2016 ACTM State Math Contest

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, the UCA Department of Mathematics hosted the State Mathematics Contest, which is sponsored by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ACTM). Approximately 350 high school students from public and private school across the state of Arkansas competed in one of six content exams: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, Calculus, or Statistics. A list of contest winners in each category can be found on the ACTM page on the Department of Mathematics Web site at http://uca.edu/actm/.

Dr. Charles Watson, associate professor of mathematics, serves as the ACTM contest director. Dr. Linda Griffith, professor of mathematics, is the current president of ACTM. Several mathematics faculty members including Dr. Carolyn Pinchback, Mrs. Loi Booher, and Mrs. Crystal Spellmann and graduate students assisted with the contest.

 1st, 2nd and 3rd  place winners of the contest

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the contest

2016 Student Awards in Mathematics

At the  Math Department’s annual  spring picnic held at  the home of Uma and Ramsh Garimella on April 22, student awards for 2016 were presented. Each awardee received a gift card and  a certificate of recognition.

O.L. Hughes Award was presented to Jamie Mullins. This  award is presented every spring to a senior in mathematics who has an exemplary academic record. Jamie received her BS degree in pure mathematics at the 2016 Spring Commencement and will join the Department as a graduate student in Mathematics Education in Fall 2016.

Dorothy Long Award was given to Diana Morales. This award  is presented every year to a junior female mathematics student who has an exemplary academic record. Diana is active in undergraduate research   and co-presented a poster in January at the national Joint Meetings of AMS & MAA in Seattle, Washington.

Graduate  students Haley Laffoon and Robert Habimana were co-recipients of this year’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award.  Haley received her MA degree in Mathematics Education at the 2016 Spring Commencement and will join the Episcopla Collegiate School in Little Rock as a mathematics teacher. Robert was mentored by late Dr. Clarence Burg and is currently finishing up his master’s thesis in applied mathematics with Dr. Danny  Arrigo and is expected to receive his MS degree in August 2016.

Diana Morales with Dr. Garimella

Diana Morales with Dr. Garimella


L to R: Haley Laffoon, Dr. Charles Watson, Robert Habimana, Jamie Mullins and Dr. Ramesh Garimella

L to R: Haley Laffoon, Dr. Charles Watson, Robert Habimana, Jamie Mullins and Dr. Ramesh Garimella

2016 Spring Math Graduates

Seven applied mathematics, two pure mathematics, and two BSE  mathematics education  students and  a graduate student in  MA Mathematics Education  received their degrees at the Spring Commencement held on April 30th, 2016. Congratulations to all.

From L to R: Dr. R.B. Lenin, Logan Prince, Alma Malibekova, Lou Kouassi, Christina Junkans, Chantelle Giles, Sarah Zimmerman, Jaime Mullins, Cody Carr, and Cody Dauksch.

From L to R: Dr. R.B. Lenin, Logan Prince, Alma Malibekova, Lou Kouassi, Christina Junkans, Chantelle Giles, Sarah Zimmerman, Jaime Mullins, Cody Carr, and Cody Dauksch.

UCA Math Student Presentations at a Regional Conference

At the 78th Annual Meeting of the OK-AR Section of Mathematical Association of America held at UCA during March 31 to April 2, 2016, three Mathematics majors Alma Malibekova, Diana Morales, and James Palmer ; a Physics and Astronomy major Douglas Roisen; and a Business major Macoe Austin Davis presented their research in student talk sessions.  Also, mathematics graduate students Brandon Ashley, Seth Bloomberg, Thomas Deathrage, Robert Habimana, Haly Lafoon, and Rebecca Moody along with a graduate student in Leadership Studies Charlie Wood presented their work in the regular sessions of the meeting.


OK-AR Section of the MAA Meeting at UCA

The Department of Mathematics at UCA hosted the 78th Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma-Arkansas Section of Mathematical Association of America from March 31 to April 2, 2016. Dr. Ramesh Garimella, Chair of Math Department, was responsible for local arrangements for the meeting. Approximately 225 participants , which included 142 faculty members and students from Arkansas, and 72 from Oklahoma attended the meetings.   There were 23 undergraduate talks, and 34 faculty presentations, a faculty workshop on Math Pathways Project in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and a student workshop on Rational Tangles – A Math Circle Approach. In addition, Dr. Allison Henrich of Seattle University presented the N. A. Court Invited Lecture on Knotty Games, and Professor Thomas Milligan of the University of Central Oklahoma gave the R. B. Deal Lecture on Playing in Mathematics. The meetings concluded On April 2 with a an hour-long MAA Section Visitor Lecture given by Dr. Jima Daniel on actuarial careers. Pre-meeting activities included Team Math Jeopardy Competition on the evening of March 31 with 17 student teams from both Arkansas and Oklahoma. A student competition known as Integration Bee was on held on the morning of April 2.

On April 1st evening,  a banquet  was held, which was attended by about 130 students, faculty and guests. Dean Stephen Addison of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics gave official welcome to the participants. Awards were presented to top three student paper presentations, and top three Math Jeopardy Teams. Also, outstanding teaching awards for elementary, middle and high school teachers from both Arkansas and Oklahoma were given.

Overall, it was a great meeting with excellent math talks and exciting events. The next year’s meeting will be held on the campus of University of Oklahoma during the first week of April 2017.

Student Integration Bee

Student Integration Bee


Student Workshop

Student Workshop

Drs. Donna Foss and George Bratton at the Registartion Desk

Drs. Donna Foss and George Bratton at the Registration Desk

Math Jeopardy Competition

Math Jeopardy Competition


ClarenceB-0036Dr. Clarence Burg, Associate Professor of Mathematics, passed away unexpectedly on March 23, 2016. Dr. Burg was a dedicated teacher and scholar, and an exceptional mentor for both undergraduate and graduate students. He joined the UCA Math Department in August 2005. Dr. Burg quickly gained reputation as an outstanding faculty member with boundless energy. Often he came to the office early in the morning and stayed late in the evening to help the students, and fellow faculty members, whether it was helping a student with a math problem or assisting a fellow faculty member with a computer related issue.   He was very active in the math department’s summer outreach programs.  Dr. Burg was well liked and admired by students, faculty and staff.  He will be greatly missed. You may read Dr. Burg’s obituary at the Roller-McNutt Funeral Home website:  http://www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/services.asp?page=odetail&id=41072&locid=14.


ACTM Regional Math Contest

On March 5, 2016, approximately 100 junior and senior high school students in central Arkansas took part in the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Contest held in the Department of Mathematics at UCA. Competition was held in the categories of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Calculus, and Statistics. Mathematics Faculty members Dr. Carolyn Pinchback and Mrs. Loi Booher were co-directors organized the contest. Top three finishers in each category received trophies, and certificate were given to honorable mentions. Mathematics Faculty members Dr. Charles Watson, Mrs. Crsytal Spellman, and Dr. Ramesh Garimella and all graduate teaching assistants in mathematics helped in organizing the contest, grading the tests and presenting the awards. There were several such regional contests held through out the state. Top three finishers in each category form each region will be invited next month  to UCA Math Department to participate in the ACTM State Math Contest.


The Lawrence and Jaynette Huff Scholarship in Mathematics

The Lawrence and Jaynette Huff Scholarship has been created as a designated endowment fund through the UCA Foundation,Inc., for the purpose of providing scholarships for students pursuing a degree in mathematics.

Dr. Larry Huff was a professor of mathematics at UCA who was an integral part of a group that created the BS Applied Mathematics track in 1998. It is a highly successful program in the Department. Dr. Huff was an excellent teacher and mentor and was well liked by his students as well as colleagues. Dr. Huff retired from UCA at the end of Spring 2013. He stops by  the department, now and then, for a visit and conversation with friends and colleagues. Mrs. Jaynette Huff, an avid quilter, is a good friend and well wisher of the Department.

The Huffs split their retirement time between Conway and their farm in South Dakota. The Math Department is very grateful to Larry and Jaynette for their consideration and generosity.



Student Poster Presentations at 2016 Joint Math Meetings

Mathematics majors Ms. Alma Malibekova and Ms. Diana Morales presented a research  poster titled “ Mathematical Modeling of Epidemic with Exposed Group and Diffusion” at the 2016 Joint Mathematical Meetings held on January 6 -9 in Seattle. Both Alma and Diana received travel funds from the Math Department, the CNSM Dean’s Office and the URC to attend the meetings. Dr. Long Le, Associate Professor of Mathematics, mentored the students.Student Poster

Math Faculty Teaches in Guatemala

This summer Ms. Loi Booher, Lecturer in Mathematics, had the opportunity to work in an elementary school deep in the mountains of Guatemala. She was a member of a team , Teachers-2-Teachers International, an organization that provides culturally sensitive professional development for mathematics teachers in developing countries.   During the week at the school, her mornings were spent in the fourth grade classroom and afternoons were reserved for professional development and one-on-one planning with a local teacher.

The residents of this small village are very proud of their Mayan heritage. They wear traditional clothing and speak the local Mayan dialect of Ixil. Children begin to learn Spanish at school in first or second grade. To be a teacher at the school, one is required to finish a high school program that is designed for future teachers. Academically speaking, this may seem like a minimal requirement; however, Guatemalans are only required to complete the 6th grade. In fact, there is no secondary school in this village, so a child would have to travel two to three hours by bus to attend the nearest school.

The team helped the local teachers to take their math classes beyond the textbook. They encouraged and demonstrated things such as group work, culturally relevant word problems, new approaches to familiar problems, and an improved number sense.

Speaking of her experience , Ms. Booher said, “I was privileged to work with a diverse group of educators from both the U.S. and Guatemala. I’ve traveled abroad before, but teaching in Spanish really made me appreciate the challenges faced by international students. It was truly an honor to be able to share my knowledge with the Mayan teachers as well as gain invaluable knowledge from them – both equally. Playing jacks during recess… that’s icing on the cake!”

SA group stairs