Hofstra mathematics students and faculty welcomed close to 200 peers from across the region and showed off their research and presentation skills when they hosted the annual meeting of the Metropolitan New York Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).
Participants came from 32 other neighboring colleges and universities and four local middle schools and high schools for a day filled with impressive student and faculty achievement. Among the day’s highlights: the presentation of the chapter’s Distinguished Teaching Award to Hofstra Associate Professor of Mathematics Johanna Franklin, who served as chair of the MAA’s local organizing committee.
Dr. Satyanand Singh, secretary of the MAA NY Metro Section, praised Franklin as “a scholar, mentor and outstanding teacher. Dr. Franklin has taught students in Singapore, Canada and the United States. Throughout it all she has served as a role model and an inspiration to her students and women across continents.”
Dr. Singh also quoted a recommendation from one of Dr. Franklin’s students for the award. Genevieve Maalouf ’18 had written: “One of her greatest qualities is her patience. She has always made sure that no one feels badly when he or she finds a certain topic confusing. Even the most nervous students walk out of her office calmer, and more knowledgeable. Professors can be intimidating at times, especially when their class is notoriously difficult, but Dr. Franklin is the complete opposite, and one of my greatest influences.”
The day began with welcoming remarks from HCLAS Dean Benjamin Rifkin and Mathematics Associate Professor and Chair Dan Seabold.
Among the guest speakers were Steven G. Krantz of Washington University in St. Louis, whose address – “A Matter of Gravity” looked at the stability of the center of gravity. Joe Mitchell of Stony Brook University spoke on “Geometric Optimization Problems for Efficient Viewing: Finding Good Ways to See Things Well” and Lionel Levine of Cornell University focused on the uses (and abuses) of mathematics in predicting the future in his address “The Future of Prediction.” Nathan Kallus, also from Cornell, presented the challenges of “Learning to Personalize from Observational Data.”
Other events included a Math Bowl for undergraduate and high school students, moderated by Professors Dan Ismailescu and Eric Rowland. The team of Genevieve Maalouf, Alysha Minaya-Torres ‘21, and Briana Schmidt ’20 won first place.
Peter Daniel, chair and professor of biology, and Kevin Bisceglia, assistant professor of chemistry, shared their unique perspectives in the panel discussion “Partner Disciplines in Teaching Mathematics.”
Professor Zoran Sunic presided over the poster session. Featured projects included “Limiting Densities of the Fibonacci Sequence Modulo pn” by Nicholas Bragman ’19 and Genevieve Maalouf, under the advisement of Professor Eric Rowland. Also on display was “Forging Empathy to Enhance Classroom Experience” by Professor Behailu Mammo, graduate student Marissa Grill and students in Hofstra’s Noyce Scholarship Program, an initiative that aims to increase the number of qualified and effective science and mathematics teachers in high-needs school districts.
Professor Yihren Wu and students Justin Cabot-Miller ’20, Taylor Ninesling ‘18, and Brian Zilli ’19 were also presenters.