This paper incorporates the Flexible Least Squares (FLS) approach with a free statistical computing and graphics software *R* to estimate the three-factor model developed by He and Reichert in 2003 to trace time variation paths in risk sensitivities of bank stock returns during 1990-2014, one of the most serious financial crises period in the U.S. history. The results of the paper show that interest rate sensitivity of bank stock returns coincides with the dramatic changes in the bond market. It was significantly positive before the 2006 subprime mortgage crisis, reduced to insignificant between 2006 and 2008, and turned into significantly negative between 2008 to 2014. Further, the results of this study found that bank stocks negatively respond to changes in housing prices between1990-1994 and after that the sensitivity turns into significantly positive. The significant shifts in risk sensitivities of banks stock returns coincide alterations in long-term interest rates and monetary policy, especially, the enormously stimulative monetary policy after the financial crisis in 2008.

Ms. Chen is currently pursuing a master’s in statistics at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she plans to complete her Ph.D. in statistics.

]]>

The Department of Mathematics in conjunction with the UCA STEM Institute and the Department of Computer Science offered the

** ****Computer Coding for Beginner**** (June 6 to 10, 2016) **Nineteen 4^{th} to 6^{th} graders from central Arkansas were involved in this program. The participants had lot of fun learning coding concepts and hands-on projects. A coding tool known as *Scratch* was used to build computer games, stories, and much more. Each day the students were introduced to new concepts like lists, variables, loops, blocks and how they are used in real world applications. With this knowledge, students will be able to take it further, extend their skills by practicing more, and moving into further programming languages like Python and Java*.*

* *

**Intermediate Computer Coding (June 13 to 17, 2016). ** Twelve 7^{th} to 10^{th} graders from central Arkansas were involved in this program. Seven of the twelve students participated in the *Computer Coding for Beginners* session in the previous week. Students used Python language to write small pieces of code blocks to accomplish tasks. Each day they were made aware of new concepts, working with data types, variables, loops (nested), function blocks, import modules and practiced them in the classroom. How the above concepts can be used in real world applications was discussed. On the last day, everyone participated in a group quiz and scored 95%. Overall, the participants had positive impressions of the activity.

**Advanced Computer Coding (June 20 – 24, 2016)**: Five high school students participated in this activity. They explored the basics of Java programming with hands-on-projects.

**Exploring Physics (June 6 – 24, 2016):** Fifteen middle and high school students explored how light was related to astrophysics and observational astronomy, and how waves were related to plate tectonics. Also they explored electronics and its application to robotics. Students experienced a fun mixture of hands on activities and demos, and further the students built and programmed a robot for a maze competition during the last week of the camp.

**Algebra for Beginners ( June 6 – July 1, 2016):** Eleven middle school students students worked on problems that covered content from pre-Algebra and Algebra I. This included ratios and proportions, pattern recognition, linear relationships and functions, and exponential functions. Discovery-based learning method was employed for this activity. Students interacted by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments. Several fun an dinteresting problems were pulled from Mark Driscoll’s book *Fostering Algebraic Thinking*. Problems included whether it is more cost effective to take a shower or bath, how far a camera was away from an exploding bridge, and how many times you would need to fold a piece of paper before it reached the moon. Students were encouraged to ask questions, write on boards, made use of manipulatives, and worked either in groups or independently.

**Advanced Algebra (June 6-July 1, 2016):** Six middle school students explored basic algebra skills typically found in a first year college math course. Topics were introduced at a weekly pace beginning with linear functions and equations where students used linear regressions to estimate their heights based on the length of their arm as well as calculating the value of the number pi. During the second week, quadratic functions were introduced along with some introductory physics. Students timed the flight of a ball dropped from varying heights and were able to calculate the velocities and acceleration due to gravity of the ball. General polynomial functions were discussed in the third week. Students were taught how to find relative minimums/maximums, increasing/decreasing intervals, and zeros of various polynomial functions; students constructed boxes to maximize volume. In the final week, inverse functions were introduced along with modular arithmetic. Students used functions and their inverses to encode and decode ciphered message

]]>

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.

]]>**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.

]]>

On April 1^{st }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.

]]>

]]>

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.

]]>