Vol.7, Summer 2015

Math Minutes:


An E-Newsletter for Students and Alumni of the Saint Michael’s Mathematics Department

 Volume 7        Summer 2015

Chair’s message

At the end of another exciting year in the Saint Michael’s Mathematics Department, we have applauded the achievements of a strong class of twelve graduating mathematics majors.1


math 2



Our graduates are embarking on a variety of postgraduate plans, ranging from secondary teaching positions at Enosburgh High School (VT) and Oak Hill High School (ME) to an analyst position with a local healthcare company to graduate studies in finance.

As in previous years, several of the top rated jobs in 2015 require significant mathematical abilities and skills. For example, in the Career Cast 2015 top 10 list, 4 of their top 6 positions involve proficiency with advanced mathematics and statistics.

This summer, some of our students are participating in scholarly and internship programs at other institutions, including the Summer REU in Statistical Genetics and Biostatistics at Dordt College, University of Vermont NSF-REU in Interdisciplinary Research on Human Impacts in the Lake Champlain Ecosystem, the Northeast Water Resource Network, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and National Life of Vermont. More information about these student explorations is included at the end of this letter.

Our 2014-2015 Departmental Colloquium Series again spanned a wide range of topics shared by various experts. The talks included:

  •  In September of 2014, several undergraduates presented results from their summer undergraduate research work, including
  • Brianna Healy ’16 and Celsey Lumbra ’16, “Mathematics in the Business World: A New York City Experience”
  • Mackenzie Edmondson ’16, “Predicting Pathogenicity in Human Genetic Variants: A Summer Research Experience in Biostatistics”
  • Kaitlyn Adams ’15, “Exploring the World of Actuaries”
  • Samuel Blakely ’15 “Making Use of Quantum Computing”
  • Later in September of 2014, Eric Sandberg, Chief Actuary of National Life Group, gave the Careers talk “Introduction to the Actuarial Profession and Actuaries at the National Life Group.”
  • Later in September of 2014, Julian Voss-Andreae, physicist and sculptor, gave the Colloquium talk “Sculpture Inspired by Proteins, Physics, and People.”
  • In October of 2014, Prof. Phil Yates from Saint Michael’s presented our annual Pi Mu Epsilon Lecture “&#%!@? — Censoring and the Analysis of Partially Known Data.”
  • Later in October of 2014, Prof. Nat Lew from Saint Michael’s gave the talk “Counterpoint, Canon, and Fugue: The Algorithms and the Art of Constructing Simultaneous Melodies.”
  • In November of 2014, Prof. Sheila Weaver from UVM gave the Colloquium talk “Social Justice and Decision Making with Bayes’ Rule.”
  • In January of 2015, Prof. Donna Rizzo from UVM gave the Colloquium talk “Using Machine Learning to Better Understand Complex Systems.”
  • In March of 2015, Prof. Michael Schuckers from Saint Lawrence University gave the Colloquium talk “A Peek at Statistical Analysis of the National Hockey League (NHL).”

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

  •  In 2015, Prof. Jo Ellis-Monaghan continued as Editor-in-Chief of the journal PRIMUS: Problems Resources and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies. Ellis-Monaghan is also 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 Computer Science Department and involves several SMC students in undergraduate research experiences. (See below for further information.)
  •  Students and faculty participated in April, 2015 Saint Michael’s Symposium, celebrating undergraduate mathematics research at the College. Students presentations included:
  • Catherine Corrigan ’17: “Graphing the World: Stereographic Projection” (MA 315-Complex Analysis Final Project)
  • Brianna Healy ’16: “Complex Newton’s Method” (MA 315-Complex Analysis Final Project)
  • Melissa Westland ’16: “Bessel Functions: Derivation, Types, and Specific Applications to Optics” (MA 315-Complex Analysis Final Project)
  • Rebecca Rouleau ’18: “A Chapter from the History of Statistics: The Origins of the Normal Distribution and the Mathematicians Behind It” (MA 304-History of Mathematics Final Project)
  • Samuel Blakely ’15 and Michaela Burns ’15: “The Interlace Polynomial in Graph Theory” (MA 410-Mathematics Seminar Capstone Project)
  • Stephanie Nadow ’15: “A Look at Basic Cryptosystems” (MA 407-Abstract Algebra II Honors Project)
  •  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 and Brattleboro.
  •  Several mathematics majors are participating in summer 2015 enrichment programs:
  • Mackenzie Edmondson ’16: Selected to participate in the competitive eight-week Dordt College summer REU in Statistical Genetics and Biostatistics, Jun 1–Jul 24, 2015. “Every summer 5-6 top undergraduate students join (the) nationally recognized research team…to investigate current research problems in statistical genetics… Critical components of (the) program are to bring research results forward to publication in leading peer-reviewed journals and to present our work at national and international conferences of statistics and genetics. Most students participating in (the) program use it as a stepping stone to Ph.D. programs in statistics, biostatistics, statistical genetics, bioinformatics and other related disciplines.”
  • Erin Keough ’17: Selected to participate in the competitive ten-week University of Vermont NSF-REU in Interdisciplinary Research on Human Impacts in the Lake Champlain Ecosystem, May 31–Aug 7, 2015. The program provides “…ten undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research on the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of humans in the Lake Champlain ecosystem…REU students will participate in an interdisciplinary cooperative model that promotes integrated thinking across disciplines within and between the natural and social sciences…” (Erin is researchingHabitat Fragmentation and Walleye Movement in Lake Champlain.’)
  • Kristen McCarthy ’16: Selected to participate in the competitive paid ten-week Northeast Water Resource Network undergraduate research internship on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring in the Lake Champlain Basin at the University of Vermont, Jun 2 – Aug 11, 2015. This is “second field season of deploying chemical sensors in waterways entering Lake Champlain…Students will work in both field and lab settings throughout the summer.”
  • Celsey Lumbra ’16 and Nathan Hodge ’16: Selected to participate in the competitive paid ten-week Pricewaterhouse Coopers summer internship program in Boston, Jun 15–Aug 17, 2015; their internships are on the Transfer Pricing team, on which math graduate Erika Kirslis ’12 is a member and math graduate Eric Caputo ’92 is a Partner.
  • Colby Ajoku ’16: Selected to participate in the competitive paid ten-week National Life summer internship program in Montpelier, Jun 1–Aug 7, 2015; the internship is part of the new Business Delivery Office and on the Quality Assurance Team, supervised by math graduate Ed Hakey ’11.
  • Current mathematics majors Brianna Healy ’16, Samantha Tremblay ’17, and Melissa Westland ’16 and mathematics minors Bharti Singh ’16 and Alexandra Brown ’17 are participating this summer in the Saint Michael’s NSF-funded on campus collaboration in undergraduate research in the area of graph theoretical self-assembly design strategies under the direction of Prof. Jo Ellis-Monaghan and Prof. Greta Pangborn. (Bharti and Melissa are supported by the NASA-VT Space Grant Mentored Undergraduate Research at Saint Michael’s College)

Upcoming Events

Mathematics Department Colloquium Series, Fall 2015-Spring 2016:

  •  2015: Students will share results from their undergraduate mathematics research and other summer experiences.
  • Fall 2015: Pi Mu Epsilon Annual Lecture and Induction.

1 Our 2015 mathematics graduates with their majors and some of their honors are:


Kaitlyn Adams b, p MA
Julia Bianconi MA/ED

Samuel Blakely a

David Bouthillier

Michaela Burns




Amber Emmell MA/ED
Mary Falcigno a MA
Olivia Gregory MA/ED
Maya Lopez MA

Stephanie Nadow a

Zhendong Shang



Jeremy Wong MA


a – Pi Mu Epsilon member and officer of Vermont Alpha chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon

b – Pi Mu Epsilon member

p – Saint Michael’s College Mathematics Department Program Honors graduate

Alumni Spotlights

 For example, find out more about Saint Michael’s alumni that have gone on to careers in mathematics education!  Thank you for sharing those details!

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

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