Faculty Corner – Whitney Worley

1.  Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am originally from Arkansas. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Arkansas Tech University and my Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education from UCA. I then moved to Waco, TX to pursue my Ph. D. in Statistics at Baylor University. During that time, I met my wonderful husband and we moved back to Conway together in 2018. I enjoy cycling and playing racquetball with my husband, spending time with my family, participating in activities with our church, and watching movies.

2.  Tell us about the courses that you would like to teach at UCA.

Statistics is my passion, and I love sharing that knowledge with our students. I enjoy teaching Statistical Methods, where students are taught probability and statistical inference using the R programming language. I am also looking forward to teaching Multivariate Analysis next fall as this relates to my research interests.

3.  Tell us a little about your research.

I have conducted research in the field of Multivariate Analysis. Specifically, I have worked with data of high-dimension, in which the number of variables exceeds the sample size. A problem of interest is detecting differences in mean vectors from two high-dimensional samples, indicating that a difference exists between the two populations from which the samples were taken.

4.  Can you give us an example of an application of this research?

High-dimensional analysis is commonly used in genetics research. When working with microarray data, we tend to have more gene expressions than patients. High-dimensional analysis can be used to detect differences in gene expressions of patients from differing populations. For example, breast cancer patients who have been in remission for at least 5 years tend to display different gene expressions as compared to patients whose remission lasted less than 5 years.

5.  What is your favorite part of your transition to UCA?

As a former UCA student, transitioning to UCA felt like a homecoming. I immediately felt the support of my fellow faculty members, both inside and outside of the mathematics department. UCA feels like a family and it was wonderful to have been met with such open arms.

6.  What is the most challenging part of  your transition to UCA?

As a young faculty member working in my first full-time position, I have to be conscious that I am no longer a graduate student. My opinions and views are valued by my colleagues, and I have to be willing to share them.


2023 Summer STEM Academy @UCA

2023 Summer STEM Academy at UCA coming soon.  Stay tuned for more information.

State Math Contest Held on UCA Campus

On Saturday, April 28, 2018, the UCA Department of Mathematics hosted the annual State Mathematics Contest. It  was sponsored by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ACTM).  There were 235 students from high schools across  Arkansas competed in one of six exam categories -Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trig/Pre-Calculus, Calculus and Statistics.  Dr. Charles Watson, Associate Professor of Mathematics, served as the director of the state contest  and was assisted by mathematics faculty members,Dr. Garth Johnson, Dr. Carolyn Pinchback, and Ms. Loi Booher, and graduate student Kayla Waters.  Exams were proctored by the UCA math graduate teaching assistants.

All students participated in the state contest  were top ten finishers in one of the 11 regional contests that were held in colleges and universities across the state on March 5, 2018. All students who placed in top three at the state level were awarded trophies.  Algebra I and Geometry winners received TI-84 calculators and the other contest winners received scholarship awards to a future college of their choice. Awards were presented by Dr. Watson and Ms. Kim Hughes, president of ACTM.


In Memoriam

Dr. Patrick Carmack

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Department of Mathematics is saddened by the unexpected loss of Dr. Patrick Carmack on January 23, 2018.

Dr. Carmack joined UCA in August 2008 as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Over the years, he gained a reputation as a conscientious teacher, friend, colleague and an exceptional mentor for students. He was a very good statistician and an active researcher. Dr. Carmack received funding to develop spatial modeling techniques to have a better interpretation of data from MRI scans of Gulf War veterans.   He played an active role in developing the new data science track in B.S. Mathematics.

Dr. Carmack earned his doctoral degree in statistics in 2004 and a Master of Statistics degree in 2002 from the Southern Methodist University. Also he received a Master of Mathematics degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a B.A. Mathematics degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Carmack was well liked and admired by students, faculty and staff.  He will be greatly missed. A service will be held to honor Dr. Carmack on Saturday, January 27 at 2:00 PM at Bishop-Crites Funeral in Greenbrier.

Dr. Carmack’s obituary may be read  on the Bishop-Crites Funeral Home website at http://bishopg.funeralplan2.com/obituaries/patrick-carmack.aspx

Math Students Presented Posters at A National Math Meetings

Three undergraduate math majors Madison Martin (also majoring in chemistry), Andrea Weaver, and Azaryah Wilson presented research posters at the 2018 Joint Mathematical Meetings (JMM) in San Diego from January 9 – 13. JMM is the largest mathematical meeting in the world. Madison’s poster entitled “Modeling Growth in Polymers.” She was mentored by Dr. Danny Arrigo (Math) and Dr. Rick Tarakka (Chemistry). Azaryah, mentored by Dr. Long Le (Math), presented his poster on “ Population Movement in an Epidemic.” Andrea’s poster was titled “Nonclassical Symmetries of a Power Law Harry Dym Equation” and she was mentored by Dr. Arrigo. All three students received travel funding from the Math Department and the CNSM Dean’s Office. Also, the Department of Chemistry provided travel funds for Madison.


UCA Math Faculty in Cost Rica

UCA faculty members Ms. Loi Booher (Lecturer of Mathematics), Ms. Michelle Buchannan (UCA STEMteach Master Teacher in the Department of Teaching and Learning)  and Dr. Carolyn Pinchback, (Professor of Mathematics)  traveled to Costa Rica in August, 2017 as part of a teaching team with Teachers-2-Teachers Global. T2TGlobal is an organization, which fosters collaboration, community and cultural exchange opportunities for teachers to work together to provide a high quality STEM-based education that transcends borders. The team worked in the primary and secondary schools in a rural town outside of San Ramon, Costa Rica. All three UCA faculty members partnered with local teachers, observed teaching techniques, and provided professional development in science and mathematics. The team enjoyed sharing teaching methods and comparing algorithms with local teachers. This was Mrs. Booher’s third trip with the non-profit company; she helped design the trip to the new location in Costa Rica and served as team leader.



2017 Calculus Tournament

Winning Team

The fourth annual Calculus Tournament was held in the afternoon of November 16, 2017 in the Math Resource Center in the Math and Science Building. The tournament was open to students currently enrolled in either Calculus I , II or III. Seven teams, with a total of 19 students, participated in the contest. The winning team is consisting of Presley Mullins (currently enrolled in Dr. Jeff Beyerl’s Calculus I), Alexia Ramick (enrolled this fall in Dr. Weijiu Liu’s Calculus III), and Anna Wolff (enrolled in Dr. George Bratton’s Calculus II) . Congratulations to all three students.

Dr. Jeff Beyerl organized the tournament. Many mathematics graduate students and faculty members provided support. Each member of the winning team will receive a gift card for $15. Also, the winning team will represent UCA at the Math Jeopardy competition at the OK-AR Sectional Meetings of the American Mathematical Society Spring meetings to be held in April 2018 at the Arkansas Tech University


Teams in Action


2016-17 Math GTA Orientation

A two-day Math Graduate Teaching Assistants Orientation was organized and conducted by Dr. Charles Watson, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Math GTA Supervisor on August 11th and 12th, 2016.    The Department of Mathematics has thirteen GTAs for the AY 2015-16, out of which 11 are pursuing the M.S. Degree in Applied Mathematics and the rest are in the M.A. Mathematics Education. There are seven new GTAs who have joined the department this fall and the others are in their second year. Several topics including lesson planning and assessing student progress, teaching resources, integrating technology and software in the classroom, were discussed. Mrs. Charlotte Strickland, Director of Professional Development, gave a 1- hour presentation on Sexual Harassment training during the orientation. Dr. Ramesh Garimella, Chair of the Math Department and Dr. Joan Simon, Interim Graduate Dean, welcomed the students. Each GTA in the program receives a 9-month stipend of $10,800 and a tuition scholarship of 9 credit hours per semester for the academic year. Inquiries about the graduate programs in Mathematics or financial assistance may be sent to rameshg@uca.edu.

L to R: Front row-Dr. Charles Watson, Innocent B. Sano (MS 1st year), Sarah Spellmann (MS 1st year),Chantelle Giles (MS 1st year), Christina Junkans (MS 1st year),Seth Bloomberg (MS 2nd year),Katie Burden (MA 2nd year), Dr. Ramesh Garimella Back row- Hamed Akkari (MS 1st year, Kayla Waters (MA 1st year), Eddie Gallarno (MS 1st year), Hung Lu (MS 2nd year), Edward Tawiah (MS 2nd year), John Harrelson (MS 2nd year)

L to R: Front row-Dr. Charles Watson, Innocent B. Sano (MS 1st year), Sarah Spellmann (MS 1st year),Chantelle Giles (MS 1st year), Christina Junkans (MS 1st year),Seth Bloomberg (MS 2nd year),Katie Burden (MA 2nd year), Dr. Ramesh Garimella
Back row- Hamed Akkari (MS 1st year, Kayla Waters (MA 1st year), Eddie Gallarno (MS 1st year), Hung Lu (MS 2nd year), Edward Tawiah (MS 2nd year), John Harrelson (MS 2nd year)


Summer 2016 PD Workshops for School Teachers Conducted by Math Faculty


IMG_1048Dr. Long Le, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Dr. James Fetterly, Assistant Professor of Mathematics who specializes in education, conducted professional development workshops for twenty middle and secondary school teachers in central Arkansas between July 11-15, and July 25 – 29, 2016. The workshops were primarily focused on concept and skill development lessons for several topics within Algebra. Among the topics covered were proportionality, quadratic and exponential expressions. In particular, by developing a thorough understanding of the scaffolding involved in each topic, teachers will be able to recognize and assess student’s current level of understanding and provide remediation skills, when necessary. The workshops were part of a $60,699 No Child Left Behind Grant grant project Algebra- Connecting Concepts funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.IMG_1047 Dr. Umadevi Garimella, Director of the UCA STEM Institute is the PI and Dr. Ramesh Garimella, Chair of Math Department, is the co-PI. The main objective of the project is to provide long-term, sustained, and high-quality professional learning opportunities to strengthen teacher content knowledge in algebra.




IMG_1057The UCA STEM Institute in cooperation with the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science offered professional development workshops titled Essentials of Computer Programming: Teacher Training and Support this summer. Attending were six middle and high school teachers planning to teach essential of computer science this upcoming academic year. The workshops were conducted by Dr. R.B. Lenin, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and supported by Mrs. Karen Thessing, Lecturer in Computer Science. This year-long PD is designed to provide teacher training to meet the requirements of Act 187. Training included a week long workshop from July 25 -29, 2016 held in the UCA Department of Mathematics the Computer Lab and ongoing teacher & classroom support via Google Classroom and Google Hangout/Skype. The workshops were focused on Java using Eclipse with an option to continue training during the upcoming academic year in advanced Java concepts. Dr. Uma Garimella, Director of the UCA STEM Institute, organized the event.




 Dr. Nesrin Sahin, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, conducted Connecting Core Instructions (CCI) PD workshops for 25 elementary and middle school teachers in Arkansas on the UCA campus May 14, June 20-22 & July 19-21, 2016. The mathematics part of the PD lasted two hour each day. The topics covered were – understanding and interpreting graphs (qualitative and quantitative interpretation of graphs), types of graphs, linear and exponential growth, linear regression, dependent and independent variables, and probability. Teachers explored these concepts through hands-on activities, and group discussions. This was part of a $146,866 grant titled Connecting Core Instructions for Mathematicians and Scientists, funded by the U.S. Department of Education thorough the state MSP Program. Dr. Umadevi Garimella, Director of the UCA STEM Institute is the PI for the project.



 Dr. James Fetterly, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, conducted PD workshops on June 20-23 and July 21, 2016 for 20 elementary teachers in Arkansas to enhance their content knowledge and teaching skills through development of a vertical team to integrate science, mathematics, literacy, technology, and embrace project-based learning. The workshops were part of a $146,866 grant titled, Excellence in Elementary School Science (ESSS), funded by the U.S. Department of Education thorough Arkansas State MSP Program. Dr. Umadevi Garimella, Director of the UCA STEM Institute is the PI and and Dr. Haihong Hu, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies is the co-PI for the project. The EESS project ‘s goal is to provide long-term sustained high quality professional development, which includes four one-day sessions during the 2015-2016 academic year, two one-week summer institutes, and two classroom visits to observe and/or mentor teachers for a minimum of 100 contact hours. Teachers will develop lesson plans and share via Google Drive.



New Math Faculty for the AY 2016-17

187Dr. Janet Nakarmi joins  the Department of Mathematics as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2016. She was selected from a pool of 35 outstanding statisticians for the position. Originally from Nepal, Dr. Nakarmi is a freshly minted Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Mississippi. She received her M.S. degree in Mathematics in 2013 from the University of Mississippi, and a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Business from Randolph College in Virginia in 2010. Though Dr. Nakarmi’s doctoral dissertation focused on nonparametric statistics, her research interests span over time series analysis, robust statistics, and multivariate and survival analysis. She is expected to play an integral part in the new Data Science track that debuts this fall. A fitness enthusiast, Dr. Nakarmi likes to read books and listen to music in her spare time.