CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, POMONA
Volume 08/09 Issue 1
Mathematics and Statistics
• Visit the website for the
• We are online at
http://ww.csupomona.edu/ Professors and Faculty Win Awards
THE BOEING COMPANY
The Department of Mathe-
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE
matics and Statistics is happy
to celebrate awards and hon- SCHOLARSHIP
ors that have come to Mr. Ben Dr. Michael Green, chair of
Miller, Dr. Amber Rosin and the department, has just an-
Dr. Randall Swift. All three nounced up to three Boeing
were presented with an award Scholarships will be avail-
for teaching excellence at the able to minority women who
graduation ceremonies for the
Inside this are majors in the Depart-
College of Science. ment of Mathematics and
issue: Statistics. The award, in the
Dr. Rosin was further hon-
An Alumni Interview 2 amount of $1000, is for jun-
ored with one of the Out- Dr. Amber Rosin wins two prestig-
with Noelle Sio ior and senior status stu-
standing Academic Advisor ious awards dents who demonstrate aca-
There and Back Again 3 Awards. The award recognizes demic excellence by earning
A Mathematician and faculty and staff members who are each chosen by faculty,
a 3.0 or higher GPA. For
his family’s Odyssey excel in helping students reach staff and students from
“Down Under” more information please
their potential. The awardees their college or division.
contact the department.
Christopher Phillips: 4
My REU Experience
Project NExT Faculty at MathFest
Student News: 5 Project NExT (New Experiences in Congratulations to Phil
Scholarship awards, Teaching) is a professional devel- Yates, Christine
KME, and Putnam opment program of the MAA Latulippe, Joe Latulippe
Competition (Mathematical Association of and Robin Wilson on
America) for new or recent Ph.D.s joining Ioana Mihaila
in the mathematical sciences. It (’96), Jenny Switkes
The Gift of Numbers 5
addresses all aspects of an aca- (’01), Berit Givens (’03),
is Coming to Kingsley demic career: improving the teach- Amber Rosin (’03), and
School ing and learning of mathematics, Brent Deschamp (’06) as
engaging in research and scholar- Cal Poly Pomona Pro-
Colloquium Series and 6 ship, and participating in profes- ject NExT Fellows!
Dept. Notes sional activities. It also provides
the participants with a network of Pictured at MathFest 2008 in Phil Yates, Christine Latulippe,
Upcoming Meetings: 6 Madison, WI: Joe Latulippe and Robin Wilson
peers and mentors as they assume
MAA/AMS and CMC these responsibilities.
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Page 2 Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Alum is now a Research Analyst at Fox Media
Could you tell us a little FOX and is the parent company and a weekly Journal Club at
about yourself? of websites such as work.) The work is challenging,
- I grew up in Montclair, CA Myspace.com, Photo- but I love it!
but did my undergraduate bucket.com, AmericanIdol.com,
work at Washington Univer- etc. I work within a team called What kinds of mathematics do
sity in St. Louis and attended the Solutions Group which is you use in your work?
graduate school in Staunton, the research and applied science - FIM has one of the largest data-
Virginia for teaching before group. Using various engineer- bases in the world -- currently we
Noelle Sio, Class of coming back to southern Cali- ing techniques, they analyze the have a petabyte of data. (That's
2008 fornia for my Masters in Ap- data coming from the websites 1000 terabytes!) Coming from a
plied Math. I am a self- about users, usage, behaviors, mathematical background, and
Interview by Dr. Jenny Switkes
proclaimed math nerd, tell etc. The company, in turn, uses linear algebra in particular, has
really bad jokes, appreciate the the results to make business helped me in learning how to navi-
“It's part of the job little things, and have a habit decisions. gate through a relational database
of overbooking my life. with trillions of data points. I've
What is it like working in in- used statistical tests for relevancy,
to be the resident go- dustry as a mathematician? principle components analysis and
How did you end up becom- will be using time series analysis.
to person for ing a mathematician? - As one of the few mathemati- I've used SQL (a database pro-
- I have loved numbers since I cians working in the company, I gram) and R (an open source statis-
was very young. I would de- find myself working with people tical software).
mathematical vour number puzzles, and my from every department in addi-
dad would teach me "magic tion to my own. It's part of the What do you like to do when you
questions” tricks" like generating Pascal's job to be the resident go-to per- are not doing mathematics?
triangle or the Fibonacci num- son for mathematical questions - Do puzzles count as mathematics?
bers. Although my childhood (e.g., Is this data significant, I enjoy eating all kinds of food,
dream was to become a doctor, what does this data mean, how reading, and spending time with
The Newsletter Commit- it was when I was an under- do we study trends over time?). my friends and family. I love sight-
graduate that I realized math Working in a corporate environ- seeing, traveling, learning new
tee welcomes news from was actually my true calling. I ment is both similar and differ- things, trivia, and I used to dance
our alums. Please contact went into teaching for a few ent to being a student. I am with a Filipino dance troupe.
years, but decided that I constantly learning new skills
committee members for
missed the challenge of com- and techniques. The projects are Do you have advice you would
information on how to be plex problems. That's when I generally on a much larger scale, like to give current Cal Poly
included in upcoming decided to pursue my M.S. at but no one actually knows the Pomona mathematics students?
Cal Poly Pomona, and found a answers ahead of time. - Be daring in all that you do.
issues! job in industry. Don't be afraid of taking risks --
At any given time, I am working I've probably learned more from
Dr. Laurie Riggs What are your favorite areas on 2-5 projects with different failing spectacularly than doing
Lriggs@csupomona.edu of mathematics? Why? requirements and deadlines. For things correctly the first time.
- Modeling and PDEs. Simply these projects I am usually pull-
Dr. Christine Latulippe put, I find the problems in ing data from a database and
those subjects the most inter- providing analysis to the team. As far as career advice? There is a
Cllatulippe@csupomona.edu esting and beautiful. In the In between working on my pro- growing need for people who can
pure world, Abstract Algebra is jects I field questions as men- think mathematically in the indus-
Dr. Jennifer Switkes my favorite for the same rea- tioned above, as well as provide try. Try to find an internship while
Jmswitkes@csupomona.edu son. data in support of other Solu- you're in school to get some experi-
tions Group projects. I also at- ence under your belt and get a feel
Can you describe your job? tend meetings pertaining to the for the opportunities available to
- Officially, I am a Research projects with which I am in- you.
Analyst at Fox Interactive Me- volved, in addition to training.
dia. FIM is the Internet arm of (I've attended a few conferences,
Volume 08/09 Issue 1
visitors program, which provides accommodation and Our accommodations were a comfortable three
There and Back Again living stipends for visiting fellows. bedroom house on campus; this home, built in
1913, is Heritage Listed and has been beautifully
A Mathematician and his family’s Odyssey My initial visit to the ANU in September, 2005 restored. What a perfect place for a family of six
“Down Under” began the most fruitful collaboration of my career. to live! This house, at 8 Liversidge Street, is the
That initial visit laid the groundwork for Joe and me last of the remaining cottages that the university
By Randall Swift
to continue to collaborate “across the Pacific”. Dur- uses for visitors.
My research interests are wide and varied ing that first year, we jointly wrote and published
but have always centered upon aspects of several papers. I returned again to the ANU during The family on the 2nd day at 8 Liversidge
probability theory. In recent years I have August & September of 2006 and it was at that time
been studying stochastic modeling of bio- Joe and I began to make plans for me to return for an
logical processes, particularly mathematical extended visit. I was eligible for a Sabbatical leave
epidemiology – the mathematical study of from the Cal Poly Pomona during the 2007-08 aca-
the spread of disease. demic year.
In 1985, I was enrolled in a graduate Bronwen Whiting, one of the faculty members of
course on applied stochastic processes at the School of Finance and Applied Statistics at the
U.C. Santa Barbara. The professor for the ANU was planning a maternity leave, so it was my
course was Dr. Joe Gani; his beautiful lec- good fortune to be offered two courses by Professor
tures on applied probability were simultane- Terry O'Neill, Head of the school. In return for my
ously stimulating and deeply profound. The lecture duties, the ANU would fly my wife, myself
effects of that course still influence me
today. I left Santa Barbara with my M.A. in “What a rare and wonderful
mathematics, later to obtain my PhD in
mathematics, studying abstract probability, Once we settled into our new home in Can-
at U.C. Riverside in 1992.
opportunity!” berra, life began its usual routine. Australians are
warm and inviting and we soon grew accustomed
My interests in applications of mathemat- and our four children to Australia, as well as provide to life there. My oldest daughter, Kaelin, at-
ics have always directed my studies and in us with living accommodations and a stipend. What tended Campbell High School. She would have
1999, I wrote a small article on the effect of a rare and wonderful opportunity! To be able to take me report here that her experience there was
random catastrophes on populations. After my family “Down Under” to live and work for an “the best” and that “Australian teenagers are
searching through the various journals, I extended period was the chance of a lifetime. more sincere and caring then their American
found that The Mathematical Scientist had counterparts”. She remains in contact with many
published several articles in related areas. After much planning, we departed the States on of the “mates” she made there. All members of
As fate would have it, Joe Gani is the editor June 25th, 2007 traveling via Fiji for Canberra, Aus- the faculty, particularly Terry O'Neill
of this journal. My submission of this arti- tralia. The initial part of our trip was purely a holiday and Michael Martin, made me very welcome in
cle to The Mathematical Scientist 25 (2000) in Fiji. I knew that once we were in Australia life the School of Finance and Applied Statistics.
32-36 began a renewed friendship. Joe, who would resume its busy pace, even though we were in
by then had retired from U.C. Santa Bar- another country. The ANU offered us many opportunities.
bara and returned to Australia, and I began Robyn, my second oldest daughter, studied flute
to correspond. We regularly exchanged with a world class flutist, Lina Andonovska (19
emails about life, politics, mathematics, years old), an internationally recognized per-
and, especially, jokes. Over the years, our former who has just completed her honours
friendship grew. Although I had not seen degree in music at the ANU.
him since 1987, it was clear Joe and I had
During our stay, I lectured two courses at the
many common interests. He was always
ANU. One large section (> 300 students) of
keenly interested in hearing of my children
elementary statistics and one section on market-
and their accomplishments. ing research methods, a tough course for a
In late 2004, Joe invited me to visit him at mathematician to teach to business students!
the Australian National University (ANU). Needless to say, I learned a lot.
Joe is a member of the Stochastic Analysis
The family flourished while we were there; we
Group of the Centre for Mathematics and
took every opportunity to travel and visit sites.
Applications at the ANU. The ANU is the
As the nation’s capital, Canberra always has
premier research university in Australia,
On the tarmac on Christmas Island “something on” – from museums, to art galleries,
recently rated 16th in the world ranking of
to concerts and plays. We were always busy lo-
universities in the Times Higher Education
We arrived in Canberra on the 3rd of July and quickly cally. We visited everything the Capital had to
survey, and is located in Canberra, the
discovered just how cold it is at this time of the year offer, from the National Museum to the War
capital of the country. The University is
in Australia. It was 3°C, and we had just come from Memorial and Bungendore, an idyllic “bogandy”
partly patterned after the Oxford and Cam-
Fiji and, before that, Southern California! community. (continued on page 4)
bridge style of education and has a vibrant
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Page 4 Cal Poly Pomona
My REU Experience: A Look Back but also culturally. During the in the program.
program, I investigated the proper-
By Christopher Phillips ties of Reaction-Diffusion systems with a part- I view my REU experiences as a
ner, and attempted to simulate many of these fundamental asset of my undergraduate edu-
During the last two summers, I had systems using the ample computing resources cation, for they gave me the opportunity to
the great privilege of participating in two mathe- available. I also had an amazing time as a apply the mathematical knowledge acquired
matical research programs that significantly visitor in in the classroom to exciting real-world prob-
broadened my educational scope as a student. “I view my REU another lems. As such, I am very grateful for all of the
assistance provided by the Cal Poly Pomona
These programs, called REUs (which stands for culture: we,
“Research Experience for Undergraduates”) give as partici- faculty in recommending me for such pro-
motivated undergraduates a chance to partici- experiences as a pants, had grams; a very special thanks goes out to Jenny
pate in actual research at major universities na- many op- Switkes, who helped me enormously in ap-
tionwide, where all expenses are paid by the plying to both programs. Overall, I would
university and stipends are very generous. After fundamental asset of portunities to venture highly recommend that other science under-
choosing a research topic at the beginnings of out into the graduates explore the opportunities provided
both programs, I was set loose with a partner to by REUs, for the overall experience offered
generate a significant amount of research to
my undergraduate city and beyond, by these programs is unmatched at the un-
present by the program’s end. and there dergraduate level.
The first REU I participated in was the seemed to For more information about the REU pro-
US-HK REU, which took place during the sum- be something new or exciting to be discovered grams supported by the National Science
mer of 2006. The program was organized by Dr every day. Lastly, I met some amazing people Foundation please visit their website:
Graeme Fairweather of the Colorado School of in the program: being surrounded by so many
Mines, but was actually located overseas in Hong like-minded individuals is bound to create a http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/
Kong. I had never before been more than 500 great working atmosphere, and I even met reu_search.cfm
miles away from my hometown of Fresno, CA, one of my current best friends, Ely Spears of
so naturally this program gave me a fantastic MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, while participating
opportunity not only to develop mathematically,
There and Back Again continued from page 3 come ashore. ten and published several more papers. In
September 2008, I made my fourth trip
The time I have spent working and studying to the ANU to work with Joe. In sum-
We visited Sydney and its glorious harbour and
with Joe Gani has been brilliant. I have mary, I feel very lucky indeed to have had
beaches several times. The Darling Harbour, with its learned so much from our collaborations. this opportunity of connecting with Aus-
Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Rocks at During our stay, Joe and I wrote and pub- tralia and my many Australian colleagues.
Circular Quay, are all spectacular. lished eight papers on such diverse topics as I cannot wait to go back “Down Under”
modeling the spread of a carrier-borne epi- again
demic, the common cold, and polymer chain
reactions of enzymes. Additionally, Joe and I
finished editing a volume of collected papers
on applied probability for J. Statist. Theor.
Practice Vol. 2(2) 2008.
Joe has been a mentor and collaborator for
me, but more importantly, he has enjoyed the
role of being the children’s “Australian grand-
father”. They truly adore him and his com-
All things must come to pass and our time in
Australia ended all too quickly. We left Can-
Our travels in Australia also took us to Melbourne, berra on the 6th of January, 2008 and traveled Professor Joe Gani
home via New Zealand.
which is in the state of Victoria. Melbourne is a .
beautiful city with much Victorian-era architecture. We have returned from our journey, but its
It has more of a cultural appeal, though its location memory and our experiences linger on within
us. I continue to collaborate with Joe. Since
is not as splendid as Sydney’s. We spent a lovely
the family and I returned, Joe and I have writ-
evening on Phillip Island watching Fairy penguins
Volume 08/09 Issue 1
Gift of Numbers Coming to Kingsley Elementary
By Christine Latulippe
Each Quarter, Cal Poly Math Educa-
tors and the students in MAT 194,
394, 395 and 494 host the Gift of
Numbers at a local elementary school.
The Gift of Numbers is an early field
experience for Cal Poly students, and
a family math event for the commu-
nity. This quarter’s Gift of Numbers
will take place on Thursday, Novem-
ber 6 from 6—7pm at Kingsley Ele- Elementary Students Learning
Student Designed Math Activity mentary School in Pomona. Math with Cal Poly Students
This year's William Lowell Putnam
Students receive scholarships Competition will take place on Satur- Announcement!
day December 6th. This competition
The following stu‐ is designed for mathematics and physi-
dents are the re‐ Dr. Chris Mun
cal science majors in colleges and
cipients of this universities, and tests originality as
year's Departmental well as technical competence in prob- announces the dates
Scholarships for lem solving. The Putnam Competi-
academic achieve‐ tion is organized by the Mathematical for the new seminar
Association of America and involves
tions on a job well
participants from through the United course STA 599 for
States and Canada.
Cal Poly Pomona currently has over
SAS that is open to
Melissa Bilbao ‐ Friedman Scholarship 15 students registered to compete.
Hernan Oscco ‐ Gendelman Scholarship The Department of Mathematics and graduate students and
Adrienne Spina ‐ Herzog Scholarship Statistics will be holding practice ses-
Ken Shun ‐ Bogue Scholarship sions on Friday Nov. 7 and Friday undergrads with
Ke Wu ‐ Gendelman Scholarship Nov. 21 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in
room 3-1623. See Dr. Berit Givens, instructor consent.
Dr. Joe Latulippe or Dr. Phil Yates if
KME at Cal Poly you have any questions.
Classes are MWF
What is KME? during University Hour (12-1pm). Our next meeting will
be on November 13. Visit our website for more details
1-3pm from Jan. 9th to
Kappa Mu Epsilon or KME is Cal Poly Pomona’s and information about upcoming events
mathematics club and national mathematics Jan 30th. Contact Dr.
honor society. KME focuses on the appreciation http://www.csupomona.edu/~kme
of mathematics among undergraduates. KME Mun for additional
serves as a resource for students who are inter- KME Officers for 2008-2009 School Year:
ested in mathematics and becoming more in- President: Hernan Oscco
volved in the mathematical community. Stu- Vice President: Mariano Arellano
dents have the opportunity to participate in na- Treasurer: Ben Moreno
tionally recognized competitions, social activities Secretary: Irvin Lucero JMun@csupomona.edu
and community service events. All majors are Social Activities Chair: Brittany Camp
Webmaster: Forrest Requarth (no homework, no exam)
Science Council Reps:
Meetings take place twice a month on Thursday
CMC South Fall Conference November 7 & 8
The California Mathematics Council – South (CMC) is hosting their
January 5th—8th 2009 49th Annual Fall Conference in Palm Springs on November 7 and 8.
Washington, DC This year’s conference theme is “Envisioning Mathematics for All:
Of Interest to Students: Powerful Programs, Effective Practices, and Proficient Students”.
Career Options for Undergraduate Mathematics
Majors, Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.. There is CMC is the regional affiliate if the National Council of Teachers of
a vast amount of options available for students in
today's global market. A degree in mathematics Mathematics (NCTM), and is committed to mathematically compe-
continues to be a desirable asset, yet a common tent and confident students and excellence in the teaching of mathe-
question for students to ask is "what options are matics. This is an exciting (local!) conference to attend, and if you get
available for someone with a math degree?" This
panel showcases several options for career paths for
there early on Friday morning, you can participate in a session by our
students with an undergraduate degree in mathe- own Dr. Christine Latulippe.
For directions and registration information, visit http://www.cmc-
Grad School Fair, math.org/PS
a.m to 10:00 a.m.
Here is the oppor-
tunity for under- Department Notes:
grads to meet rep-
mathematical sci- • After faithfully serving as statistics coordinator for the past 11
ences graduate years Dr. Kamta Rai has stepped down. We thank him for his
service and welcome Dr. Hoon Kim who has taken on the position.
universities all over the country. January is a great
time for juniors to learn more, and college seniors
may still be able to refine their search. This is your •Congratulations to Dr. Christine Latulippe who has been selected to be the
chance for one-stop shopping in the graduate school new single subject advisor. She takes over from Dr. Carol Smith who has
market. Complimentary coffee will be served. Co-
sponsored by the AMS and MAA recently announced her retirement.
We are pleased to announce our On Oct .31, Dr. Daryl Daley, Please address any colloquium-
Fall lineup of talks in our Depart- Center for Mathematics and Ap- related questions to the de-
ment Colloquium Series: plications, Australian National partment colloquium commit-
University, spoke on “What is So
tee (Dr. Joe Latulippe, Dr.
• On Oct. 9, Dr. Dragomir Saric Special about a Point Process?”
Hubertus von Bremen, or Dr.
of SUNY Stony Brook, NY Jenny Switkes).
spoke on “The Mapping Class Upcoming talks for the re-
Group Cannot Be Realized by mainder of the Fall Quarter
Homeomorphisms.” are: All department colloquia will
Rene Descartes • Our own undergraduate Mathe-
be held in room 3-1616
• Nov. 6: Konrad Aguilar, Cal
(Building 3) from 12:05-12:50
matics major Melissa Bilbao Poly Pomona, on “Pricing
spoke on Oct. 23 on “The Ef- p.m., unless announced other-
Call Options Under the
fects of Maternal Age on the Binomial Model.”
“With me every- Prevalence of Autism,” describ-
ing work she did at a Research Refreshments will be served at
• Nov. 20: Dr. Chris Mun,
thing turns into Experience for Undergraduate
program this past summer at
Cal Poly Pomona (title com- 12:00 noon. We encourage all
ing soon). to come!
mathematics” Arizona State University
• Dec. 4: Dr. Dagan Karp,
Harvey Mudd College, on
“An Introduction to Quan-