Department News
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Student Prizes for 2019

Every year, the department awards several academic prizes to students. This year's prize recipients were:
  • The Robert Beinert Prize, awarded to a a graduating Senior for excellence in Mathematics, to Qingyi Lu.
  • The John S. Klein Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Computer Science, to Erika Cardenas and Camera Finn.
  • The Catherine Adele Rippey '35 Prize, awarded to a William Smith Senior to recognize excellence in Mathematics, to Qingyi Lu.
  • The Glenn M. Lee Prize, awarded to the Hobart Senior who has been most proficient in mathematics and athletics, to Russell Merchant.
  • The Abigail Mosey Book Prize, awarded to a Hobart or William Smith Senior for generosity in helping others to learn and appreciate mathematical ideas, to Read Bohanan, Taylor Mancini, and Joon (Philip) Yoo.
  • The William Ross Proctor Prize, awarded to the William Smith Sophomore who has achieved the highest rank in mathematics in her first two years at the Colleges, to Alexandra Low, Connor Parrow, and Margaret Wagner.
  • The Irving Bentsen Prize, awarded to the second year student at Hobart College who has the most outstanding record in mathematics and computer science, to Collin Urie.

Posted 8 May 2019

Qingyi Lu Completes Honors Project

Qingyi Lu WS'19, a double major in mathematics and computer science, has completed an Honors project, "Machine Learning for Phylogenomics: Improving Statistical Binning Techniques for Species Tree Reconstruction." The project was mentored by Professor Joseph Rusinko.

An Honors project is a year-long independent project, usually undertaken in a student's senior year, culminating in substantial Honors theses and an oral examination by a panel of three examiners. Lu's project looked for ways of improving classification of organisms into phylogenetic trees. According to her abstract, "Phylogenetics studies the evolutionary history among a set of individuals, genes or species, which plays an important role in biology. Because past evolutionary events cannot be directly observed, statistical models are needed to estimate the phylogenetic trees. Consequently, accurate estimations of phylogenetic trees could provide effective evidence for studies in biology." In the project, Lu approached the problem by implementing "four machine learning techniques (K-Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machine, Random Forest and Neural Network)."


Posted 7 May 2019

Hamdan Ahmed '20 Named Newman Civic Fellow

Computer Science major Hamdan Ahmed (Hobart '20) was named Newman Civic Fellow in March. This fellowship honors students who have worked to solve problems facing their community. Hamdan is one of only 262 students to receive this honor for 2019–20.

According to the HWS web site: "The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth for students who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership and an investment in solving public problems. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also affords fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities."

Posted 1 May 2019

Math Intern for 2018–19

Drew Scammell will be the math intern for the academic year 2018–2019. Drew is a 2018 graduate of Hobart College with majors in Mathematics, Physics, and Dance. He was the recipient of the Beinert Prize, which is awarded annually to a graduating Hobart or William Smith student for excellence in Mathematics.

As math intern, Drew will be available to offer help to students in Calculus and Pre-calculus courses.


Posted 28 August 2018

Faculty Changes for 2018–19

The Department welcomes two new Visiting Assistant Professors of Mathematics for the 2018–19 academic year. Professor Cristobal Lemus-Vidales, shown on the left below, received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 2017. His research interests are in the area of Enumerative Combinatorics and Mathematics Education. Professor William Simmons, shown on the right below, received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. His research interests include mathematical logic and its applications, differential algebra, formal methods and interactive theorem proving in computer science.

In other faculty news, Professor Alden Gassert continues as a Visiting Professor of Mathematics for a second year. Professor Yan Hao is on leave for the year, and Professor Jocelyn Bell is on leave for the Fall semester. Professor Joseph Rusinko will be spending the year as Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Affairs.

Posted 9 August 2018

Department Student Prizes for 2018

At the end of each academic year, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science awards a number of student prizes for academic excellence in mathematics or computer science. The prizes for 2018 were as follows:
  • The Robert Beinert Prize, awarded to a a graduating Senior for excellence in Mathematics, Drew Scammell.
  • The John S. Klein Prize, awarded to a graduating Senior to recognize excellence in Computer Science, to Jacque Kane.
  • The Catherine Adele Rippey '35 Prize, awarded to a William Smith Senior to recognize excellence in Mathematics, to Jacque Kane and Theresa Lohr.
  • The Glenn M. Lee Prize, awarded to the Hobart Senior who has been most proficient in mathematics and athletics, to Lukas Ruddy.
  • The Abigail Mosey Book Prize, awarded to a Hobart or William Smith Senior for generosity in helping others to learn and appreciate mathematical ideas, to Wenshi Wang.
  • The William Ross Proctor Prize, awarded to the William Smith Sophomore who has achieved the highest rank in mathematics in her first two years at the Colleges, to Kaitlyn Geraghty and Kelsey Pierce.
  • The Irving Bentsen Prize, awarded to the second year student at Hobart College who has the most outstanding record in mathematics and computer science, to Jesse Maltese and Hugh (Nick) McKenny.

In addition to these prizes, we note that Frank Oplinger completed his Honors project in Computer Science, entitled "ScoutPlus: A Web Application for the Development of Advanced Hockey Analytics".

And two senior Mathematics minors were inducted into the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa: Lauren Kogelman and Mitchell Hutteman.

For more about student prizes in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, including lists of past recipients, visit our department prizes page.

Posted 17 May 2018

Mathematical Phylogenetics Scholars

In June of 2016, HWS was awarded a three year $180,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support research in Mathematical Phylogenomics. This grant made HWS one of only six institutions to receive funding for Mathematical Biology under the Research at Undergraduate Institutions designation.

A primary component of this grant program is the Mathematical Phylogentics Scholars program which provides long-term financial support for HWS students to conduct research in a unique blend of mathematics, computer science and biology. Current Scholars include Qingyi Lu, Jacque Kane, Jesse Maltese and Ally Doherty. The aim of this program is for scholars to gain admission to top doctoral programs in STEM fields, and to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals, and to present their findings at professional meetings.

Last year, participants presented their findings at the Mathematical Association of America's Spring Seaway Sectional meeting held at SUNY-Oswego. This year Jacque Kane has received a travel award from the Mathematical Associate of America to present her research at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.

Students interested in learning more about this program should contact Professor Rusinko.

Posted 1 December 2017

New Faculty Member

Alden Gassert joins the Department as a Visiting Assistant Professor for the academic year 2017–2018. Professor Gassert received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His mathematical interests include Number theory, Algebra, and Arithmetic Dynamics.

Professor Gassert previous held a postdoc position at the University of Colorado, and he has taught at Western New England Universty.


Posted 3 September 2017

Math Intern for 2017

Yu (Phoebe) Cai will serve as the Math Intern for the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for the 2017–2018 academic year. Phoebe is a 2017 graduate of William Smith College, where she majored in Mathematics. The Department awarded her the 2017 Catharine Adele Rippey '35 Prize for excellence in mathematics.

As Math Intern, Phoebe will be available to offer help to students in calculus and precalculus courses.


Posted 3 September 2017

Bidding Farewell to Retiring Faculty

Professors Kevin Mitchell, Carol Critchlow, and David Belding retired this year from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

David Belding was an undergraduate at Amherst College. He received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1980. Carol Critchlow was also an undergraduate at Amherst, and she received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1991. Kevin Mitchell was an undergraduate at Bowdoin College and received his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1980. Each of the three joined the Department in the year they received their Ph.D.

Belding and Mitchell are the authors of Foundations of Analysis, a textbook that has been used in Math 331. Mitchell is also the co-author of another textbook, An Introduction to Biostatistics. Critchow is the co-author of the CPSC 229 textbook, Foundations of Computation.

Although Mitchell, Critchlow, and Belding are no longer members of the teaching faculty, they continue as members of the HWS community as Professors Emeriti. The remaining members of the Department honor them for their service and wish them well as they move into the next phase of their lives.

Posted 1 June 2017