Anna Ghazaryan led a math summer program in Barcelona, Spain in 2018
Associate professors Anna Ghazaryan and Vahagn Manukian led Miami students on a summer math program in Barcelona, Spain in 2018. Scroll down to read more about the trip.
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Our faculty come from all over the world and have a strong commitment to both research and teaching.
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From the Chair
Patrick Dowling, Chair
Dear Alumni and Friends:
In this issue of our newsletter, you can read about recent developments in the Department of Mathematics as well as some of the many accomplishments of our students and faculty.
Rather than spoil the surprise by giving a preview of the newsletter contents, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to do something for me. Of particular interest to both current students and faculty is what our former students are doing. So, if you have some time to spare, please drop us a short note telling us what life after Miami is like, how Miami prepared you for this life, and what are your plans for the future. 
We are extremely grateful for the financial contributions we receive from our alumni and friends, but our students also benefit greatly from hearing stories about our alumni and getting a glimpse at what life might have in store for them after graduation.
I wish you well for the holiday season and for the new year. Keep in touch!
Patrick Dowling
Professor and Chair
P.S. For future newsletters, please be sure to share your stories with us. We will feature your updates in our newsletter's "Alumni Spotlight" section.

Bob Krueger
Student News
Bob Krueger, a senior in mathematics and physics, has won three major awards:
Two Ph.D. students Beka Ergemlidze and Abhishek Methuku (pictured, right) from Central European University of Hungary visited the combinatorics group of the mathematics department for the month of September and worked with Dr. Tao Jiang. Their visit was supported by a CEU grant.
The 46th Annual Mathematics Conference and Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference was held September 21-22 at Miami University. Miami students Kevin Corotis, Robert Garrett, and Zac States gave talks at the conference.
In the 2017 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, Miami's team ranked 45th out of the 575 institutions in the U.S. and Canada that had a team of three students. Miami's team members were Bob Krueger, Ruilin Shi, and Nathaniel Coffin. Bob led that year's team with a score that ranked him in the top 500 out of 4164 contestants.
Bob Krueger returns as part of the December 2018 Miami team, with new teammates Orion Koleva and Dezhou Chen. Bob is participating from Hungary, at the prestigious Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program, the only program outside the U.S. and Canada at which Putnam competitors are allowed to participate!
Summer in Barcelona
Summer in Barcelona
During Summer 2018 Miami students had an opportunity to participate in the study abroad program Math in Barcelona. The program lasted five weeks and offered two 400 level classes: and MTH435 (Math Modeling Seminar) and MTH411 (Foundations of Geometry), taught by Miami faculty Anna Ghazaryan and Vahagn Manukian.
During the program students visited many of the Barcelona’s historic and cultural sites, such as Gothic Quarter, the Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batllo. There were several day and weekend trips incorporated into the program. For example, we went to the famous Principe Felipe Science Museum of Valencia, visited the breathtaking mountain top monastery Montserrat and Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres, roamed the streets of medieval Besalú, explored the Roman amphitheater in the ancient fortress Tarragona and enjoyed the historic center of Girona recently used as a film set for Game of Thrones.
An unforgettable hands-on experience was a cooking class for a Catalan and Spanish meal that consisted of four courses. Students learned secrets of a perfect watermelon and tomato gazpacho, practiced flipping a potato tortilla in a hot pan, cooked a Valencian paella in a huge paella pan, and used a torch to put finishing touches on desert of Crema Catalana.
During this trip students learned about Spanish culture and history, and observed how mathematics, architecture, and art are interlaced with each other, on the examples that included works of medieval architecture, fantastic buildings of Gaudi, and artistic masterpieces of Dalí.
Faculty News
  • Sarah Watt, Wayne Nirode and Dana Cox received an Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grant from the College of Education Health and Society. The project was called Towards Equity in Mathematics: Understanding the intersection between mathematics and special education. In order to better understand the challenges faced by students with disabilities in the mathematics classroom, we interviewed local special education administrators about how they have worked to improve access for all students and surveyed Ohio mathematics teachers and intervention specialists about their collaborations. The data is currently being analyzed and we expect to publish our findings this spring.
  • As a part of the renewed 2018-2023 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for the Ohio LSAMP Alliance (the total amount of the award is $900,000), Miami University will be leading a curriculum development project that targets students in science disciplines (primarily physics, chemistry, and biology). Dr. Olga Brezhneva will be leading this statewide initiative by developing and teaching a Mathematics for STEM applications course at Miami University. Such a course will instill students with knowledge, interest and motivation for studying the full range of mathematics and science courses required by their major. The project is motivated by the successful Mathematics for Engineering Applications course that was created at the Wright State university and was subsequently adopted at a variety of other universities. 
  • Paul Larson received a 3-year National Science Foundation research grant on the project entitled “Large cardinals, small sets and absoluteness” for 2018-2021.
  • Alim Sukhtayev was one of the six participants in a focused research group workshop at Banff International Research Station in Canada on “Stability Indices for Nonlinear Waves and Patterns in Many Space Dimensions” in June 2018.
  • Anna Ghazaryan was elected the secretary of the SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems, for a two-year term 1/1/17/-12/31/18. The group is the second largest among SIAM activity groups, with around 1200 members. Relating to this role, Ghazaryan is currently the editor-in-chief of the Dynamics System Web online magazine.
  • Banff International Research Station in Canada approved a research in teams proposal by Anna Ghazaryan (Miami) and Stephane Lafortune (College of Charleston) on “Stability of Multidimensional Waves.” This research in teams workshop will take place in June 2019.
Student Spotlight: Bob Krueger
Bob Krueger in Budapest
Bob Krueger in Budapest, Hungary
"Egy jó kérdéseket szeretem!"
I adopted this motto for the past semester. It says, in Hungarian, "I like a good problem!" I spent the fall semester of 2018 in the heart of Hungary with Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, a study abroad program for Canadian and US students. The classes are taught in English by Hungarian professors and researchers, with close proximity to the Rényi Institute and the handful of Budapest universities. Classes were offered on a variety of advanced subjects. I continued with my interest in discrete mathematics by learning some hypergraph theory from András Gyárfás and geometric graph theory from László Lovász. It was a great experience to meet and learn from these and other famous researchers.
I also attended a unique class named "Conjecture and Proof," in which we solved interesting problems with advanced tools. Also exemplifying the above motto was a complementary class to Conjecture and Proof: Discovery Learning. This is a class offered by BSM's sister program for math education majors. In class, we experienced the method spearheaded in Hungary by Lajos Pósa -- we solved high school level problems and discussed using them in the classroom. For example, does there exist a Fibonacci number which ends in 100 digits of 9? I will be returning to Miami with many interesting problems like this one, sharing them with first year students and professors alike.
In addition to classes, colloquia, and traveling, I also participated in an undergraduate research group lead by András Gyárfás. We found some interesting results about a hypergraph Ramsey problem, and will be prepared to submit a paper to a journal soon. This is not the first paper I have coauthored with Gyárfás before however -- the previous semester, Louis DeBiasio and I worked with him and his collaborators on another Ramsey problem. It was a special experience to finally meet and work with Gyárfás in person.
    Rob Seiver
    MTH Alumni Spotlight: Rob Seiver
    I am a twice-over alumnus of Miami. After getting a BSc in Math, I worked for a year as a bank teller and then returned to Miami for the two year math MSc program. I stayed on as an instructor for a few years, but I then moved on to the UK, teaching secondary school math for a year. After that, I felt that I wanted to move on from teaching, so I got a second MSc, this one from King's College London in Financial Mathematics. This degree led to a job in finance, which I have now had for the last three years.
    I work as a risk manager for a London wealth management firm. My role sees me using a lot of probability and statistics, as well as stochastic calculus. I create and hone models, as well as calculating the various risk metrics that we monitor. Recently, I have been getting more involved in the investment decisions and look forward to further expanding my role as I continue in my career.
    Please share your stories with us. We will feature your updates in our newsletter's "Alumni Spotlight" section.
    MTH Meetings and Conferences
    MAA Meeting in the Spring
    On April 6-7, 2018, the Department of Mathematics hosted the 2018 Spring Meeting of the Ohio Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). It was the first time since 2005 that Miami had hosted an MAA sectional meeting.
    Miami's Olga Brezhneva gave one of the hour-long invited addresses at the meeting. Her talk was entitled, "The Power of the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker Theorem and an Introduction to Optimization Theory."
    Miami Middletown faculty member Pubudu K. Hitigala Kaluarachchilage gave a 15-minute contributed talk entitled, "Nonhomogeneous Risk Rank Analysis Method for Security Network System."
    The meeting included an undergraduate problem-solving competition, with teams from a number of Ohio colleges participating. Miami's team of Nathaniel Coffin and Orion Koleva took first place in the competition.
    GPOTS participants
    GPOTS Report
    The 38th Great Plains Operator Theory Symposium (GPOTS) was held at Miami University this year on May 29-June 2, 2018. The international conference is the largest annual operator algebras/theory conference in the world and takes place at different universities across the United States.
    This year, GPOTS was organized by Miami faculty Caleb Eckhardt, Paul McKenney, and Narcisse Randrianatoanina and supported by the National Science Foundation and the mathematics department at Miami University. 126 participants joined the conference from the US and abroad.
    Next year, GPOTS will take place at Texas A&M University.
    Fall Conference
    Fall Conference
    On September 21 and 22, 2018, the Miami University Department of Mathematics hosted their 46th Annual Fall Math Conference. The theme this year was Making Mathematics Visible.
    Featured speakers were George Hart and Elisabeth Heathfield from Stony Brook University and Steve Phelps of Madeira High School. The organizers were Dana Cox, Suzanne Harper, Jane Keiser, and Wayne Nirode.
    Midwest Optimization Conference
    The 2018 Midwest Optimization Meeting was held at Miami's Department of Mathematics on October 12-13, 2018. 29 faculty and Ph.D. students from different universities in the United States and Canada participated in this meeting.
    The meeting focused mainly on the theoretical aspects of optimization, including nonsmooth and convex analysis, stochastic optimization, parametric optimization, and control theory. The Plenary speakers of the meeting consisted of Heinz Bauschke (University of British Columbia), Boris Mordukhovich (Wayne State University}, Alexander Shapiro (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Jane Ye (University of Victoria).
    There were also 16 contributed talks, delivered by faculty and Ph.D. students. The organizers were Olga Brezhneva, M. Ebrahim Sarabi, Douglas Ward, and Stephen E. Wright. The organizers greatly appreciate the enormous help from Linda M. Ferriell.
    Career Night Report
    The Math and Stats Departments held their annual Alumni Career Panel on November 1. The panelists were:
    • Tracey Bracke (Statistician, Certified Quality Engineer)
    • Justin Hillier (Director of Analytics, dunnhumby)
    • Dennis Keeler (Assoc. Professor, Miami University)
    • Robin LaPrete (VP Actuarial Services, American Modern Insurance Group)
    • Rachael Gilbert Runyan (Sr. Biostatistician, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services)
    • Brian Sampsel (VP, Chief Analytics Innovator, Columbus Collaboratory)
    • AJ Tatro (Actuarial Analyst, Allstate Insurance Co
    Around 70 students attended the event. After a pizza dinner, panelists introduced themselves, then took questions from moderator Beth Zink (Career Services) and students.
    The most common advice was to take a variety of courses, both within mathematics and statistics, and outside of them. Several panelists stressed the importance of developing communication and leadership skills.
    In later feedback, students expressed appreciation for the wide-ranged advices received. They also expressed appreciation for the variety of jobs and ages represented in the panel, which included graduates from 1991 to 2017.
    The Departments thank Dr. Olga Brezhneva and Career Services for organizing the event. Please contact Olga if you would like to participate.
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    Editors: Caleb Eckhardt, Tetsuya Ishiu, and Tao Jiang
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