah. She has worked at Purdue University and the University of Arkansas in her early career. Dr. Chan’s research interests concern the algebraic structures of the solution set arising from a system of polynomial equations. Her research activities often involve intensive interactions between algebra and geometry. Many of her projects are highly motivated by the questions’ geometric nature. And she incorporates such philosophy in the content of her lectures to students at CMU whenever possible. At CMU, Dr. Chan teaches classes from 100 to 700 levels, including Algebra courses of all levels and Calculus series, but one of her favorite courses to teach is Ordinary Differential Equations. Throughout the last decade, Dr. Chan have supervised Teaching Internships, Plan B Papers, Ph.D. Thesis, and offered independent studies to students interested in the algebra disciplines including selected topics in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. 2020 and 2021 were long years due to Covid-19 pandemic. It had forced the community and individuals to rethink of possibilities. Dr. Chan appreciates all her collaborators who stayed in touch and met regularly on-line during such long-stretched isolation. She is proud of all her students who accepted challenges willingly and overcome difficulties of all forms. During the year of 2022-2023, we were grateful to return to campus fully in person. The photo to the left was a courtesy of Dr. Narayan who caught this precious moment of Dr. Chan talking to a group of graduate students whom she has taught every semester since the Fall of 2022 through the Fall of 2023. Recently Dr. Chan has been working on affine semi-group rings in understanding their mysterious HilbertKunz functions, singular properties, and differential operators. Affine semi-group rings can be understood as a beautiful disguise of many concepts appearing in geometry. Her approach makes use of the ring’s underlying combinatorial structures -- a natural but non-classical approach in Algebra. She applies such an approach to singular algebraic curves as well. Dr. Chan collaborates with fellow researchers across the United States and across the Pacific Ocean in Japan and Taiwan. In Year 2022-2023, Dr. Chan’s research projects were supported by American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) and Institute of Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM). One group of WICA (Women in Commutative Algebra) had done an on-line workshop in 2021 with AIM and then traveled together to San Jose in the fall of 2022. Dr. Chan was with another group of four who traveled to Providence, the home of American Mathematical Society, Brown University and ICERM in May of 2023 for collaborative works.

In August of 2023, CMU was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Adaptation award, a 3-year grant totaling $990,183. The main goal of the NSF ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women faculty in STEM disciplines. In 2019, CMU obtained an NSF Catalyst award, which allowed CMU to do a self-study to determine the main barriers for women faculty in STEM at CMU. The goals of CMU’s 2023 Adaptation award is to provide CMU with resources to implement positive changes to address the barriers uncovered by the Catalyst award. The three areas for growth identified through CMU’s catalyst award were to: 1. Implement programs to interrupt bias and increase allies 2. Develop more transparent and equitable policies and procedures 3. Develop more inclusive faculty-recruitment practices and enhance women faculty mentoring opportunities The work of this project contributes to CMU’s new strategic plan. Although the NSF ADVANCE program is aimed around faculty, many of the programing and policy changes will also improve the culture and climate for women students and staff as well. Some of the programming for the 2023-2024 academic year will include: PowerPlay, an interactive bias awareness workshop, that allows participants to view moments of bias presented through applied theatre. A facilitated discussion allows participants to identify incidents of bias and explore different ways to address those issues in positive and constructive ways. Advocates and Allies, a program originally developed at North Dakota State University, to equip men with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to enact positive change at the personal, unit, and organizational levels. The ADVANCE Adaptation leadership team at CMU is: • Tracy Galarowicz, Associate Dean in the College of Science and Engineering • Katrina Piatek-Jimenez, Faculty in the Department of Mathematics • Kirsten Weber, Faculty in the School of Communication, Journalism, and Media • Kimberly O’Brien, Faculty in the Department of Psychology For more information about ADVANCE at CMU, please scan to see our website.

Dr. Lisa DeMeyer

During the 2022-2023 academic year, sabbatical leave provided me the chance to complete several research projects on Lie Groups and on the zero-divisor graph associated to a semi-group, In continuation of previous work, Dr. Meera Mainkar, Dr. Rachelle DeCoste (Wheaton College, MA), Dr. Allie Ray (Hendrix College) and I further explored the geometry of two step nilpotent Lie groups with a left invariant metric constructed from graphs. Altering the edge labeling in the graph construction resulted in 2-step nilpotent Lie groups with a non-trivial abelian factor. The influence of small changes in edge labeling and in graph structure was explored. Dr. Rat visited CMU in June and our work recently appeared in Communications in Algebra. Dr. Rachelle Decoste joined a project in progress with CMU alums Paul Cappaert and Chase Bender and I on the zero-divisor graph associated to a semi-group. This project was initiated by Paul Cappaert as part of his Honors Capstone project on the zero-divisor graph associated to a finite, commutative semigroup with the goal of finding algebraic and graph-theoretic conditions for when the zero-divisor graph of a semi-group is complemented. The primary example is the semi-group given by the power set of a set with n elements with the semi-group operation of intersection. There is a close relationship between the graph theoretic property called complemented and the set complement in the power set. My current research plans include further work on the graph-theoretic ideas involved in the construction of two step nilpotent Lie groups. Returning to the classroom and working with CMU students this fall has been very enjoyable. My teaching schedule includes MTH 233, Multivariable Calculus, which is one of my all-time favorite courses to teach and I’m lucky to interact with a great group of students.

An example of a complemented zero divisor graph from joint work with Bender, Cappaert, and DeCoste.

An example of a Schreier graph, from which a 2-step nilpotent Lie group with a nontrivial abelian factor is constructed in joint work with DeCoste, Mainkar, and Ray.

Kappa Mu Epsilon - Undergraduate Math Club Who are we? We are the Beta Chapter of KME at Central Michigan University! We have meetings every other Tuesday from 7:00PM- 8:00PM in Pearce 226. The KME meeting dates for Fall 2023 are September 5th, September 19th, October 3th, October 24th, November 7th, and November 21st. Anyone is welcome to join KME no matter their major/minor!

Our Goals:

• To further the interests of mathematics in those schools which place their primary emphasis on undergraduate programs • To help undergraduate students realize the important role that mathematics has played in the development of civilization • To develop an appreciation of the power and beauty possessed by mathematics, due, mainly, to its demand for logical and rigorous modes of thought • To provide a society for the recognition of outstanding achievement in the study of mathematics at the undergraduate level • To disseminate the knowledge of mathematics and familiarize its members with the current progress in this important area of human interest

2023-24 Executive Board President: Maleia Thompson

Vice President: Julia Savage

Treasurer: Elijah Hayes

PR Rep: Emma Doederlein

Advisor: Dmitry Zakharov

Step-In Advisor: Sivaram Narayan

Partake in game nights! Connect with others who have an appreciation of mathematics by playing math related games. In the past, we have played games such as: • Jeopardy • Pictionary • Movie Nights • Bingo • And more!

Why should you join? Learn more about mathematics! We host many lectures and presentations. We have hosted events such as learning LaTex or Geogebra, learning about math in other cultures, seeing how math appears within nature, and learning what math careers are out there.

Get volunteer hours! Working for our annual Book Sale or Mathapalooza (a volunteer tutoring event) is an easy and fun way to get much needed volunteer hours.

Who can join? Anyone can join regardless of major/minor, but we have requirements for members: • Full Member • Regularly enrolled student • Completed three semesters of college classes (at least one at CMU) • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher • Average of B or Higher in math classes • Taken three college courses in mathematics • Attended at least three meetings each semester • Associate Member • Regularly enrolled student • Good academic standing • Interested in mathematics


Email us at for more information.

Dr. Christine Phelps-Gregory

This year, I expanded my research to include students’ beliefs about discrete mathematics. As part of this work, I have collected survey and interview data on students’ experiences in and beliefs about discrete mathematics. This work is ongoing but a colleague, Sandy Spitzer, and I presented a poster on initial results of our work at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) research conference. Our presentation was titled Undergraduate Student’s Beliefs in Discrete Mathematics and focused on the results of our initial survey of student experiences. We found that discrete mathematics may allow students without an extensive mathematics background to engage in deep mathematical thinking and that this could potentially change their beliefs about themselves and about mathematics. I am also excited to report that a paper titled The Relationship between Prospective Teachers’ Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching and their Ability to Notice Student Thinking, completed with Sandy Spitzer, was published in the Mathematics Education Research Journal (MERJ). In addition, a paper that I wrote with a former undergraduate student, Rebecca Zawisza, based on her honors project, was published in the Bannekar Banner. It was titled Pre-service Teachers’ Previous Mathematical Experiences and Current Emotions about Teaching. I am always excited when I can work with undergraduate students and help them learn about the research and publishing process.

Dr. George Grossman

My research interests include practical problems in number theory and applied mathematics; the former finding identities often involving Fibonacci and Lucas numbers; the latter including differential equations, for example, finding closed form solutions to linear, second order differential equations. I also work with graduate students whenever the opportunity arises. I have taught graduate level courses in recent years including math history, differential equations and applied analysis. I have worked collaboratively in a research group since 2001, where we solve linear recurrence relations often finding new combinatorial identities.

CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Tibor Marcinek wins 2023 Michigan Distinguished Teaching Award The Mathematical Association of American (MAA)-Michigan Distinguished Teaching Award Committee is pleased to announce Dr. Tibor Marcinek of Central Michigan University as the winner of the 2023 Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Marcinek has shown a remarkable ability to engage students in productive discourse using active learning techniques in his classes. His conversational style of teaching empowers his students to make sense of ideas instead of just reciting procedures. As an expert and early adopter of technology, Tibor makes use of GeoGebra Classroom and TI-Navigator to facilitate class discussions that allow the students to control the flow of ideas and share their explorations with their peers. These are just a few of the reasons that Dr. Marcinek was the recipient of the CMU College of Science and Engineering’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2021. In addition to his classroom practice, Dr. Marcinek also mentors undergraduates on research projects leading to their publication or presentation on a national stage. And while Dr. Marcinek’s influence is strong with his students at CMU, he also provides leadership to our community of scholars by serving on professional boards at both the state and international levels. His efforts include contributions to the Slovak national strategy documents that propose a framework for the reform of the K-9 national educational program in the Slovak Republic. This is a significant involvement of a national importance and impact. Congratulations to Dr. Tibor Marcinek!

Dr. Katrina PiatekJimenez wins NSF ADVANCE Adaptation award Dr. Piatek-Jimenez is part of the ADVANCE leadership team at CMU and this past August we received a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Adaptation award, a 3-year grant totaling $990,183. The NSF ADVANCE program contributes to the National Science Foundation’s goal of developing a more inclusive and diverse STEM workforce, by providing universities with financial resources to improve the overall climate and culture for women faculty in STEM at their institution. We have many initiatives planned for this upcoming year. For more information, please scan to visit our website.

Dr. Jordan Watts wins the 2023 College of Science and Engineering Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The College of Science & Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award is given to a faculty member in the college in recognition of sustained teaching excellence that is effective in promoting student learning. In 2023, this award was given to Jordan Watts in the Department of Mathematics. Dr. Watts’ student evaluation scores indicate that he is very enthusiastic, respects his students, ensures that he is available for consultation in and out of office hours, and overall is an effective teacher. Many of his scores are above department, college, and university averages. Dr. Watts created a webpage for students that connects the ideas in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to CMU resources. This is useful when promoting wellness and mental health to students, especially during highpressure points during the semester, such as around exam-times. Other faculty at CMU have also started using the webpage. Outside the classroom, Dr. Watts has been involved in developing new courses; creating the Computational Mathematics & Analytics Minor; and supervising Honors Capstone projects, Plan B papers for Master’s degrees, independent studies, and teaching internships.

Dr. Xiaoming Zheng wins an NSF Grant. Dr. Zheng received an NSF grant for his project entitled, “Numerical Schemes for Fundamental Problems Related to Incompressible Fluids.” This project aims to develop a novel computational method to investigate the stability of buoyancydriven fluids and turbulent flows due to electrical conduction, known as magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence. By accurately simulating these phenomena, the research will provide insights into improving modeling and prediction of extreme weather events such as tornadoes, astronomical occurrences, phenomena like Northern lights and solar flares, and electrically conducting fluid of plasma and liquid metals. The new computational method will be a valuable tool for the scientific computing community. Graduate students, including those from underrepresented groups, will be trained in both theoretical and computer fields. The research will also engage undergraduates and K-12 students, benefiting local schools and communities.

Dr. Doug Lapp

Collaboration can be an inspiring thing. This past year, I was blessed with the opportunity to collaborate with not only my colleagues at CMU, but with two of my kids as well. My youngest daughter, Sarah (CMU mathematics graduate), teaches mathematics at Belleville High School in Belleville, MI where she uses technology to motivate students to learn mathematics. Since one of my areas of research is the use of technology to help students develop symbolic meaning, I capitalized on my daughter’s classroom to see how she uses a robotic Rover to develop concepts in geometry. Together with my colleague, Tibor Marcinek, we published a book chapter titled, Active Learning and the Pythagorean Theorem Through Dynamic Geometry and Robotic Optimization: The Case of Kaitlyn in the book Technology Integration and Transformation in STEM Classrooms. It is rewarding when you see your kids being creative in their chosen field and you get to participate with them. My son, Noah (also a CMU mathematics graduate), has been working in refugee camps in Kurdistan, Iraq for about 6 years now teaching English as a second language. I have had the fortune of visiting him in Iraq to see what he does and he is truly making a difference. As a result of conversations with his group in Iraq, I have been in discussions to collaborate on the development of a mathematics curriculum for use with the refugees. Since Noah has a mathematics degree from CMU, I am excited to get to work with him on this project. In addition to these projects, I have spent quite a bit of my time working on the development of the new Michigan Test for Teacher Certification with the Michigan Department of Education. Several years ago, I was on the team that wrote the new teacher certification standards and so I have been interested in how these standards will be assessed. I have served on both the Mathematics Content Advisory Committee and the Professional Knowledge Content Advisory Committee and am happy to see that these new MTTC exams will do a much better job of assessing more than mathematical knowledge, but also mathematical knowledge for teaching. The added bonus with this work is that my daughter, Sarah, also served with me on the Mathematics Content Advisory Committee as a secondary teacher representative. As part of the new teacher certification standards, Michigan has adopted the use of Core Teaching Practices (CTPs) as part of the expectations for teachers. This year I was fortunate to be a Co-PI on a National Science Foundation grant headed up by my colleague, Kevin Cunningham, where we are funded to implement the CTPs in teacher preparation courses at CMU. This is a multiyear grant and involves faculty (who are a joy to work with) from across many departments at CMU. This has been a wonderful year!

Dr. Meera Mainkar

I am excited to start working with five other women mathematicians on a new project in Riemannian Geometry that involves a study of sectional curvatures of a nice class of Riemannian manifolds. Our group was invited to participate in Women in Geometry Workshop at a fascinating location BIRS at Banff in Canada in September 2023. I was funded by American Women in Mathematics (AWM) Travel Grant to participate in this workshop. My paper Abelian factors in 2-step nilpotent Lie algebras constructed from graphs (with co-authors) was published in Communications in Algebra journal. I continue to serve as the Graduate Coordinator in the department of mathematics and as the faculty advisor to the AMS Graduate Student Chapter at CMU.


Our organization is dedicated to furthering mathematical scholarship and research. As part of that, we hold regular meetings which provide a forum for graduate students to present their academic interests in a welcoming environment. We also organize trips to nearby conferences, outreach in the local community, and other events designed to establish and cultivate relationships within the body of individuals excited about mathematics at CMU. Membership in the chapter is open to any mathematics graduate student at CMU.

WHAT DO WE DO Game Nights: AMS loves to host social gatherings as a way for graduate students and faculty to relax and get to know one another. The photo to the right is from our Welcome Back Game Day.

Pi Day: Could we really call ourselves a math organization if we didn’t celebrate Pi Day? Every year, we like to invite the department to a celebration of our favorite irrational number! This past Spring, we gathered with the whole math department to play games, give talks, and, of course, to eat some delicious pie!

Integration Bee This year, we celebrated another annual AMS Integration Bee. The night was filled with fun, laughter, competition, good food, and of course, calculus! In our undergraduate bracket, the grand integrator was Margaret Hartmann and the runner up was Grace Osiri. Both Margaret and Grace were Calculus II students in Fall semester 2022. In the graduate bracket, the grand integrator was Koksal Karakus with Tony Sheikhnavassi runner up.

AMS-Hosted Talks At the forefront of the AMS mission is the furthering of mathematics scholarship. Every semester, we host a series of talks given by graduate students, faculty, and other invited guests to learn more about our favorite subject! Whether in person or virtual, there’s always more to learn and discover! Selected talks from the past year include Karleigh Pine’s talk in March on Agent-Based Models and the September Graduate Student Spotlight featuring the research and advice of Koksal Karakas, Hiruni Pallage, and Brooklynn Willett.

Please help us in congratulating the students who obtained a Mathematics Ph.D. degree in 2023.

Bridgette Russell

Dissertation Title: Incongruous Mathematics SelfEfficacy and Its Development. I started at CMU originally pursuing a masters in math, and did not think that I could go for a PhD. Through the coaching and mentoring of several faculty members at CMU I stayed and I am so happy I did. I really enjoyed my time at CMU because I was able to work collaboratively with faculty and fellow graduate students. I feel that CMU prepared me to teach at the college level while balancing service obligations such as committees. I am now working at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie MI, and I really love it here! My colleagues have been very welcoming and supportive, and have made my transition from CMU smooth. Bridgette Russell successfully defended her Ph.D. in Summer 2023 with Dr. Christine Phelps-Gregory.

Dr. Katrina Piatek-Jimenez

Since it’s been a few years since I’ve written for this newsletter, I’ll provide an update that spans the past couple of years. I have been busy over the past few years here at CMU. Most notably, I am part of the ADVANCE leadership team at CMU and this past August we received a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Adaptation award, a 3-year grant totaling $990,183. The NSF ADVANCE program contributes to the National Science Foundation’s goal of developing a more inclusive and diverse STEM workforce, by providing universities with financial resources to improve the overall climate and culture for women faculty in STEM at their institution. (Please see page 4 of this newsletter for more information.) We have many initiatives planned for this upcoming year. For more information, please scan the code and visit our website. Another role I recently played here at CMU is that during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years, I served as Chair of the Academic Senate at CMU. The Academic Senate is primarily a legislative body and makes the final decision on all major academic changes at CMU (such as approving new programs, updating the General Education and degree requirements, etc). In this role, I was able to contribute to many important decisions being made at CMU. While I enjoyed serving my two terms as Senate Chair at CMU, I am also pleased to currently be serving in my present role as Immediate Past Chair of the Academic Senate. For teaching, this fall I once again had the opportunity to teach the “Women in STEM Fields” course that I developed a few years ago. This course is cross-listed with Women and Gender Studies (WGS) and explores the experiences, challenges, and contributions of women in STEM fields. I love teaching this course every fall, which is predominately taken by first-year students enrolled in one of the many STEM majors offered here at CMU. Not only do my students in this class always tell me that they learn so much by taking the course, every time I teach it I learn so much from them as well! My research agenda continues to be related to women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields. For years I’ve been exploring how gender affects women’s experiences as undergraduate mathematics students, however, more recently I completed a project with two undergraduate students in physics: Dakota Keblbeck and Cielo Medina. For our project we explored the experiences of undergraduate physics students and how these experiences varied based on their intersectional underrepresented identities. In addition to gender identity, the underrepresented identities we included were: race/ethnicity, sexuality, international student status, first-generation college student status, socio-economic status, and disability. The results of our study found that students with one or more underrepresented identities experienced more challenges than students who did not have any underrepresented identities and that students with more underrepresented identities tended to have more and different challenges than those with fewer underrepresented identities. We presented our initial findings at the Physics Education Research Conference during the summer of 2022 (pictured here), and we’re currently preparing our final results for publication.

Please help us in congratulating the students who obtained a Mathematics Ph.D. degree in 2023.

Rasha Almughrabi

Dissertation Title: Bergman Kernels of Monomial Polyhedra. As a full-time graduate student in the Department of Mathematics, my academic journey at Central Michigan University was marked by a deep commitment to mathematics education and research. During my time, I held teaching assistantships, and research assistantships, demonstrating my dedication to both learning and scholarly pursuits. A distinctive aspect of my Ph.D. program was the completion of two teaching internships, where I served as an independent instructor for upperlevel mathematics courses under faculty mentorship. These experiences allowed me to refine my teaching skills. My research interests focused on holomorphic functions and maps in domains spanning several complex variables and manifolds, leading to a published work. I was honored to receive the Department of Mathematics Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award for my contributions to education. Additionally, I had the privilege of presenting my research at several seminars and colloquia at AMS Graduate Student Chapter and gained proficiency in various learning management systems. My time as a graduate student at Central Michigan University was characterized by a deep dedication to mathematics, a passion for teaching, and a commitment to advancing mathematical knowledge. Rasha Almughrabi successfully defended her Ph.D. in Spring 2023 with Dr. Debraj Chakrabarti.

Dr. Sivaram K. Narayan

In Fall 2022, I taught MTH 332: Introduction to Mathematical Proof and MTH 132: Calculus I. In Spring 2023, I again taught MTH 132 and MTH 499: Capstone Course in Mathematics. I enjoyed teaching the MTH 332 and MTH 499 classes. In particular, I used the book titled “Proofs from THE BOOK” for MTH 499 which contains beautiful and elegant proofs for many mathematical theorems. I enjoy working with students and mentoring them. In Fall 2022, Kelsey Knoblock worked on her Honors Thesis titled “An application of matrix theory to the ranking of players in a round-robin tournament.” She presented a poster at CMU on her Honors Thesis. I continued to work on research projects in combinatorial matrix theory and finite frame theory. Two manuscripts in matrix theory jointly authored by my former Ph.D. students Dr. Ansam Al-Aqtash and Dr. Yousra Sharawi are currently under review. A manuscript in finite frame theory jointly authored by my colleague Dr. Yeon Kim and former student Dr. Rachel Domagalski is currently under review.

Dr. Jordan Watts

Well, I have finally finished up five years here at CMU, and this year I will go up for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. So far, I have had many exciting adventures with students, whether it be through the classes I teach (from pre-calculus to graduate algebraic topology), or MA program papers and Honors projects. One aspect I have come to appreciate about our students is their well-being. Many students, living on their own for their first time, need some support to help them bring some structure to their lives. In fact, how can we expect them to be able to perform well on exams when they are struggling to find food to eat, or are dealing with depression? CMU has many support entities to address many of these issues, but students are either not aware of them, or knowledge of them gets lost in the multitude of things they learn about the university at the beginning of the year. Due to this, I have made a webpage that uses the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy to separate these issues into layers which are stacked into a pyramid: if a lower layer is in trouble, the rest above will not have a sufficient foundation. Each layer links to CMU resources meant to address the issues in that layer. I have found that students have responded very well to this, even if it is just the acknowledgment that they are human beings that have to deal with life, just like the rest of us. In fact, other faculty have started using this webpage as well! I am now the advisor for the Computational Mathematics & Analytics Minor (CM&A), a new minor in the department attached to the new Data Science Major housed in the STAD department. Students taking this major must choose one minor from a list to help expand their experience of data analytics. I created this minor a couple of years ago to connect the student’s knowledge of data analysis with more mathematical techniques. They now will have a greater mathematical toolkit to apply to problems in industry, making them more marketable after they graduate. On the research side, I have published seven refereed articles in my research area of differential geometry; namely, diffeological spaces, groupoids, and Sikorski differential spaces. All of these are constructs designed to do calculus on singular spaces, which pop up in many situations throughout mathematics, and other fields as well, such as physics. I also have a couple more papers submitted, and a few more in the works. Overall, I have had a successful last five years, and look forward to continuing success in the next five!

Please help us in congratulating the following students who all obtained a Mathematics M.A. degree in 2023. • Ellen Anderson (MA, Spring 2023) • Christopher Rose (MA, Spring 2023) • Kodjo Youto (MA, Summer 2023)

Dr. Xiaoming Zheng

Dr. Xiaoming Zheng. He works on applied mathematics. He recently published one paper “Numerical algorithms and simulations of boundary dynamic control for optimal mixing in unsteady Stokes flows” on a high impact journal, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering. It is a collaboration with Dr. Weiwei Hu of the University of George and Dr. Jiahong Wu of the University of Notre Dame. This work develops an efficient and accurate optimization algorithm to study the optimal mixing problem driven by boundary control of unsteady Stokes flows, based on the theoretical foundation laid by Hu and Wu in a series of work. The scalar being mixed is purely advected by the flow and the control is a force exerted tangentially on the domain boundary through the Navier slip conditions. The control design has potential applications in many industrial processes such as rotating wall driven mixing, micromixers with acoustic waves, and artificial cilia mixing. The numerical algorithms have high complexity, high accuracy demand, and high computing expense, due to the multiscale nature of the mixing problem and the optimization requirements. A crucial problem is the computation of the Gateaux derivative of the cost functional. To this end, a hybrid approach based on variational formula and finite difference is built with high accuracy and efficiency to treat various types of control input functions. We have experimented with various optimization algorithms including the steepest descent algorithm, the conjugate gradient method and two line search options (backtracking and exact line search). We are able to identify and implement the best combinations. The numerical simulations show that the mixing efficacy is limited when only one single type of control is applied but can be enhanced when more diverse control types and more time segmentation are utilized. The mix-norm in the optimal mixings decays exponentially. The numerical study in this work demonstrates that boundary control alone could be an effective strategy for mixing in incompressible flows. This work is partly supported by NSF grant DMS2309747. This group of pictures taken from the paper demonstrates the mixing process driven by some boundary control forces, where different colors represent density of the material being mixed.



Awardees in Math, 2022-2023 academic year Hammel KME Award Recipients: • Julia Savage and Maleia Thompson

Outstanding Tutoring Awards • Graduate Recipients: • Isaac Cinzori, Brooklynn Willett • Undergraduate Recipients: • Aubrielle Dunn, Mary Wright

AMS Graduate Student Chapter Integration Bee • Graduate Grand Integrator: Koksal Karakus • Graduate Runner-Up: Tony Sheikhnavassi • Undergraduate Grand Integrator: Margaret Hartmann • Undergraduate Runner-Up: Grace Osiri

Richtmeyer–Foust Mathematics Award • 2023 Recipient: Kelsey Knoblock • Finalists: Chasta Ganske, Dylan Mills, Nova Moore, Jeremy Proksch Additional Scholarship Winners:

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards Recipients: • Koksal Karakus, Bridgette Russell Michigan Autumn Take Home Challenge Exam (Our CMU team finished in 11th place out of 39 teams from Michigan and other states): • Emma Doederlein, Julia Savage, and Maleia Thompson

• Brannan Family Scholarship • Recipient: Brandon Budd and Bryan Budd • Lester H. and Jack D. Serier Endowed Memorial Scholarship • Recipient: Julia Savage • William & Delores Miller Endowed Award • Recipient: Emma Doederlein • Cleon C. Richtmeyer Scholarship • Recipients: Emily Dolan-Baker, Michael Leiby, Julia Savage, and Mary Wright • Richard & Karen St. Andre Endowed Award • Recipient: Emily Dolan-Baker • Nikoline A. Bye Endowed Scholarship • Recipient: Rachel Swiderek • Jennie Master Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics Education • Recipient: Rachel Swiderek • Frank & Rita Jozefaciuk and Aunt Irene Rutkowski Endowed Award • Recipient: Grace Bremmer • Narayan Mathematics Scholarship • Recipient: Emma Doederlein • Edward, Bertha, and Stephen Whitmore Mathematics Scholarship • Recipients: Aubrielle Dunn and Maleia Thompson

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