News about Mathematics

Award-Winning Documentary Series Explores Why Math Matters

Filming “Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters” led Christopher J. Leigh, video production coordinator at Penn College, to scale a mountain in the Shawangunk Ridge, an internationally famous rock climbing area within the Mohonk Preserve in New York state. Leigh interacts with members of the Shawanpunk climbing team featured in the documentary.

Mountain climbers, a superhero and the legendary video game pioneer who founded Atari join with faculty to explain the importance of mathematics when Pennsylvania College of Technology’s award-winning public television series returns this fall.

“Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters” explores the link between math, computers and technology and helps connect the study of math with real-world experiences that engage student interests.

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Math Matters: Atari Founder, Faculty Contend There’s a Better Way

At a Penn College Career Day, a middle-schooler learns the color-coded programming language that will make an Ozobot dance. (Photo by Tia G. La, student photographer)

From the Fall 2017 Penn College Magazine: If students don’t like math or aren’t grasping the concept, it’s the responsibility of educators to help them understand before they move on, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell contends. Penn College faculty in mathematics, electronics, and information technology provide insight on why math matters.

Adjunct Faculty Member Coaching Finals-Bound OM Team

Denise A. Southard (standing in back) and her husband, Bret, pose with some of their Odyssey of the Mind mentees.

After capturing first in both regional and state competitions, the Curtin crew heads to OM World Finals.

A Penn College adjunct math faculty member and her team of fourth- and fifth-graders from Curtin Intermediate School are headed to the 2017 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Michigan State University this week. Denise A. Southard and her husband, Bret, coach the team of Williamsport youngsters that captured first place in Division I regional and state competitions with their problem, “A Superhero Cliffhanger.” “While there isn’t a direct connection to math, the students are required to build their props,” Denise said. “Their main prop is a storybook made from wood. They had to measure and cut all the wood in the construction of the book. The finished prop is a 5-foot-high book with seven ‘pages.’” The Southards started coaching OM when their daughters were in elementary school. (Their oldest daughter made it to the World Finals once, and their youngest achieved the honor twice.) Although their girls are older and no longer in OM, the couple continues to love being active in the program. “Ultimately, we both love the confidence it gives the students,” Denise said. “We have seen students, who were so shy they could barely talk to other team members, become stars on the stage! They learn how to think ‘outside the box,’ problem-solve and use power tools!” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The team finished 22nd in its division at “Worlds.”)
Photos provided

Penn College Backpacks Donated to Children in Belize

Belize schoolchildren sport Penn College backpacks, delivered along with instructional supplies by a math professor.

Students and teachers in San Pedro, Belize, recently sent their thanks to Pennsylvania College of Technology and one of its math professors for donated backpacks and other school supplies used during a summer literacy camp at the San Pedro Library.

The donations were coordinated by Curt Vander Vere, assistant professor of mathematics, who distributed the items via a family friend who is working on a master’s degree and teaching at a school in Belize. The supplies included Penn College Admissions backpacks and three boxes of school supplies.

Vander Vere, who guides a study abroad trip to Mexico or Guatemala for Penn College students enrolled in MTH 156 (Mathematics in Non-European Cultures), regularly collects and distributes supplies to children during his professional and personal travels.

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Who Designs the Future?

Graphic design student Ainsley R. Bennett adds shadow to a still-life sketch. Hand-drawing skills remain important in the college’s graphic design and advertising art majors.

In a Penn College lab, a student polishes graphics for a class project.

From the Fall 2016 Penn College Magazine: As detailed in the first episode of the “Working Class” television series, a knack for design and creativity is essential to other fields, including science, math, engineering and technology. Read “Who Designs the Future?

‘Working Class’ TV Episode Earns Telly Award

"Working Class"

The premiere episode of “Working Class,” a public television series produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, has earned a 2016 Telly Award.

The series was honored with a bronze award statue and certificate.

The Telly Award is acknowledged as a premier award for film and video productions, including outstanding local, regional and cable programming. The 36th annual competition this year considered more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

“Working Class: Dream and Do,” which premiered in January, appears regularly on WVIA. It also has aired on other Pennsylvania public television stations including WHYY and MindTV in Philadelphia, WQED in Pittsburgh, WLVT in Allentown, and WPSU in State College.

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Yucatan Travelers Share Study Abroad Experiences

A large crowd gathers to hear the presentations. In the background, D. Robert Cooley (light blue shirt), assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science, leads the discussion.

Intrepid travelers (from left): Erik G. Knecht, of Cranesville; Leo J. Ravina, of Hazleton; Brendon J. Dibble, of Douglassville; Anthony V. Rode, of Palm Coast, Fla.; and Curtis R. Gehman, of Lock Haven.

Dibble discusses his pit-fired ceramics, an attempt he made following the trip to recreate ancient Maya ceramics.

Knecht shares stories from the voyage.

Vander Vere listens to his students’ presentations.

Among the engaging end-of-semester activities that occurred across campus in recent weeks were presentations by students in MTH 156 (Mathematics in Non-European Cultures). Gathering in the Bush Campus Center TV Lounge, the students offered insights into their study abroad adventures in Mexico earlier this year. The unique course blends mathematics, anthropology and cultural adventures, and is led by D. Robert Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science, and Curt E. Vander Vere, assistant professor of mathematics. This year’s student group represented a diverse range of majors including manufacturing and engineering technology, industrial and human factors design, studio arts, construction management, and pre-physician assistant. The Penn College class traveled to the Yucatan peninsula, specifically the Mexican states of Yucatan and Campeche. This year’s outing marked the fifth time Cooley and Vander Vere have guided students in the exploration of ancient Maya civilization.
Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer

A previous MTH 156 travel experience was showcased in this video on the college YouTube channel:

Math Professor Co-Authors Paper Published in International Journal

William Ma

William Ma, professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, jointly authored a paper that was published recently in an international journal, Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae Mathematica.

The paper, titled “Estimates of the Hyperbolic Metric on the Twice Punctured Plane,” was co-authored with two other mathematics educators, Seong-A Kim, of Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea, and Jinxi Ma, of Beihang University, Beijing, China.

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New Penn College/WVIA TV Series Connects Education, Careers

Student video production assistant Kashiki E. Harrison views the website for “Working Class,” a new TV series produced by Penn College in partnership with WVIA, which will encourage viewers to make an impact by pursuing careers that reflect their personal talents and interests. Harrison, of Williamsport, and fellow student videographer Jeffrey A. Stanley, of Stewartstown, assist with the series.

Students and teachers who connect learning with real work experiences will be featured in a new series premiering this month on public television.

“Working Class” will encourage viewers to make an impact in the world by pursuing careers that reflect their personal talents and interests. The first episode in the series, which is produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology in partnership with WVIA Public Media, will premiere in Northeast Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. on WVIA.

Following the broadcast premiere, series content also will be shared via the Penn College and WVIA websites and on YouTube. Viewers also may follow the series on Facebook and Twitter.

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Math Professors Receive Outstanding Assessment Award

Joanna K. Flynn, Ed G. Owens honored for student assessment

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology mathematics faculty members have been named recipients of the college’s 2015 President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning.

Joanna K. Flynn, assistant professor of mathematics, and Ed G. Owens, associate professor and department head of mathematics, received the honor on Jan. 8 at the all-college meeting opening the Spring 2016 semester.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning recognizes initiative and creativity in facilitating student learning and reflects the college’s commitment to ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes.

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Math Professor Co-Authors Paper Published in International Journal

William Ma

William Ma, professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, jointly authored a paper published recently in an international journal, The Journal of Analysis.

The paper, titled “Domain constants and quasiconfirmal maps,” was co-authored with C. David Minda, of the University of Cincinnati.

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Math Professor Co-Authors Paper Published in Journal

William Ma

William Ma, professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, jointly authored a paper that was published recently in an international journal, Complex Analysis and Operator Theory.

The paper, titled “Two-Point Distortion for Nehari Functions,” was written with two other mathematicians, Diego Mejia, of Universidad Nacional, Colombia, and C. David Minda, of the University of Cincinnati. The work was initiated when the authors were participants in a research seminar at the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati.

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Math Professor Co-Authors Paper Published in International Journal

William Ma

William Ma, professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, jointly authored a paper that was published recently in an international mathematics journal, Computational Methods and Function Theory.

The paper, titled “Bounded Schwarzian and Two-Point Distortion,” was co-authored with two other mathematicians: Diego Mejia, of Universidad Nacional, Colombia, and C. David Minda, of the University of Cincinnati.

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Faculty Couple Creates Scholarship at Penn College

Diana L. and Kenneth C. Kuhns

As part of the Penn College Scholarship Campaign, Kenneth C. Kuhns, assistant professor of electrical technologies/occupations, and Diana L. Kuhns, assistant professor of mathematics, have established a scholarship fund at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Ken and Diana Kuhns Scholarship will make annual awards of $1,000 until it is fully endowed, at which time it will provide annual awards of $1,000 or more in perpetuity.

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Collegial Initiatives Help Ensure High Schoolers Math-Prepared

As education news buzzes about the cost for state colleges and universities to provide developmental courses to help high school graduates prepare for college-level classes, two local school districts are pairing with Pennsylvania College of Technology to help ensure their students are ready for college mathematics.

Both Jersey Shore Area Senior High School and Williamsport Area High School approached Penn College to help develop plans to assess and meet students’ needs before they head off to college.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University