CWUNews FeedNews Feed than 100 Middle School Students to Attend GEAR UP Math Festival, 09 Nov 2016 08:19:08<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 210px; height: 150px; margin: 4px; float: left;">More than 100 middle-school students in will descend upon the Central Washington University campus to attend the annual GEAR UP Math Festival on November 15.</p><p>GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a CWU program funded by an&nbsp; $18 million-plus US Department of Education grant, one of several that the university has received in the past 15 years. The current grant, SOAR3 (Success, Opportunity, Affordability and Rigor, Relevance and Relationships) serves students in the Brewster, Easton, Highland, Lake Chelan, Manson, Omak, Oroville, Quincy, Richland, Tonasket, and Wenatchee school districts.</p><p>“Participating in STEM competitions is a key component of the grant,” said Kelley Quirk, program manager. “Earlier this year, we took students to the VEX Robotics World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky.</p><p>On Tuesday, the students will take part in hands on math activities, led by CWU math professors, math students, and GEAR UP CWU student mentors. They will also take the American Math Challenge test (AMC 8). The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple-choice exam in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development of problem solving skills. The AMC 8 provides an opportunity for middle school students to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking and mathematics that can assist in future careers. Students apply classroom-learned skills to unique problem-solving challenges, in a low-stress friendly environment.</p><p>“Last year we had 200 students attend,” said Brandy Wiegers, math professor. “We will also provide a similar opportunity for 10th through 12th graders next year, on February 7, 2017.</p><p>“This year we’re going to again turn the day into a Math Festival,” she continued. “The idea is to surround the competition with fun and positive math vibes, and to introduce a whole lot of potential future students to our department. We’ll give the students a fun talk during lunch, and then have one more fun activity with them before sending them home.”</p><p>Wiegers is also the director for the Kittitas Valley Math Circles for elementary and middle school students and their parents.</p><p>For more information about the Math Festival, or to volunteer, contact Wiegers at, or Quirk at</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>November 9, 2016</p></br>$20,000 Scholarships Available to Junior STEM Students, April 1 Deadline, 09 Mar 2016 14:38:25<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 212px; height: 200px; float: left;">Approximately seven, two-year scholarships in the amount of $20,000 will be awarded to academically talented students majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) discipline, thanks to a continuing program at Central Washington University. The deadline for this year’s applications is April 1. Students can apply at</p><p>Community college students who wish to transfer to CWU are especially encouraged to apply. Up to 10 students may be found eligible for the award.</p><p>Thanks to a $612,840 National Science Foundation grant, the scholarship program, SOLVER (Sustainability for Our Livelihood, Values, Environment, and Resources), can help promising students through the last, most difficult years of their science degree program.</p><p>“The scholarships are for $10,000 per year,” said Audrey Huerta, professor of geological sciences, and one of the principal investigators of the grant. “If the student does well in the first year of their award, they are eligible for the second $10,000.”</p><p>The overall objective of SOLVER is to increase the quality and diversity of students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields, with an emphasis on recruitment, retention, and graduation of Hispanic and Native American students. The SOLVER program will provide scholars with financial, academic, personal, and professional support.</p><p>“Our goal is to substantially increase the success of traditionally underrepresented minorities in these high-demand fields,” said Huerta.</p><p>In addition to the $10,000 academic-year scholarship, students are automatically enrolled in the Hearst Summer Fellows program. Instead of leaving campus and working low-wage jobs in the summer before their senior year, students can spend their summer involved in meaningful research. The Hearst Foundations awarded $100,000 to provide summer research fellowships to 20 Solver Scholars at CWU for the next three years.</p><p>“This is the missing piece of the puzzle,” said Audrey Huerta. “Almost all of our students have to work during the summer to make money for the school year. It’s impossible for them to take advantage of unpaid research internships that would help further their academic career. This stipend allows them to immerse themselves in science without worrying about financial consequences.”</p><p>Fall quarter 2016 will initiate the third year of the SOLVER program, and already, there are success stories from its graduates.</p><p>“Our SOLVER students have been sought after for professional positions even before graduation,” Huerta related. “Many others are pursuing advanced degrees in their field.”</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>March 9, 2016</p></br>CWU Math Professor Receives MAA Meritorious Service Award, 25 Jan 2016 08:18:03<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 167px; height: 250px; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px; float: left;">Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University math professor, received the Pacific Northwest Section of the Mathematics Association of America’s 2016 Meritorious Service Award. The award will be presented at the 2016 MathFest in August, in Columbus, Ohio.</p><p>“This is an honor,” said Boersma. “I was completely surprised by this announcement since there are so many others who volunteer enormous amounts of their time to improve the quality of undergraduate mathematics education.”</p><p>“Dr. Boersma’s award is clearly deserved,” said Tim Englund, dean of the College of the Sciences, and fellow mathematics professor. “His dedication to his discipline, colleagues and students sets a very high bar for all us in the profession.</p><p>In addition to the PNW-MAA service award, Boersma received the award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2013, and the MAA Trevor Evans Award for “A Mathematician's Look at Foucault’s Pendulum” in 2006. The Trevor Evans Award goes to exceptional articles that are accessible to undergraduates and published in Math Horizons.</p><p>Boersma also co-hosts the annual “codebreaking” competition at CWU. In 2011, he and Cheryl Beaver started the Kryptos contest, which is an annual cryptanalysis contest for undergraduate students. The first competition featured about 50 undergraduate students from the Pacific Northwest. It has rapidly grown in popularity and in 2015 had 150 entrants from across the United States and Canada.</p><p>Boersma received his bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound in 1988 and his PhD in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1994.&nbsp; He taught at Alfred University in western New York for six years before coming to CWU in 2000.</p><p>The PNW-MAA ( is a regional section of the national Mathematical Association of America (, one of the two largest professional organizations of mathematicians. Established in 1915, the MAA currently has 20,000 members. The Pacific Northwest section is the largest geographically as it includes 10 states, provinces, and territories—Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, parts of Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut (Canada’s northernmost territory).</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br>Englund Named Dean of CWU’s College of the Sciences, 09 Dec 2015 13:47:42<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 239px; height: 300px; margin: 4px; float: left;">After a nationwide search, Tim Englund, professor of mathematics, was named dean of Central Washington University’s College of the Sciences (COTS). Englund has been the interim dean since former dean, Kirk Johnson, a professor of sociology, retired earlier this year.</p><p>“I’m looking forward to serving the university in the role of dean,” said Englund. “My goal is to advance CWU’s STEM initiatives and make the College of the Sciences a first choice for prospective students. ”</p><p>“It’s always gratifying to know that after a very competitive search process, that the best candidate is right on our campus,” said President James Gaudino. “He has the longtime experience and knowledge of COTS, as well as the leadership skills to take teaching and research to the next level.”</p><p>Englund served as an associate dean in the college and has been successful in several COTS initiatives. Prior to joining the dean's office, he served one term as chair of the Mathematics Department and as the faculty coordinator for the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship program at CWU.</p><p>Englund received his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University. He has been a member of the CWU mathematics faculty since 1998. His current primary research interests include interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues in Nutrition and Health Sciences examining elementary school lunches. Previously, his research focused on the representation theory of Chevalley groups.</p><p>An avid runner and hiker, Englund and his dogs can frequently be found in the hills around central Washington.</p><p>The College of the Sciences is comprised of thirteen academic departments and eleven interdisciplinary programs in the natural, behavioral, social, and computational sciences. The college is also home to a number of affiliated programs focused on education, student learning, and research projects. In 2016, the $63 million Science II building will open, with advanced laboratories for research in physics and geological sciences. The college currently consists of 170 full- and 62 part-time faculty and 40 staff located on the main campus in Ellensburg and at the Des Moines, Lynnwood, Moses Lake, Pierce, Wenatchee, and Yakima University Centers.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>December 9, 2015</p></br></br>Klyve named interim director of the William O. Douglas Honors College, 28 Aug 2015 08:56:55<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 200px; height: 300px; float: right;">Math professor Dominic Klyve has been named interim director of Central Washington University’s William O. Douglas Honors College (DHC). CWU Provost Marilyn Levine recently appointed the former director, Anne Cubilié, to the position of associate provost.</p><p>“This is an exciting time for the DHC,” said Klyve. “Enrollment in the Honors College has increased 90 percent during last six years. The number of students completing capstone projects has more than doubled, and the DHC has begun expanding programs for students.”</p><p>The DHC offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, and has recently established its four pillars of coordinated intellectual engagement—Critical Thinking, Undergraduate Research, Community-Based Research, and Leadership—which guide course selection and student capstone projects.</p><p>As the DHC’s associate director since 2014, Klyve promotes a broad and interdisciplinary research program and is deeply committed to undergraduate research. He has supervised more than 40 research students, and has published seven peer-reviewed publications with undergraduate students, and he holds several national leadership roles in the field.</p><p>During his time at Central, he has published research in journals in the fields of mathematics, gastroenterology, philosophy, linguistics, pedagogy, Shakespeare studies, and the history of biology. He looks forward to working with students to expand the diversity of their research experiences and their engagement with the broader scholarly community.&nbsp;</p><p>For the past three years, he has served as a councilor to the national Council on Undergraduate Research, and this year was elected chair of their Mathematics and Computer Science Division. He is the founding chair of the Special Interest Group on Undergraduate Research of the Mathematics Association of America, and he regularly travels around the country speaking to groups of students at the middle school, high school, and college levels.</p><p><strong>The Douglas Honors College</strong><br>Named for the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the DHC has been in existence for more than 35 years. It’s designed to challenge students to reach their potential as writers, readers, speakers, and critical thinkers through interdisciplinary courses in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences taught by professors from throughout the university.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></br>CWU Math Professor Awarded $1.5 Million Grant for Innovative TRIUMPHS Program, 17 Aug 2015 11:47:02<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 167px; height: 250px; margin: 5px; float: left;">Washington’s most innovative math professor has developed a most innovative way to teach math. Central Washington University’s Dominic Klyve—of <a href="">weird numbers, Mozart and math, and juggling equations </a>fame—proposes to develop math curriculum based on primary historical sources. For example, if you want to learn about geometry, you start with Euclid’s original proofs.</p><p>The National Science Foundation has awarded Klyve $1.5 million for Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources (TRIUMPHS), a national, seven-university collaboration to design, publish, and test a new curriculum. The grant money will be distributed among the institutions, with CWU receiving approximately $400,000. New Mexico State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Colorado University at Denver, Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, Xavier University in Ohio, and Florida State University will be participating in the grant.</p><p>“In just about every other discipline—history, philosophy, psychology—students read the original source material,” said Klyve. “In philosophy, students read Plato and Descartes, but our mathematics students don’t read Newton or Gauss.”&nbsp; Students are just given modern equations and theorems without any context as to how they were developed.&nbsp;</p><p>“Students are missing a big part of the picture they need to deeply understand the math we are teaching.”</p><p>The TRIUMPHS curriculum is based on primary source projects (PSPs), which will focus on a particular math principle or equation as it was developed by an historic mathematician. Students will study source documents of the original author, and through a series of exercises, develop a fuller understanding of the mathematics. Klyve and his collaborators will create and test at least 20 full-length primary source projects (PSPs) and 30 one-day mini-PSPs.</p><p>The curriculum will range from undergraduate pre-calculus classes to advanced abstract algebra and topology.</p><p>The advantage of the historical approach is that it provides context and direction to the mathematics. It also hones students’ verbal and deductive skills through reading the work of some of the greatest minds in history.</p><p>TRIUMPHS will also provide training in developing and implementing PSPs to more than 100 faculty members and doctoral students all across the country. An evaluation-with-research study is proposed to provide formative and summative feedback throughout the award period while contributing to the research base in STEM education. More than 50 faculty members from 31 geographically and institutionally diverse institutions have already committed to using them in their classes, including 16 faculty members at CWU.</p><p>“One of the strengths of this grant is the significant participation of [CWU] math faculty who agreed to test the curriculum,” noted Klyve. “They were great! It is the best place to teach math in the country. My colleagues’ complete support of this project helped us get the award.”</p><p>The TRIUMPHS program will start this fall quarter.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p></br>Englund Named Interim CWU College of the Sciences Dean, 27 Apr 2015 10:50:19<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 199px; height: 250px; margin: 7px; float: left;"><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Tim </span>Englund<span style="line-height: 1.4;">, professor of mathematics, was named as the interim dean of Central Washington University’s College of the Sciences (COTS). The current dean, Kirk Johnson, a professor of sociology, is retiring at the end of spring quarter.</span></p><p>Currently Englund serves as an associate dean in the college and has been successful in several COTS initiatives. Prior to joining the dean's office, he served one term as chair of the Mathematics Department and as the faculty coordinator for the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship program at CWU.</p><p>“I’m looking forward to serving the university in the role of interim dean,” said Englund. “My goal is to continue and complete many of the important projects that were started during Dean Johnson’s tenure, and provide support and leadership for our faculty.”</p><p>“Tim has brought leadership skills to his role as associate dean that will transfer very nicely to his new role as interim dean. He will provide the experience and knowledge of COTS that is needed,” said Provost Marilyn Levine.</p><p>Englund received his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University. He has been a member of the CWU mathematics faculty since 1998. His current primary research interests include interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues in Nutrition and Health Sciences examining elementary school lunches. Previously, his research focused on the representation theory of Chevalley groups.</p><p>A dedicated ultramarathoner, Englund routinely participates in 50-mile (and longer) competitions. He recently raced—and won—the Big’s Backyard Ultra in Tennessee. Englund outlasted the field of 40 runners by running a total of 145.8 miles over a span of 35 consecutive hours. Big’s Backyard Ultra was a last-man-standing format, which is different than most ultras. The event was started as a fundraiser to help pay vet bills for an injured pit bull named Big.</p><p>The College of the Sciences is comprised of thirteen academic departments and eleven interdisciplinary programs in the natural, behavioral, social, and computational sciences. The college is also home to a number of affiliated programs focused on education, student learning, and research projects. The college currently consists of 170 full- and 62 part-time faculty and 40 staff located on the main campus in Ellensburg and at the Des Moines, Lynnwood, Moses Lake, Pierce, Wenatchee, and Yakima University Centers.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br>Free Program Helps Parents Understand, Have Fun with the New Math, 20 Apr 2015 15:19:51<p>Parents, are you having trouble helping your elementary or middle school student with math? Registration is now open for a free program at Lincoln Elementary School to bring together elementary students, parents, college students, and CWU faculty to engage in new methods for learning math.</p><p>Led by Central Washington University mathematics professors, the Math Circle begins on May 5, and will be held 6:30 to 7:30 every Tuesday evening through June 2. The program is designed for fourth- and fifth-graders and their parents. The Kittitas Valley Math Circle is part of a national movement that brings together faculty, students, and community members to have fun together doing math.</p><p>The Kittitas Valley Math Circle is special in that it will have two parts, one for elementary school students, and a separate session for their parents.</p><p>“I have colleagues at Central who have trouble understanding their children’s math homework.” said Dominic Klyve, CWU math professor, “It doesn’t look like the math they learned themselves.”</p><p>Students will have a blast playing games that will also help them understand math better.</p><p>Parents throughout Kittitas County and central Washington are encouraged to apply—“We’d love to see people from Yakima, if they’re willing to make the drive,” said Klyve.</p><p>The Math Circle will be taught by mathematics faculty Brandy Wiegers, Founding Director of the National Organization of Math Circles; Klyve; Janet Shiver;and Allyson Rogan-Klyve. Six undergraduate mathematics majors will also help with the program.</p><p>The class is limited to the first 30 students who apply. People may register for the program through May 5, at</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>April 20, 2015</p></br>Solve the Clues and Break the Code! Register for Kryptos by April 16, 14 Apr 2015 13:06:47<p>Codes, ciphers and secret encryptions have protected and hidden vital information for centuries—and are an important factor in our age of encryption and password protection. Enter the annual Kryptos Competition and see if you have what it takes to be a code breaker!</p><p>The 2015 Kryptos Competition runs from April 16 to April 20. Registration is open and will remain open until noon on April 16. Register at</p><p>When the contest begins at 4:00 p.m. on April 16, the Cipher Challenges will be available at the website noted above. Solutions need to be submitted by 4:00 p.m. April 20. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.</p><p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 448px; height: 252px;"></p><p>The Kryptos competition is a unique codebreaking challenge developed by Central Washington University mathematics professor Stuart Boersma, and his colleague, Cheryl Beaver, a Western Oregon University mathematics professor. Open to undergraduate students, Kryptos is centered on the breaking, or cryptanalysis, of ciphers (secret writing). Each challenge presents contestants with a brief scenario together with some ciphertext (encoded message). The goal is to discover the original English plaintext message.</p><p>“Although this is primarily for college undergraduates, I certainly welcome contestants from high schools,” said Boersma. “While most of our students are from the Pacific Northwest, since this is an online contest, people can enter from just about anywhere in the world.”</p><p>Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor to register. Last year, there were nearly 100 entrants and this year is on pace for the greatest number of participants ever.</p><p>For more information, go to the Kryptos website,, or e-mail Stuart Boersma,</p><p>The contest is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest section of the Mathematical Association of America.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p></br>CWU Math Modelers Among Best in the World, 22 Apr 2014 14:53:56<p>At the 2014 Mathematical Competition in Modeling (MCM), teams from Central Washington University earned rankings in the top 10 percent of more than 6,700 universities and colleges from all over the world. Both CWU teams earned a Meritorious ranking—one of the highest honors teams can receive. CWU was one of only three schools in the United States in which all the teams were rated as Meritorious.</p><p>“I’ve known that our students were exceptional, but to see both teams score this high is really extraordinary,” said James Bisgard, mathematics professor and the advisor to CWU’s modeling teams. “In the seven years I’ve advised teams, we’ve had a total of ten teams compete.”</p><p>The MCM is an annual international competition, with teams of three students developing and analyzing mathematical models to address real world questions. This year's competition had a choice of two challenges. In one, the team would develop a ranking for college coaches over all sports and times periods. In another, the team would develop a model for traffic flow determining whether or not the keep-right-except-to-pass rule is useful.&nbsp;</p><p>The two MCM teams chose different problems. The team of John-Paul Mann, Nathan Minor, and Benjamin J. Squire chose Problem A, the Keep-Right-Except-To-Pass-Rule. Adam Brand, Albany Thompson, and Nathaniel Deardorff chose Problem B, College Coaching Legends.</p><p>“The MCM is one of the greatest opportunities I've been involved with thus far in my college career,” said John-Paul Mann, a senior who is majoring in both mathematics and physics. “It provided a great opportunity to apply all the skills I've developed throughout my studies, including math, physics, logic, data analysis, effective essay writing, and most importantly team collaboration. Having all our hard work and hours pay off with a great standing in the competition wasn't too bad either.”</p><p>Such problems are exceptionally difficult, because of the inherent vagueness of “best” or “useful.” As a result, there is no single right answer for these types of problems. Teams are judged by the cleverness of their model, as well as how well they communicate their model and its results in a written report.</p><p>The MCM competition lasts only 96 hours: from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday until 5:00 p.m. the following Monday (Pacific Standard Time). Teams must work almost around the clock to develop a model and to write a report. This year’s competition was held February 6-10 and judging was completed in March. The results will be posted on April 29.</p><p>The MCM is sponsored by COMAP, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>&nbsp;</p></br>