News & Updates

Math Major Named Student-Athlete of the Week

The Math department congratulates Math major and Economics minor Mica Hanish ’21, who was named NCAC Student-Athlete of the Week. As noted in the announcement:

Hanish, a mathematics major with a 4.00 cumulative GPA, was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team selection last season, only the third individual in Allegheny women’s track & field and cross country history to earn that honor. She is also a distinguished Allegheny Alden Scholar (GPA above 3.80) and is a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, the national student-athlete honor society, and Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society, where she serves as treasurer of Allegheny’s chapter. In her cross country career, Hanish has garnered All-NCAC selections three times, including two first-team honors and one second-team honor, while also earning three All-Region honors. On the track, she has earned All-NCAC accolades in the 3000-meter run, DMR, one-mile and 5000-meter run. In March, she was named All-Region for her performances in the mile and 3,000-meter run.

Mathematical Association of America Honors Allegheny Professor

Allegheny College Mathematics Professor Dr. Tamara Lakins has received the 2020 Meritorious Service Award from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Allegheny Professor of Mathematics Tamara Lakins.
Allegheny Professor of Mathematics Tamara Lakins.

The Certificate of Meritorious Service, announced in a video ceremony in July, was presented for service at the national level or for service to a section of the Mathematical Association of America. There were five award recipients honored nationwide.

Lakins has been active in the Mathematical Association of America since arriving at Allegheny in 1995. During her first year at Allegheny, she participated in the national MAA professional development program for new Ph.D.s, called Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching).

“Many aspects of Project NExT greatly informed my teaching as a new professor at Allegheny,” said Lakins. “My continued relationship with MAA’s Project NExT, both nationally and in the local Section NExT I helped cofound in 1999, has enabled me to stay connected with current pedagogical conversations. Participating, and eventually becoming a leader, in the local MAA section gave me a valuable connection to the local mathematics community in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I have greatly valued and benefited from those friendships and professional relationships, and I was greatly honored to receive a 2020 MAA Certificate of Meritorious Service.”

“The individuals we honor represent the spirit of community that is at the heart of the Mathematical Association of America,” said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. “Their willingness to give of their time, energy, and expertise to benefit their Sections and beyond serves as a fresh reminder of why the MAA remains so close to my heart.”

The Mathematical Association of America is the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students and enthusiasts. Its mission is to accelerate the understanding of the world through mathematics because mathematics drives society and shapes lives. Learn more at maa.org.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Math Major and Math Minor Named Valedictorians

The faculty and staff of the Mathematics department congratulate Math major Ryan Clydesdale and Math minor Olivia Krieger on being named co-valedictorians of the class of 2020. Ryan and Olivia, although we weren’t able to celebrate you in person this year, we are very proud of your achievements.

Ryan Clydesdale, a Math major with a double minor in Chemistry and Economics, was also awarded the Frederick H. Steen Prize for Excellence in Mathematics and was a previous recipient of a Cornerstone Research summer internship. A member of the men’s soccer team, Ryan also received the William Crawford Academic Merit Award in Athletics – Male, recognizing him as the male scholar-athlete with the highest grade-point average.

Olivia Krieger, a Physics major with a double minor in Mathematics and Philosophy, was also awarded the Richard L. Brown Physics Prize. Olivia presented her research at the 2019 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, where she also won best poster in her category.

 

Allegheny Math Majors Select Winning Article

Will Crosby `21, Mica Hanish `21, and Megan Powell `21, students in Professor Tamara Lakins’ spring 2020 Mathematics Junior Seminar, chose the May 2020 winner of The College Mathematics Journal Next Generation Prize.  The prize was awarded to the journal article in the May 2020 issue that the students selected as the best for undergraduate mathematics students nationwide to read.  The prize was created to promote undergraduate students’ reading of The College Mathematics Journal (published by the Mathematical Association of America), and to encourage the writing of expository mathematics that is student-accessible.  The Allegheny College students were thanked in the May 2020 issue.

Upper-Level Math Courses for Fall 2020

MATH 205 – Foundations of Mathematics
Instructor: Professor Lakins
An introduction to concepts encountered in the study of abstract mathematics. Topics covered include logic, mathematical proofs, set theory, relations, functions, mathematical induction, and introductory number theory. The concepts of injectivity, surjectivity, and inverses are discussed as well as elementary computational tools such as the Division Algorithm and Euclid’s algorithm for the greatest common divisor. Additional topics may include cardinality, combinatorics, graph theory, algebraic structure, the real number system, and concepts of mathematical analysis.
Prerequisite: MATH 152 or MATH 160 with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: ME, SP.

MATH 211 – Vector Calculus and Several Variable Integration
Instructor: Professor Carswell
A study of integration of functions of several variables, including the use of polar, cylindrical, and spherical coordinate systems; and vector calculus, including vector fields, line and surface integrals, and the theorems of Green and Stokes.
Prerequisite: MATH 152 with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: QR.
May not be taken for credit if a grade of C or better in MATH 210 has already been received.

MATH 270 – Optimization and Approximation
Instructor: Professor Ellers
A study of optimization of functions of one variable and of several variables, including the Extreme Value Theorem and Lagrange multipliers; sequences and series; and Taylor approximation of functions.
Prerequisite: MATH 152 with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: QR.
May not be taken for credit if a grade of C or better in MATH 170 has already been received.

MATH 280 – Ordinary Differential Equations
Instructor: Professor Carswell
An examination of methods of solving ordinary differential equations with emphasis on the existence and uniqueness of solutions of first order equations and second order linear equations. Topics may include Laplace transforms, systems of linear differential equations, power series solutions, successive approximations, linear differential equations, and oscillation theory with applications to chemistry and physics.
Prerequisite: MATH 152 or MATH 210 with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: SP.

MATH 325 – Algebraic Structures I
Instructor: Professor Werner
An introduction to the notion of an algebraic structure concentrating on the simplest such structure, that of a group. Rings and fields are also discussed.
Prerequisite: MATH 205 and MATH 320, each with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: SP.

MATH 340 – Introduction to Analysis
Instructor: Professor Weir
An examination of the theory of calculus of a single variable. Topics include properties of the real numbers, topology of the real line, and a rigorous treatment of sequences, functions, limits, continuity, differentiation and integration.
Prerequisite:  MATH 205 with a grade of C or better, and a grade of C or better in one of the following courses: MATH 210, MATH 211, MATH 270, MATH 280.
Distribution Requirements: SP.

MATH 345 – Probability and Statistical Inference I
Instructor: Professor Lo Bello
A study of mathematical models, sample space probabilities, random variables, expectation, empirical and theoretical frequency distributions, moment generating functions, sampling theory, correlation and regression.
Prerequisite: MATH 152 or MATH 210 with a grade of C or better.
Distribution Requirements: SP.
This is one of the possible mathematics courses that may be substituted for one of the required 300-level CMPSC courses in the Computer Science major.

MATH 370 – Graph Theory and Combinatorics **New Course**
Instructor: Professor Dodge
A study of finite graphs and combinatorics, covering enumeration of combinatorial structures, directed and undirected graphs, and recursive algorithms. Topics include trees, planarity, graph coloring, Eulerian and Hamiltonian graphs, shortest path algorithms, the pigeonhole principle, permutations and combinations of finite sets and multisets, binomial and multinomial coefficients, and the inclusion-exclusion principle.
Prerequisites: MATH 205 with a grade of C or better
Distribution Requirements: SP
This is one of the mathematics courses that may be substituted for one of the required 300-level CMPSC courses in the Computer Science major.

 

Frederick and Marion Steen Mathematics Scholarship – Application Deadline 4/3

Updated March 21, 2020

The Frederick and Marion Steen Mathematics Scholarship was established in honor of Frederick and Marion Steen by their children.

This prestigious, merit-based scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time student in their junior year who is majoring in the natural sciences at Allegheny College and will partially cover senior year tuition expenses.

According to the terms of the Scholarship, the recipient should demonstrate the following character:

  • strong understanding of and skills in the application of the principles of mathematics
  • ability to communicate and enthuse others with the beauty of mathematics
  • commitment to put mathematics to purpose in a teaching, engineering, or scientific profession.

Applications should be submitted in person to Lori Riggle in Arter 103 Applications should be submitted via email to Professor Weir (rweir@allegheny.edu) and should contain the following:

  1. A letter of interest that addresses the three criteria listed above, and
  2. A pdf copy of your Webadvisor transcript An unofficial Allegheny transcript (a WebAdvisor printout is acceptable).

The deadline for completed applications is Friday April 3, 2020. Applications will be reviewed by the Mathematics department faculty shortly thereafter. Please contact Professor Weir (rweir@allegheny.edu), the Chair of the Mathematics department, if you have questions.

Allegheny Welcomes New Faculty

From a native of Italy who speaks five languages to a motocross enthusiast, Allegheny’s new faculty members bring many unique backgrounds and qualities to the campus classrooms in the fall of 2019. Let’s meet each of them briefly:

Kathryn BenderKathryn Bender
Assistant Professor of Economics

Kathryn Bender joins the Economics Department this fall and is helping students discover the economics of natural resources. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Centre College and her master’s and doctorate from the Ohio State University.

“I’m excited to start at Allegheny this fall,” says Bender. “I’m involved in several projects on consumer food-waste behavior and hope to find new avenues to explore at Allegheny around this topic.”

Her dissertation, “Date Labels and Food Waste: A study of the effect of label characteristics on food waste in the United States,” studies the confluence of environmental science, economics, and marketing in the food distribution ecosystem in the United States. She is also interested in exploring the effect of feminine hygiene programs in developing countries on the environment along with women’s empowerment, health, and education.

In her free time, Bender enjoys playing soccer, riding horses, and hanging out with her two dogs, Huck and Nala.


Bradley Burroughs '02Bradley Burroughs ’02
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

After graduating from Allegheny in 2002, Bradley Burroughs earned his master’s degree from Duke University Divinity School and his Ph.D. from Emory University. His first teaching job was at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. After resigning that position to attend to family needs, he taught for four years at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. “But I am thrilled to be back in Meadville and reconnecting to the Allegheny community,” he says.

His academic interests span a variety of theological and ethical thought. His most recent work has been in two areas. The first is Christian political ethics, which led to his first book, Christianity, Politics, and the Predicament of Evil: A Constructive Theological Ethic of Soulcraft and Statecraft. It has also led to other published pieces that assess practices of contemporary warfare. The second area of his recent work has been in how Christian thinkers have understood the concept of evil, which is the subject of his next book project.

Burroughs enjoys mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and being outdoors generally, “or at least as much as I can do now with two kids in tow. Although not entirely unusual, one of my more surprising talents is juggling, which I learned from a hallmate in Baldwin during my first year at Allegheny.”

He also is proud that he was the first in his family to graduate from college.


Moira FlanaganMoira Flanagan
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Moira Flanagan is a lifelong morris dancer, a form of traditional English folk/pub dancing. She is also the newest chemistry professor at Allegheny.

She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City and a Ph.D. in biophysical sciences from the University of Chicago. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Chemistry Department at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently, her research combines biochemistry and physical chemistry techniques to understand the physical and photoprotective properties of heterogeneous biological pigments like melanin.

“My interest in the chemistry of biological systems also shapes how I teach,” Flanagan says. “I get excited to bring biological contexts into other fields of chemistry (as often as I can), but also emphasize the physical chemistry concepts (like entropy) in biochemistry topics.

“My teaching is based on the idea that everyone can learn science if they want to and I am here to help. I reject the idea that some people ‘get’ science and math and some people don’t,” Flanagan says. “One doesn’t need to be an expert in chemistry to critically analyze and problem-solve in a new context.”

Besides her affinity for chemistry, teaching and morris dancing, Flanagan enjoys cooking, especially fish and fresh pasta. “I also won a coloring contest in my local paper when I was 4, and actually still consider myself an amateur artist in drawing and cartooning.


Jessica Harris
Visiting Assistant Professor of History

Jessica Harris received her bachelor’s in history, master’s in Afro-American Studies, master’s in history, and Ph.D. in history, all from UCLA. She also held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto in the Department of Italian Studies. She taught at Santa Monica College as well as at the University of Toronto during her fellowship.

Her research focus is on the history of the 20th century United States and the World, Modern Italy, and Black Europe, “and I am particularly interested in gender and race, their intersection with material culture, and the subsequent effect on group identities,” Harris says.

Since she studies Italian culture, “I like to watch Italian films and listen to Italian pop music,” says Harris.

Her five minutes of fame occurred as a teenager, Harris says, “when my club soccer team and I appeared on an episode of Bette Midler’s sitcom ‘Bette’.”


Mahita KadmielMahita Kadmiel
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Mahita Kadmiel has spent most of her life learning about human diseases, and she enjoys teaching students about how the human body works — or fails to work — in the event of a disease.

Kadmiel taught for two years as a visiting assistant professor at Colgate University. She is trained in biomedical sciences, completing postdoctoral training in molecular endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in biology from Michigan Technological University, and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and biochemistry and medical lab technology from Andhra University in India.

“My academic interest has always been in improving our understanding of the molecular basis of human diseases,” Kadmiel says. “Too little or too much of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) and changes in sex hormone levels (estrogen and testosterone) have been linked to vision problems.”

She is investigating the function of these hormones in the cornea and retina using rodent models and cells derived from human eyes. Kadmiel also is interested in studying the role of hormone-mimicking chemicals (more commonly called endocrine-disrupting chemicals) on ocular cells and tissues and how they might influence eye health.

Kadmiel incorporates her interest in various forms of art not only in the biology courses that she teaches, but also in her time outside the classroom and laboratory.

“I enjoy working on art projects and DIY projects along with my two kids,” she says. “This is my trick to get mom-time and hobby time in one shot!”


Douglas LumanDouglas Luman
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Douglas Luman joins the Computer Science Department from a background in creative writing and composition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Bradley University and his MFA is from George Mason University, where he studied poetry and was the Heritage Student Fellow in 2017. He taught in the University Writing Program at George Washington University.

“So, suffice to say, I am an interesting fit in computer science. The way I usually explain it is that all of my work is computational, even though it is done in a humanities-leaning context,” he says.

His MFA thesis, “Prodigy House,” was a computational investigation of an early literary algorithm (“Travesty”). His other work is all computationally based. “I essentially ‘write’ aided by software that I write and others (like Google Cloud tools — Translate, Speech to Text) that I use in conjunction with writing. During graduate school, I developed a computational constraint platform that I continue to run at www.appliedpoetics.org.

“One might say that my work is less from an academic background and more out of a discipline or practice,” Luman says.

Luman is also interested in approaches to computational pedagogy: that is, what do the humanities, writ-large, have to say about teaching computer science? “Is there some way that we can use humanities-based concepts/data to teach students what it means to be responsible for their code? I wonder if there’s some distinction here to remind both students and ourselves of the perennial lesson that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should,” he says.

He and his partner, the poet Jenni B. Baker, also run a book arts press called Container, where they produce other artists’ work in three-dimensional, novel forms, “which is to say as a gem tray of origami paper gems, etched glass bottles, or as cross-stitch kits, for example,” Luman says.


Rebecca OliverRebecca Oliver
Assistant Professor of Political Science

Rebecca Oliver received her bachelor’s degree from the Université de Montréal and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She arrives at Allegheny after teaching most recently at Murray State University in Kentucky and, prior to that, the University of Southern California.

Oliver’s research examines the politics of inequality with respect to labor markets and social policy in Europe. Substantive topics of her work include labor union strategies, collective bargaining institutions, public opinion, childcare policy and territorial inequalities in social policy.

She is currently completing revisions for her book, “Negotiating Differences: The Politics of Egalitarian Bargaining Institutions.” The book examines the following question: Why, in the face of common growing pressures toward greater liberalization and pay dispersion, are egalitarian bargaining institutions sustained or reconfigured in some instances and bluntly dismantled in others? Employing the cases of Italy and Sweden, the book studies developments in egalitarian collective bargaining institutions.

Oliver recently adopted a puppy named Griffin. “My interests of hiking, canoe camping, exploring and getting lost in new cities/towns, making cupcakes, skiing, playing tennis, attending live jazz concerts and visiting art galleries are currently taking a back seat to dog training,” she says.


Kelly PearceKelly Pearce
Instructor, Environmental Science & Sustainability

Kelly Pearce is a graduate of Juniata College, where she majored in wildlife conservation and minored in education. She received her master’s degree in applied ecology and conservation biology from Frostburg State University, and earned her Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory.

She is a wildlife ecologist and conservationist with research interests at the intersection of ecological and social science, including the field of human dimensions of wildlife conservation. “I use quantitative and qualitative approaches to study how environmental, social, and policy factors influence wildlife populations and species distributions. I also strive to better understand approaches that mitigate conflict and encourage coexistence between people and wildlife,” she says. Pearce also serves on the Outreach and Conflict Resolution Task Force as a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group.

“My research has taken me to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, where I evaluated the ability of the river otter to serve as an aquatic flagship species for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” she says. “I have also been involved in a variety of wildlife ecology projects focused in western Maryland and West Virginia, including a study on eastern spotted skunks, Allegheny woodrats, and a variety of bat species.”

Pearce enjoys live music and spends much of her free time watching and traveling for shows, she says. Pearce also enjoys motorcycle journeys. “I rode my first motorcycle when I was 3 right into the back of the garage. I still love to ride on my parents’ farm in central Pennsylvania, and this past summer I earned three first-place finishes in a vintage cross-country motorcycle race series.”


Gaia RancatiGaia Rancati
Assistant Professor of Marketing and Neuromarketing in Economics

Gaia Rancati joins the Economics Department and will teach Principles of Marketing and Business and Managerial Economics during the fall semester.

Rancati is an experienced trainer and coach in both sales and customer experience specializing in retail, sales, team building, and management. She earned her Ph.D. in marketing and neuroeconomics as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing from IULM University, and a master’s of leadership and management from Il Sole 24ORE Business School in Milan, Italy. She is a sought-after researcher and speaker in the field of neuromarketing where she applies the science of neuroeconomics for improving customer experience in the retail field with a focus on service encounters, sales transformation and artificial intelligence.


Lauren RudolphLauren Rudolph
Assistant Professor of Biology

Lauren Rudolph joins the Biology Department with undergraduate and graduate degrees as double-majors in neuroscience and psychology. She attended Washington and Lee University for her undergraduate education and Indiana University for her Ph.D. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles in neurobiology and neuroendocrinology, and then taught neuroscience as a visiting professor at Pomona College.

Rudolph’s research is generally focused on steroid hormones and how they act to drive certain behaviors, such as mammalian reproduction. Her wider interests include neuroendocrinology, hormones, reproduction, sex differences, and physiology.

“I am continually impressed with the ever-expanding range of steroid hormone effects,” says Rudolph, “and how hormones can alter behaviors. I study how hormones act in ‘non-traditional’ ways to change the shape and function of cells, tissues, and organisms.”

When traveling on planes, Rudolph says she tends to get into interesting conversations because she is often working on presentations about reproduction. She sees those discussions as part of her “unofficial outreach”: sharing her research with other people.

During her time at Washington and Lee University, Rudolph played volleyball on a team which won conference champions each year, earning a place in the NCAA tournament during her four years as an undergraduate. Besides volleyball, Rudolph also enjoys the outdoors, cheese, sarcasm, making up forced acronyms, animal fun facts, and March Madness.

“I am also skilled at removing the gonads of rodents (for research!),” she adds.


Rosita ScerboRosita Scerbo
Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish

Rosita Scerbo joins the Department of Modern and Classical Languages as a Spanish instructor. Her research interests include Latin American and Chicanx visual autobiography. This includes photography, cinema, paintings, murals, and digital art. She is also a specialist in Digital Humanities and Hispanic digital pedagogy tools.

Scerbo was born in Italy but has spent most of her life studying and working abroad. “I’m a heritage speaker of Spanish, as I learned Spanish in my community as a child before I dedicated my life to the Hispanic language and culture academically in school and in college.”

She taught Spanish and Italian language, literature, and culture at West Virginia University during her pursuit of a master’s degree and at Arizona State University while earning her doctorate. She also has taught Spanish in Sevilla, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, during study abroad and Spanish immersion programs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Calabria in Italy.

“I speak five languages,” says Scerbo. “I went to dance school for many years, and I’m particularly passionate about Latin dances, including salsa, bachata, and merengue. My two daughters’ names — one is human and one is canine — are Sol and Luna, that is Spanish for sun and moon.”

Sarah StangerSarah Stanger
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Sarah Stanger joins Allegheny’s Psychology Department and also plans to provide assessment and treatment services to children and families in Meadville as she works toward clinical licensure. Stanger attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She says her time there “ignited my passion for contributing to a learning community like Allegheny.” Stanger then traveled cross-country to attend the University of Vermont, where she taught undergraduate courses and earned a joint Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology.

Most recently, Stanger was in Portland, Oregon, completing her predoctoral clinical internship. While there, she provided assessment, consultation, and treatment services for children and families in a hospital-based setting.

Stanger hopes to observe interactions between families and children in a laboratory setting while at Allegheny. “I am interested in understanding the development of adaptive stress responses — both physiological and behavioral — in children and adolescents,” says Stanger. “This includes examining how parenting and other contextual factors, such as family socioeconomic status, contribute to this development.”

Outside of her professional life, Stanger has competed in horseback riding, enjoys skiing and snowboarding, and has a love for college sports and theater. She anticipates learning to cross-country ski while in Meadville, as well as attending her students’ productions and sporting events.

Asmus TrautschAsmus Trautsch
Writer in Residence

Asmus Trautsch studied philosophy as a major and German literature (modern and medieval) as a minor at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and at the University College London in Great Britain. In addition, he studied composition/music theory at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at Humboldt University, spending a term as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City. He has taught philosophy at the University of Dresden and has been a guest lecturer at other universities.

His research interests include contemporary poetry, philosophy of tragedy, philosophy of literature, philosophy of music, ancient Greek philosophy, aesthetics, and ethics.

“My interests lie in the arts, including fine arts, film and dance and in the ways in which the sciences and the arts work together for enabling understanding and new knowledge,” says Trautsch. “Also I’m passionately interested in how philosophy and literature can contribute to educating society and improving politics.”

Trautsch likes to engage in “entertaining dialogues with lots of curious questions,” bake cakes, conduct orchestras and play various musical instruments. He shares a fun fact from his past: “I once won second prize in a competition called ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ in Dresden.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

When Opportunity Knocks, Allegheny College Graduate Answers

Christopher Miller has always made the most of the opportunities presented to him. He just earned his bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and will begin his career this summer at a New York City tech firm called Capgemini, a French multinational corporation that provides consulting, technology, professional and outsourcing services.

“I will be working as a technology consultant, assisting insurance companies to revamp or create new software to manage their clients. It’s a software engineering position,” he says.

In his pre-Allegheny life, Miller grew up in the urban neighborhood of Park Heights in Baltimore. As a sixth-grader, he was invited to attend the SEED School of Maryland, a college-preparatory, public boarding school where students from across the state receive a tuition-free education that prepares them for success in college and beyond. “Even then, I was interested in many different subjects like photography, Spanish, chess and much more,” Miller says.

He successfully completed seven years at the SEED School and, on the advice of a counselor, decided to apply to Allegheny, some 338 miles away from home.

“Going to Allegheny for me was terrifying at first. Coming from a city like Baltimore to a small town I’d never heard of with extreme weather conditions. I came to Allegheny on faith, faith that it would work out for me somehow,” Miller says.

And work out it did.

“When I arrived, I said that I would be the best person I could be,” he says. “I would try to treat people right, virtuous some may call it, and see what would happen. With that mindset, I have learned so much about the world, myself and how I want to live my life.”

“As a first-year student, Chris really stood out for his curiosity about and enthusiasm for mathematics,” says Tamara Lakins, chair of Allegheny’s Mathematics Department. “He connected in his second year with the professor of a pivotal required course for the math major, which led to his employment as an undergraduate summer research assistant to that professor, an impressive accomplishment for a second-year student. I was pleased that Chris was always comfortable stopping by my office to talk. He was eager to discuss with me his ideas for encouraging more students, and especially more students of color, to become math majors.”

Miller’s resume at Allegheny is impressive. He was a member of the Dimensions math club, the Chinese American Friendship Society, the Philosophy Club, the Chess Club, the Islamic Cultural Association, the Association for the Advancement of Black Culture, the African Student Association, Hillel, and the Nu Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma. His major was in mathematics and his minor was in Chinese.

He spent the summer of 2018 in China, immersing himself in Mandarin and authored a blog he called “Chasing the Tea Leaves: My Journey East” about the experience.

“I was determined that I would improve my Chinese. The only way to do that was by going to China,” Miller says. “I remember the visits to the International Education Office and the long hypotheticals Lucinda Morgan (the director) and I would go over. I had never been out of the country. I had no idea where the money would come from, but it was like the whole campus used its entire strength to get me halfway around the world. I think that really captures the Allegheny experience — community.”

“When Chris returned, it was wonderful to see him enthusiastically sharing his study away experience in China with other students on campus at both formal gatherings and informal conversations,” recalls Morgan.

One of Miller’s biggest thrills at Allegheny was winning the 2019 Zingale Big Idea Competition, his third year entering the funding-request presentation contest that is open to all Allegheny and visiting college students. Miller teamed with Natalia Buczek, another senior at the time, to develop Aid Memoir, a communication app and website for patients with verbal and memory impairments and their caregivers. They each took home part of the $6,000 grand prize.

“I participated in the Big Idea Competition every year but my first year. The first time I participated, my team didn’t get past the preliminaries,” Miller recalls. “The next year, my team came in second with Munchyum, a food-delivery service. This year, I was close to not competing, but my partner, Natalia, convinced me otherwise. It meant a lot to me. It was the culmination of my Allegheny education, and it felt great to see what perseverance could accomplish.”

Miller says one of his most valued experiences at Allegheny was his community service. “Interacting with the City of Meadville and seeing how people live was really interesting. Being able to help others achieve their goals was very rewarding. It made me realize that education is not just what you learn in the classroom but also what you learn in life. Doing community service gives you the opportunity to gain wisdom from the people around you. In my education, community service has been like a spiritual teacher.

“I just want to tell those following me to Allegheny to be open to new ideas, experiences and people,” says Miller. “You never know who or what may change your life or how you may change someone else’s.”

Photo Credit: Derek Li

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Frederick and Marion Steen Mathematics Scholarship: Application Deadline 4/1

Frederick and Marion Steen Mathematics Scholarship

The Frederick and Marion Steen Mathematics Scholarship was established in honor of Frederick and Marion Steen by their children. This prestigious, merit-based scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time student majoring at Allegheny College in the natural sciences. The purpose of this fund is to partially cover senior year tuition expenses for one selected student per year.

According to the terms of the Scholarship, “the recipient should demonstrate the following character:

* strong understanding of and skills in the application of the principles of mathematics

* ability to communicate and enthuse others with the beauty of mathematics

* commitment to put mathematics to purpose in a teaching, engineering, or scientific profession”

A junior natural sciences major who wishes to be considered for this scholarship should send a letter to the Chair of the Mathematics Department (Professor Tamara Lakins) indicating how he or she meets the criteria for the award, and provide an up-to-date transcript (a printout of a WebAdvisor transcript is acceptable).

The deadline for completed applications is April 1, 2019. Applications will be reviewed by the Mathematics Department shortly thereafter.