Department News

Brauss Awarded Research Stipend

Dr. Daniel Brauss was recently awarded a 2018 Francis Marion Summer Research Stipend. The stipend is given annually to support faculty scholarship. Dr. Brauss will continue his research in magnetohydrodynamics this summer. Congratulations, Dr. Brauss. We look forward to hearing about your results!

Photo of Daniel Brauss

Faculty Attend Conference in Charlotte

Dr. Minerva Brauss, Dr. Sophia Waymyers and Dr. Nicole Panza attended the Carolina Women in Mathematics Symposium at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte on Saturday, September 16, 2017. They attended a keynote address, professional development sessions and talks given by other female mathematicians from both Carolinas. Dr. Brauss presented a talk entitled “Job Satisfaction Factors influencing Mentorship of STEM vs. Non-STEM faculty.” Dr. Panza presented a talk entitled “A Follicle Wave Model with Applications.”

2017-2018 Math Club Officers

During the September 15, 2017 Math Club meeting, club members elected the 2017-2018 officers. Math Club President is Chace Covington and Vice-President is Nicholas Tomlinson. Congratulations to both Chace and Nicholas!

Math Major Stars in The Patriot

Senior Math and Computational Physics major April Garrity was featured in the August 31, 2017 issue of The Patriot. The article discusses April’s research and participation in summer programs in preparation for entering graduate school for nuclear astrophysics. The article can be read online via The Patriot website. Keep reaching for the stars, April!

Faculty Featured in Local Publication

Dr. Sharon O’Kelley was recently featured in an article in She Magazine. She is published out of Florence, SC. The August 2017 issue had a back to school theme. Current FM student Morgan Rogers recognized Dr. O’Kelley as an inspiring educator. The full article can be read online for free in She.

Photo of professor O Kelley

Department Welcomes New Faculty

The Department of Mathematics is proud to announce the hiring of five new faculty members. Dr. Daniel Brauss is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics who earned his Ph.D in Mathematics from Auburn University. Dr. Minerva Brauss is an Instructor of Mathematics who earned her Ph.D in Administration in Higher Education from Auburn University. Dr. Kevin LoPresto is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics who earned his Ph.D in Mathematics Education from the University of Texas- Austin. Mr. Lee Phillips is an Instructor of Mathematics who earned his Masters in Mathematical Science from Clemson University. Mrs. Valeria Hyatt is an Instructor of Mathematics who earned her Masters in Mathematics Education from Francis Marion University. Welcome to the Francis Marion Faculty!

Four new faculty members for the 2017-2018 school year

Students and Faculty Attend MathFest

Dr. Thomas Fitzkee, Dr. Nicole Panza, current FM student Taylor Watson and 2017 FM graduates Mercedes Gainey and Olivia Wilkes attended the Mathematics Association of America’s (MAA) national summer meeting, MathFest. The meeting was held in Chicago, Illinois from July 26-29, 2017. The students presented a poster in the PIC Math (Preparation for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences) session at the conference. Their poster entitled “Mathematical Model for MITRE’s Hiring Process” explains their work and results in conjunction with MITRE on the benefits and downsides of promoting employees from within versus hiring from outside. The poster is a result of their work in the PIC Math course at FM which was instructed by Dr. Fitzkee. Dr. Panza gave a talk entitled “Project Math TRACK” about her work with the professional development program by the same name. She also completed her year as a MAA Project NExT Fellow and participated in graduation ceremonies.

People standing beside poster board at Math Fest '03
Photo of the Math Fest in Chicago '03

Retirement and Promotion

Mathematics Professors Bill Whitmire and Tommy Ramey retired at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Both were promoted to the status of professor emeritus. Dr. Whitmire has been with the Department of Mathematics at Francis Marion since 1997 while Dr. Ramey has been with the University since 1974. Both were recipients of the University’s award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Ramey was awarded in 2001 and Dr. Whitmire was awarded in 2008. Dr. Ramey was also the recipient of the 2017 AAUP Shared Governance Award and was named a FM Distinguished Professor in 2005. The Department of Mathematics is grateful for their excellence in teaching and dedication to the University and wishes them both the best in their retirement. Congratulations!

Professor Ramey on a porch

Mathematics Class of 2017

On Saturday May 6, 2017, Francis Marion University celebrated commencement and an impressive group of mathematics majors and minors received their degrees. Nine mathematics majors completed their courses of study. They are Amy Benton, Mercedes Gainey, Teryese Grant, Kendrick Hardison, Alexander Joyce, Jackson McDonald, Mary Mulholland, Javren Rodriguez and Tina Watrous. Three of these majors, Joyce, McDonald and Mulholland, graduated Summa Cum Laude, achieving a cumulative GPA between 3.9 and 4.0. In addition, Mulholland graduated with University Honors. The Department of Mathematics congratulates all of our graduates and wishes them well in their future endeavors. We encourage all alumni to keep us up-to-date on their lives using the form on our alumni page.

Math students at graduation in Spring 2017

Faculty Tenured and Promoted

Dr. Julian Buck was recently awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. Dr. Buck has been with the math department at Francis Marion since 2010. Congratulations, Dr. Buck!

Photo of professor Buck

Ramey Recognized for Outstanding Work

Mathematics Professor Tommy Ramey was recognized by the University faculty at the annual faculty recognition banquet. Dr. Ramey was awarded the 2017 Charlene Wages Shared Governance Award. The award is given annually on behalf of the FM chapter of AAUP. Congratulations!

Ramey holding an award

2017-2018 Allen Mathematics Scholarship

Every year the Mathematics Department selects a returning student to receive Allen Mathematics Scholarship in honor of Professor Emeritus Dr. Roger Allen. This year’s recipient is April Garrity. Congratulations, April!

Mathematics Students Honored

Each Spring at the University academic awards ceremony, outstanding students in every campus department are honored. This year, the Mathematics faculty selected three graduating senior mathematics majors to receive the 2017 Mathematics Award. They are Alexander Joyce, Jackson McDonald and Mary Mulholland. Congratulations!

Three students holding their awards

Fitzkee Elected Treasurer

Mathematics Department Chair Dr. Thomas Fitzkee was elected treasurer of the Southeastern Section of the Mathematics Association of America. The Southeastern Section focuses on advancing the mathematical sciences within Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina , South Carolina and Tennessee at all levels of study. Dr. Fitzkee will proudly serve a three-year term until 2020.

Mathematics Department Hosts Conference and State Dinner

On Friday, March 24, 2017, the Department of Mathematics proudly hosted its annual Francis Marion Undergraduate Mathematics Conference. The conference was well attended by students and faculty from colleges and universities in the region. Students participated in Math Jeopardy and gave talks about their mathematics work. The keynote address, “Top Secret: The History of Women in Computing,” was delivered by Dr. Jenna Carpenter, Dean of the School of Engineering at Campbell University. The Department also hosted the MAA State Dinner of South Carolina for the second year in a row. The dinner provides an opportunity for mathematicians throughout the state to discuss their field of study beyond the borders of their home campuses. For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Nicole Panza, Conference Director.

Nine students holding their certificates at the FMU Math Conference

Graduating Senior Presents Research

Senior mathematics major, Jackson McDonald, presented his research “The Interplay of Pythagorean Religion and Mathematics” at the 2017 Kennesaw Mountain Undergraduate Mathematics Conference on February 18. Jackson’s work is part of a senior thesis funded by a R.E.A.L. Grant under the direction of Dr. Sharon K. O’Kelley.

McDonald standing in from of Pythagorean Religion and Mathematics sign

Students and Faculty Find Inspiration in Nebraska

Current seniors Mercedes Gainey and Tina Watrous and FM Faculty Dr. Nicole Panza traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics from February 3-5, 2017. This year, 242 undergraduate students from 132 schools attended the conference. The conference included keynote speakers, panels on careers in mathematics and graduate school, student talks and poster presentations and breakout sessions on various topics. The part of the conference that all three FM attendees enjoyed most was interacting with other female mathematicians from around the country.

Two people standing in front of "Welcome to Omaha" sign

Students and Faculty Attend JMM 2017

The Joint Mathematics Meetings hosted by both the MAA and AMS were held from January 4-7 in Atlanta, GA. Department faculty members Drs. Buck, Fitzkee, Newman and Panza attended the conference along with three current students, Salome’ Chavez, Chace Covington and Alexander Joyce.

Math students in the car traveling to JMM

Department Hosts Annual Tournament

The 40th Pee Dee Regional High School Mathematics Tournament was held on the campus of Francis Marion University on December 6, 2016. The Department of Mathematics was proud to host 362 high school students representing 21 schools from 8 different counties for a whole day of mathematics. The students participated in a written competition, stage competition and plenary address given by Dr. Ginger Bryngelson of the Physics Department. This year’s school champions are Marion High School for Division I, Scholar’s Academy for Division II and Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School for Division III. Awards for individual students go to first place mathematician Eric Zhang from Scholars Academy, second place mathematician Neil Dey from Wilson High School and third place mathematician Dashiell Stevanovich from Scholars Academy. The 41st Tournament will be held on December 5, 2017.

Trophies at the Pee Dee Math Tournament

Five Students Inducted into Kappa Mu Epsilon

On November 30, 2016, five current Francis Marion students were inducted into Kappa Mu Epsilon, a national honor society in mathematics. Students with exceptional overall GPA and GPA in math courses above the Calculus I level are eligible for membership. The student inductees are Amy Benton, Chace Covington, April Garrity, Alexis Glover, and Nicholas Tomlinson. The induction ceremony and reception were held in the Lee Nursing Building and was attended by many friends, family and math faculty of the those inducted. Congratulations to the Kappa Mu Epsilon inductees for 2016!

Five inductees standing on the Lee Nursing building staircase

Faculty and Students attend Regional Conference

On November 10-11, 2016 the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (SCCTM) held its annual fall conference in Greenville, South Carolina. The meeting was presided over by current SCCTM President and Francis Marion Math Faculty member Dr. Bill Whitmire. Three department faculty members gave talks during the conference. Dr. James T. Ramey, Jr. spoke on Math in Comic Strips and Games. Dr. George E. Schnibben gave a talk entitled “Enlivening Your Mathematical Lectures with History.” Dr. Sharon K. O’Kelley presented “Using the History of Mathematics to Help Students Learn Math.” Five current Francis Marion University students served as pages assisting with the conference. They are Teryese Grant, Cindy Quick, Caitlin Demers, Avery Moore and Lauren Foley.