Mathematics and Statistics Newsletter Spring 2016

Faculty News
Student News
Alumni News
Something to Think About


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Newsletter! Our goal is to share with you the news within our department and news about our students and alumni. We plan to publish the newsletter once each semester. If you have any story ideas or news to share, please send an email to Jim Parish or Tammy Voepel.  We encourage you to keep up with happenings in the department via our department website or our Facebook page.


We were fortunate to have several visitors deliver colloquium talks within our department for faculty and students this year.

Dr. Hernando Ombao, professor and graduate program director of statistics at the University of California, Irvine presented a department colloquium talk entitled Exploratory Analysis of High Dimensional Time Series on March 29. He is the principal investigator of the space-time modeling group and his National Science Foundation funded research is on time series methodology and its applications to brain science. He is co-editor of the Handbook of Statistical Methods for Neuroimaging and is an associate editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Ombao was also the keynote speaker during the SIUE graduate school spring symposium.

Akman colloquium image

Dr. Olcay Akman from Illinois State University visited on February 4 to discuss artificial neural network cluster analysis. In this talk, Dr. Akman discussed how Kohonen’s Self-Organizing Maps (SOM) can be implemented to discover the underlying structure of grasshopper physiology, which contained 64 possible correlated variables. Unlike a traditional method (principal component analysis) of transforming correlated variables into a set of linearly uncorrelated variables, Kohonen’s SOM preserves the original structure of the data. During the collection process, a sampling error was introduced due to conveniently selecting only grasshoppers near the designated paths in the Florida everglades. A weighted function was added to the estimator in order to adjust for this length-based sampling bias. The following day Drs. Akman, Bartlett, Neath, Voepel and Weyhaupt, along with students Sam Mueller, Amanda Buschor, Maduka Balasooriya, Sanduni Palliyage, participated in a friendly soccer match.

Singh colloquium image

Dr. Pradeep Singh, professor of mathematics, Southeast Missouri State University, presented a department colloquium talk entitled Statistical Significance in Genome-Wide Studies last November 18. The talk reviewed various approaches based on false discovery rate in genome-wide tests of significance and effects on violation of equality of variance assumption.

DeBacker colloquium image

Dr. Stephen DeBacker of the University of Michigan presented a lecture entitled Tilings on October 22. The presentation was well-attended by math faculty as well as other SIUE faculty and administrators, SIUE students, and area high school students along with their teachers. After an engaging morning presentation, Dr. DeBacker facilitated an evening session of the math teachers’ circle.


High School Math Contest
On February 27, approximately 400 students from 20 high schools participated in the annual Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics High School Math Contest. Some students traveled more than 100 miles to compete on our campus. This was a statewide event with almost 300 high schools participating in 4 divisions at 20 regional sites. Students could take at most three tests during the day, including both individual and team tests, as well as written and oral tests. Each region finished the day with awards ceremonies distributing individual, team and overall school awards. At SIUE the schools winning first place in their division were Gibault Catholic High School, Carlinville High School, Carbondale Community High School and Edwardsville High School.

2Pi-K Race for Mathematics
On March 26 Pi Mu Epsilon sponsored the inaugural Race for Mathematics. Participants could elect to participate individually in a 3.14 mile run/walk or enter a four person team in the math relay. For the relay, each team member was responsible for running one lap and solving one math problem. Proceeds benefitted local math clubs whose students participated.

Math Teachers’ Circle
The Great Rivers Math Teachers’ Circle meets on the fourth Thursday of the month. Middle school, high school, community college and university teachers spend the evening working on rich math problems and sharing a meal. The final session this spring is on April 28. The circle is funded by grants from the SIUE Meridian Society, the SIUE Emeriti Faculty Association, and the American Institute of Mathematics. More information can be found here.

Faculty News


Professor Andy Neath was the recipient of the 2016 William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship. The Going Award is the most distinguished award in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is only bestowed on faculty members of our College who have produced outstanding scholarship and who have connected that scholarship in fundamental ways to their teaching, and transformed student's lives.

Andy Neath image

Professor George Pelekanos was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Research Professor award for his scholarly activities in the area of inverse scattering. Since the award's inception in 2006, five of the recipients have been Mathematics and Statistics professors.

George Pelekanos image


Distinguished Research Professor Krzyszstof Jarosz retired this past December after a long and very distinguished career. He earned his PhD in 1982 and had appointments  in Poland and at UC Santa Barbara prior to coming to SIUE in 1988.  He had a meteoric rise in rank being promoted to associate professor in 1990, receiving tenure in 1991, and achieving the rank of professor in 1992.  In 2007 he was awarded the rank of distinguished research professor.   Krzysztof served as department chair from 2003 to 2012.  In addition to publishing numerous articles in functional analysis, Krzysztof was the organizer of the long-running International Conference in Function Spaces, which celebrated its seventh quadrennial conference in 2014. 

Distinguished Research Professor Urszula Ledzewicz also retired this past year.  She joined the Department in 1987 as an assistant professor of mathematics, and by 1995 was promoted to professor of mathematics. Urszula is an internationally recognized scholar in mathematical modeling of systems in biomedicine, particularly in the applications of optimal control to cancer growth and treatment. She is author or co-author of over 140 publications and two research monographs recently published by Springer. She is an associate editor of nine journals and has given over 180 talks at conferences around the world. Since 1996, the National Science Foundation has continuously supported her research — an incredible record of external funding support. In recognition of her outstanding research productivity, she was awarded the rank of Distinguished Research Professor in 2008. She has advised numerous graduate students, nearly all of whom have co-authored papers with her. In recognition of her integration of teaching and scholarship, Urszula received the 2010 Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award from SIUE.


Professor Adam Weyhaupt will be leaving SIUE at the end of June to take up a position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fontbonne University. Adam joined SIUE in August of 2006 and was elected to the Chair of the department in 2012.  While at SIUE, he supervised numerous masters theses and senior projects, served on project committees, and taught a variety of courses.  His scholarly activities include multiple peer reviewed journal articles, presentations at professional meetings, and several grants.  We wish him well as he enters this new chapter in his professional life.

Student News

Daniel Perryman, a student of Dr. Chew, is going to do a poster presentation at the Undergraduate Scholars Showcase event on April 28.  His project is titled Modeling and Simulation of Social Network Formation.  The objective of the project is to determine the distribution of the degree of a node in a social network formed when a newborn node will always form a complete subgraph.

Honors Day photo

Congratulations to all the students receiving an award on Honors Day, April 17. We commend you on your academic achievements during this past year. Pictured above, from left to right, are (front) Sanduni Palliyage, Kelly Buch, Angela Lu and Thomas Teague and (back) Dr. Adam Weyhaupt, Lisa Dollar, Samuel Ewing, Alexander Weygandt and Cezareo Rodriguez.

Outstanding Senior in Math – Samuel Ewing
Outstanding Math/Stat Student – Thomas Teague
Oursler Scholarship – Kelly Buch
Chamness Memorial Award – Lisa Dollar
Lindstrum Memorial Award – Angela Lu
Pendergrass Award – Alexander Weygandt
Samsel Graduate Assistant Fellowship – Sanduni Palliyage
Samsel Graduate Assistant Fellowship – Cezareo Rodriguez
Fanning Award – John Heeg

Alumni News

Connie Borror MS'92 was awarded the Shewhart Medal from the American Society for Quality. This is the highest award given by the American Society for Quality.

Connie Borror award

Ehsan Jahanpour MS'13 – After graduation, I worked at Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as Project Specialist/biostatistician where we developed a new system to analyze surveillance data. Dr. Steven Rigdon helped us a lot in developing trigonometric regression model for monitoring disease incidents. I am currently working at Monsanto's Digital Foundation Department as a data analyst.

Andy Jones BS'13 – I have been teaching in Decatur for three years now. I taught for two at an alternative school, and now I am teaching at one of the high schools, Eisenhower High School. It has been an eye-opening experience teaching in a district with a lot of poverty and below-grade-level students – challenging but rewarding.

Georgia (Mueller) Luckey MS'15 – After graduation, I got married and now work at SIU School of Medicine as a statistician in Springfield, IL and am currently pursuing my doctoral degree in Biostatistics at SLU with Dr. Rigdon as my mentor.

Alumni, we would love to hear from you! Do you have a new degree, job information, a change in your family status, or a personal accomplishment? Consider sending us information to share in the next newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Something to Think About

Problems of the Month are posted on bulletin boards within the department and students are encouraged to submit solutions.  Each newsletter will include a problem that has served as a past Problem of the Month along with a "hidden" solution.  In this edition the solution is hidden by using a ROT13 encryption.  Have fun solving!


During a scene in the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger find themselves in a room whose two exits are blocked by raging flames. On a table in the room stand seven bottles, along with a piece of paper inscribed with the following verses:

Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.

Hermione realizes that she can use reasoning to determine the bottles that they need to escape from the room. As she says, “This isn’t magic - it’s logic - a puzzle.” Can you figure out the contents of each of the seven bottles, just as Hermione did?

bottles for puzzle


Fvapr gur tvnag obggyr vf abg cbvfba naq vg vf n gjva gb gur frpbaq sebz gur yrsg, jr xabj gurfr gjb ner arggyr jvar (2aq naq 6gu). Gurersber, gjb bs gur cbvfbaf ner gb gur yrsg bs gurfr (1fg naq 5gu). Gur barf ng rnpu raq ner qvssrerag naq fvapr jr xabj gur yrsg raq vf cbvfba, obgu arggyr jvarf unir orra sbhaq, naq vg jvyy abg uryc lbh zbir bajneqf, gur evtugzbfg obggyr fraqf lbh onpx (7gu). Guvf yrnirf 2 obggyrf naq jr xabj gur qjnes vf abg cbvfba, fb vg zhfg or gur bar gb zbir nurnq (3eq). Svanyyl, gur erznvavat obggyr zhfg or gur guveq cbvfba (4gu).

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