According to research done by three senior math majors, math classes should be scheduled for the afternoon and the number of students enrolled in the class should be between 24 and 29. The women presented their statistical research at the 15th Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics Jan. 25-27.
The students who presented the results of their research are Lauren Akin, Whitney Turner, and Leah Wright. Jamie Holtin, instructor of mathematics and computer science, supervised the research and accompanied the students to the conference. The presentation covered data collected from general education mathematics classes spanning a two-year period. According to their data, the length of a class period showed no statistical significance.
The plenary speakers at the conference were Rekha Thomas and Cathy O’Neil. Thomas received her PhD in Operations Research from Cornell University. She is currently a math professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. O’Neil taught mathematics at Barnard College before working as an analyst for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. She then proceeded to join Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the SEC in hopes of devising an alternate banking system. She is known in the mathematics community for her blog “Mathbabe,” a site intended to explain and simplify the confusing terminology and practices found in the financial system.
Akin said she particularly enjoyed learning about careers other than education that are available for women with math degrees.
Holtin intends to continue the research this semester by adding last semester’s data and examining the effect the use of technology has on a class.