Volume 6, Summer 2014



Chair’s message                                                                                           

  Dr. George Ashline

Dr. George Ashline

We have reached the end of another rich academic year in the Mathematics Department at Saint Michael’s! We are thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a large class of fifteen graduating mathematics majors.1



As usual, our graduates are planning to pursue various postgraduate plans, ranging from Ph.D. graduate school in Economics to an analyst position with Verizon to teaching positions at such schools as Hartford High School and the Canterbury School.

Once again this year, several of the top rated jobs in 2014 require significant mathematical abilities and skills. For example, in the Career Cast 2014 top 10 list, 4 of their top 5 positions could involve proficiency with advanced mathematics and statistics.

This summer, some of our students are participating in scholarly and internship programs at other institutions, including Columbia University’s Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics, the Fullbridge Program, and National Life of Vermont. More information about our student activity is included at the end of this letter.

Our 2013-2014 Departmental Colloquium Series featured many interesting, wide-ranging topics and various visiting experts. The talks included:


  • In September of 2013, several undergraduates presented results from their summer undergraduate research work, including
  • Mackenzie Edmondson ’16, Amber Emmell ’15, and Celsey Lumbra ’16, “Chord and Word Recognition using Fourier and Wavelet Analysis”
  • Katelyn Heath ’14, “From Bernoulli Shifts to Fish Schooling: A Summer Program for Women in Mathematics”
  • Maura O’Riordan ’14, “Curricular Changes in a Teacher Education Program: How Successful Are They?”
  • Samuel Blakely ’15, Mary Falcigno ’15, Nathan Hodge ’15, and David Robbins ’15 (Eric Sherman ’14), “DNA Nanostructure Design Strategies”
  • Later in September of 2013, Prof. Bonnie Shulman from Bates College, gave the Colloquium talk “Social Justice: What’s Math Got To Do With It?”
  • In October of 2013, Prof. Rick Cleary from Babson College presented our annual Pi Mu Epsilon Lecture “Some Non-Standard Applications of Mathematics to Sports.”
  • In November of 2013, Prof. Jim Hefferon from Saint Michael’s gave the Colloquium talk “Developing a Math Book that is Free.”
  • In January of 2014, Prof. Rachael Oldinsky from UVM gave the Colloquium talk “Orchestrating Complex Tissue Regeneration.”
  • In March of 2014, Dr. Shelbi Cole from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium gave the Colloquium talk “A Smarter Balanced System for Supporting Mathematics Teaching and Learning.”
  • In April of 2014, Prof. Joe Latulippe from Norwich University gave the Colloquium talk “Modeling Wrist Oscillations Using Differential Equations.”
  • Also in April of 2014, Prof. Raina Robeva from Sweet Briar College gave the Colloquium talk “Creating and Using Mathematical Models in Biology: Why, When, and How.”
  • During her visit, Prof. Robeva also led a Bio-Math faculty workshop on “The Mathematical Training of Undergraduate Biology Majors.”


Please visit our alumni spotlights for more information about what our graduates are up to. Also, check out our departmental webpages for further details about our Department and programs.

Other Recent Activity


  • On sabbatical in 2013-2014, Prof. Ellis-Monaghan is co-PI on a $2 million dollar NSF grant in collaboration with Caltech, NYU, and City of Hope to develop origami-based DNA self-assembly processes.  The project includes Prof. Greta Pangborn in the CS department and involves SMC students in undergraduate research experiences. At the Joint Math Meetings in Baltimore in January, she presented “Polynomials of Graphs in Surfaces” at the MAA Invited paper session on Graphs Don’t Have to Lie Flat: The Shape of Topological Graph Theory and was a panelist for the Project NExT panel on The Nuts and Bolts of Undergraduate Research.


  • On campus collaboration in undergraduate research in the area of graph theoretical self-assembly design strategies has continued with undergraduates during the 2013-2014 academic year, under the direction of Profs. Ellis-Monaghan and Greta Pangborn from the Computer Science Department. Several papers, posters, and talks at academic meetings resulted. For example, several students/groups of students presented their research in a wide variety of venues, including the Saint Michael’s Student Research Symposium (Apr. 2014).


  • Prof. Phil Yates recently published two jointly written articles, including one entitled “A Behavioural Dynamic Model of the Relative Age Effect” in the Journal of Sports Sciences and another entitled “How Predictible is the Overall Pattern in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Post Tournament Poll?” in CHANCE.


  • At the Joint Math Meetings in Baltimore in January, Prof. Jim Hefferon presented “Groups and Fields in Open Text Authoring” as part of the MAA Session on Open Source Mathematics Textbooks.


  • Students and faculty participated in April, 2014 Saint Michael’s Symposium, celebrating undergraduate mathematics research at the College. Students presenting included:
  • Katherine Garaffa ’14: “The $150,000 Formula: History, Derivations, and Applications of Mersenne Primes” (MA 410-Mathematics Seminar Capstone Project)
  • Michael Gilbert ’14: “Fourier Transforms and their Applications to Music” (MA 417-Applied Mathematics Honors Project)
  • Michael Gilbert ’14: “The Fibonacci Sequence and Applications to Music” (MA 410-Mathematics Seminar Capstone Project)
  • Ryota Ishisaka ’14: “PageRank: Mathematics As A Tool To Provide Best Search Results” (MA 410-Mathematics Seminar Capstone Project)
  • Janelle Lavery ’14: “Berlekamp’s Algorithm to Factor Polynomials” (MA 407-Abstract Algebra II Honors Project)


  • Profs. George Ashline and Ellis-Monaghan have continued to give invited talks and workshops at schools in Vermont through the Vermont State Math Coalition’s Expanding Horizons program. For example, this past year, they gave invited presentations at high schools in Canaan, Danville, Milton, Montpelier (U-32), and South Burlington.


  • Several mathematics majors are participating in off campus enrichment programs for the summer of 2014.
  • Mackenzie Edmondson ’16: Selected to participate in the competitive Summer Institute for Biostatistics (SIBS) at Columbia University from May 27 – July 18, 2014. “ In the CSIBS 8-week training module, a small number of well-qualified participants will experience: 

• an entertaining yet rigorous walk through the fundamentals of probability and statistical inference

• the development of an analytic “tool box”, including exposure to state-of-the-art design and analytic methods and training in the use of statistical software

• the synthesis and application of these tools via immersion in a mentored data analysis project using NHLBI datasets

• exposure to public health case studies illustrating the power and influence of biostatistics in biomedical research

  • Biostatistics In Action field trips to labs throughout the campus and around New York City to understand the breadth of the impact biostatistics has on research

• seminars on advanced methods and current challenges in biostatistics and research

• project preparation and presentation

• preparation for graduate school including GRE training (Kaplan), application and resume writing training, and interview skill development

• training in the responsible conduct of research.”

  • Celsey Lumbra ’16 and Brianna Healy ’16: Selected to represent Saint Michael’s College along with several other students as initial participants in the Fullbridge Program this summer. According to the program website, “We provide ambitious students the tools to succeed in the 21st century global workplace. The Fullbridge Program delivers a hands-on, full immersion into business fundamentals—integrated with personalized coaching, world-class content, and team collaboration. It’s intense, it will challenge you, and it will change you. Get ready to take the workplace by storm.”


Upcoming Events

Mathematics Department Colloquium Series, Fall 2014-Spring 2015, tentative schedule so far

  • Friday, Sep. 12th: students will share results from their undergraduate mathematics research and other summer investigations.

Pi Mu Epsilon Annual Lecture and Induction, Fall 2014.


1 Our 2014 mathematics graduates with their majors and some of their honors are:


Maeve Carroll, MA

Katherine Garaffa, MA

Jessica George, MA/ED b

Michael Gilbert, MA b,c,d

Erika Gravelin, MA/ED

Katelyn Heath, MA/EC a,c,d

Ryota Ishisaka, MA/CS

Miranda LaRocque, MA b

Janelle Lavery, MA b

Meaghan Leong, MA

Julie Mullowney, MA n

Maura O’Riodan, MA/ED

Eric Sherman, MA

Jeffrey Trites, MA/ED a

Amy Winter, MA/ED b


a – Pi Mu Epsilon member and co-President of Vermont Alpha chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon
b – Pi Mu Epsilon member
c – Phi Beta Kappa member
d – Delta Epsilon Sigma member
n – Saint Michael’s College NCAA Woman of the Year for 2014


Alumni Spotlights

 For example, check out the endeavors of some Saint Michael’s alumni that have gone on to careers in business, finance, and investment banking. Thank you for sharing those details!

Please submit comments or profile information to George Ashline. It’s great hearing from you!


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