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2018 Annual Winter Research Symposium

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Winter Research Symposium graduate student participants pictured with Dr. Braun (top left) and Dr. Liaw (bottom center)

WRS faculty and graduate students listed top row (left to right):  Dr Braun, Michael Bush and Thomas Brown; bottom row (left to right): Emily Bergman, Dr. Liaw and Lan Zhong

​The ninth annual Department of Mathematical Sciences Winter Research Symposium (WRS) was held Friday February 9th in Gore Hall.  Dr. Rakesh, Acting Associate Chair of the Department, opened the event by noting the important contributions of the graduate students to the event.  About 100 attended the event, including faculty, graduate students, family, friends and recruits for the coming year.

A number of departmental prizes were given at the start of the event.  The winners of the AWM travel awards were announced by Assistant Professor Dr. Constanze Liaw: Emily Bergman and Michael Bush each were awarded travel reimbursements.  Dr. Richard Braun, Professor and Director of Graduate studies, awarded the Wenbo Li Scholarship.  The award is in memory of Dr. Wenbo Li, a Professor in the department who passed suddenly five years ago.  This cash prize recognizes an outstanding paper that is primarily authored by a graduate student.  This year, the prize was awarded to two students.  Mr. Thomas Brown won for the paper “Evolution of semidiscrete system modeling the scattering of acoustic waves by a piezoelectric solid” and Ms Lan Zhong won for the paper "Mathematical modelling of glob-driven tear film breakup."

There were eight talks given by graduate students: of these, six were senior students prs (K. Alton, Z. Bailey, S. Cowall, A. Hungria, M. McGinnis, Yinxiang Zhou) and as well a the two prize recipients (T. Brown and L. Zhong).   There were also 12 posters presented; this large number indicates the health and growth of the program.

Finally, there was also an invited alumni talk.  The speaker this year was Dr. Kara Maki.   Dr. Maki, currently an associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT),  received her Ph.D.  in applied mathematics from the Department of Mathematical Sciences under the direction of Dr. Braun in 2009.  Her thesis topic was computational models for tear film dynamics.    After completing her Ph.D., Dr Maki spent two-years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty at RIT.  Dr. Maki spoke on the topic of her current research: A Mathematical Study of the Influence of a Blink. Most of the talk described a model for the interaction of the tear film with a contact lens; with support from Bausch and Lomb, she has developed what may be the most successful model explaining how a contact lens centers itself.

At the end of the WRS, awards for best posters were given; these awards consisted of travel reimbursement.  The posters were judged by visiting faculty in the Department using a detailed rubric. The Two Best Poster awardees were: Mr. Kristopher Hollingsworth and Mr. Hua Chen.  Honorable mention went to Mr. Samuel Cogar and Ms. Emma Pollard.

The event made a good impression on the recruits.  One recruit commented to Dr. Braun about how professional the talks were; he couldn't believe that students were giving them.  The faculty is proud to have helped these students make the journey to completing their theses and starting their professional careers.

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​The ninth annual Department of Mathematical Sciences Winter Research Symposium (WRS) was held Friday February 9th in Gore Hall.
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