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UW-Eau Claire Math Students Receive Travel Grants to National Conference

RELEASED: Dec. 2, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — For the first time, four University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire mathematics students have received travel grants from the Mathematical Association of America to present their student-faculty collaborative research results at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings.

The national meetings are slated for Jan. 5-8, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Senior Mitch Phillipson, Chippewa Falls, and junior Emily Klungtvedt, Moorhead, Minn., each received $450. Junior Kaitlyn Hellenbrand, Middleton, and sophomore Mark Patrick Bauer, Spencer, each received $300.

Dr. Simei Tong, associate professor of mathematics and faculty mentor, said the department is proud of the students' achievements.

"We are excited that our students have reached the national level in undergraduate research and had three posters accepted by the conference, and also that they have received travel funding from the MAA," said Tong.

The students will present three research posters at the JMM.

Hellenbrand, Bauer and Klungtvedt will present "Optimizing Evacuation of Hospitals," a project they completed with Tong. The students helped design a mathematical model to better plan a hospital evacuation operation in an emergency situation, said Tong, noting the project is an excellent example of the university's engagement with the community.

Phillipson and Klungtvedt will present "Introduction to the Busemann-Petty Problem," which uses analytic methods for solving problems in convex geometry. The students, who worked on the project during the summer of 2008, were supported by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. They also attended a mathematics summer school at Kent State University, where they advanced their knowledge and met world-class researchers and mathematicians. Tong also was the faculty mentor for this project.

Phillipson will present "Extensions and Deformations of Associative Algebra," a project done by Phillipson, Eric Weber, Chris DeCleene, Dan Wackwitz and Lindsay Brunshidle, with faculty mentor Dr. Michael Penkava. Continuing the work of past researchers, the students classified associative algebra structures of dimensions 2 and 3.

The four students will receive support for travel costs from undergraduate student differential tuition funds managed by the ORSP at UW-Eau Claire.

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NW/JB

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