Holy Cross Students Present at Joint Mathematics Meeting in Denver

Students, alumni, and two faculty members posing during dinner at conference
Back row L to R: Emily Devine ’21, Piotr Pogorzelski ’20, John Graf ’20, Xu (Mike) Ding ’21, Emily Winn ’17, and Prof. Gareth Roberts. Front row L to R: Patrycja Przewoznik ’21, Marialena Bevilacqua ’20, Xinyi (Elena) Wang ’21, Prof. David Damiano, Kiara Sanchez ’18, and Dr. Ellen Gasparovic ’06. Not pictured but who were at the dinner before or after the photo was taken are Ligia Flores ’18, Prof. Eric Ruggieri, Dr. Joseph Hibdon Jr. ’04 and Prof. Andrew Uzzell.

Several Holy Cross students and faculty members spent part of their winter break taking part in the annual Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in Denver, CO. The group was part of the 2019 Weiss Summer Research Program, and their research ranged from predicting individual success in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to understanding differences in behavioral synchrony in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Not only did they get to show their findings during the conference, but some were even able to win awards for their presentations.

“Our students have a significant number of opportunities to present on campus,” said Eric Ruggieri, associate professor of Mathematics, “but it’s a whole different experience to present your work to faculty and students across the United States. I also think it’s an eye-opening experience for our students. It’s a huge community of people who are excited to hear what they have to say.”

The undergraduate poster session with over 300 posters
is the highlight of the conference for students. Students are judged based on their presentation, and can win awards depending on their success. Winning an award is not the sole benefit of the competition, however.

“A high point is the judging process itself,” said David Damiano, professor of Mathematics. “It is often the case that judges will suggest possibilities for further research. This is an especially good experience speaking to an audience of students and mathematicians from across the country. Our students invariably give polished and substantive presentations, and the experience is a confidence booster.”

For the students who attended, along with presenting on their own work, the conference was a chance to learn about other research taking place across the country.

“Each day, we would wake up and attend presentations on various topics such as Probability and Statistics, Real and Complex Analysis, and Mathematical Biology,” said Marialena Bevilacqua ’20. “I was given the opportunity to meet and talk with mathematicians and other students from many universities all over the country. This conference opened my eyes to the many opportunities that (studying Mathematics) would afford me in the future.”

“My experience in Denver was exciting and informative,” said Elena Wang ’20. “I was able to see a lot of mathematics that I wouldn’t have been able to learn at Holy Cross in a classroom setting. Being able to go to Denver gave me a taste of what mathematics is like outside of Holy Cross.”

Seven Holy Cross students presented at JMM. Their project titles, as well as any awards won, are listed below.

  1. Marialena Bevilacqua ’20 [Outstanding]
    Title: Predicting Success in the N.B.A.
  2. Emily Devine ’21
    Title: Understanding Behavioral Synchrony:  Differences in Behavioral Synchrony in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder using Functional EEG Networks
  3. Xu (Mike) Ding ‘21
    Title: Simulating the Board Game Risk
  4. John Graf ‘20
    Title: Consecutive Increases Related to the 3x+1 Function
  5. Piotr Pogorzelski ’20 [Honorable Mention]
    Title: Predicting NCAA Basketball Games Using Logistic Regression
  6. Patrycja Przewoznik ’21 [Outstanding]
    Title: Structural analysis of the force chains within communities of particle
  7. Elena Wang ’20 [Honorable Mention]
    Title: Clairaut Surfaces in Euclidean Three-Space

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