Colloquium 2/19: Dr. Ryan Jensen on Student Projects Involving Homology

As part of the R. W. Yeagy Colloquium Series, on Monday, February 19th at 3:30PM in Math Building 357, Dr. Ryan Jensen will be talking about Student Projects Involving Homology. This should be a great talk for all math majors and minors. (flyer in PDF form)

Abstract: We will talk about what the field of mathematics called algebraic topology. In particular, we will discuss bar-codes and how they can tell us information about spaces. Additionally, we will introduce problems involving bar-codes and algebraic topology in the following areas:

  • Polynomials
  • Pascal's triangle
  • Pascal's n-simplex
  • Shortest path connecting a set of points
  • Fourier series
  • Algebraic curves
  • Contour plots of complex functions
  • Sublevel sets of n-manifolds

February Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Brittney Falahola

Editor's Note: This is the first in a new series of spotlights on mathematics and statistics faculty. Dr. Falahola joined us in Fall 2017.

Do you have a hobby or collect something? How did you get into that?

My husband and I collect Christmas ornaments from all the places we visit together. We got our first ornament on our honeymoon and when we saw the same style of ornament in another location a year later, we decided it would be fun to try and find an ornament everywhere we went.

Tell us about an adventure you had, or would like to have.

One of the neat things about being in mathematics is all of the places it can take you (and most of the time for free!) As a student or professor of mathematics, I have visited Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and (of course) Texas! I look forward to more travels in the future.

What was one of your biggest successes or failures?

I'd have to say that having my daughter in May 2017 has been my biggest success so far in life. She is a joy and I feel blessed to be her momma.

What kind of music, books, movies, sports, games, cars, etc. (pick one or more) do you like? Any particular reason?

My favorite type of music to listen to is contemporary Christian music; it helps to keep me grounded in all of the busyness life can bring about.

I have only ever driven Ford vehicles since my dad is a big fan of Ford. I even got my husband to "come over to the Ford side" recently. He's a proud convert.

I love to play card and dice games with my family, but am extremely competitive so the emotional stakes are always quite high when I play.

Also, having grown up mostly in north Texas, I am a huge fan of football and can still be found cheering on my high school (Trinity HS, Euless, Texas), and undergraduate (Baylor) teams.

What do you study? How did you get into that? Are there any (real-world) applications of your area of study?

My field of study is commutative algebra, with an emphasis on characteristic p methods in homological algebra. I knew I wanted to study some form of abstract algebra after taking some courses in it in undergraduate and graduate school, and the specific topic came to my attention with the advice of my doctoral advisor.

I also have a budding interest in post-secondary mathematics education after being involved in a major pedagogical restructuring of precalculus courses at my previous university.

What projects (academic or not) are you currently working on?

I am currently in the contemplative stage of decorating my house. I look forward to finding the time to start and finish little projects all around the house.

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Do your best and let God do the rest!

Why Study Math at SFA?

Math&Stats Graduate Student Chance Bradford on "Why I Study Math at SFA"

About Us

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is a friendly and supportive place for our students. Our faculty are committed to excellence and continual improvement in teaching and advising students through our challenging curriculum:

Our math clubs are very active in hosting math talks and participating in conferences, fundraisers, and social activities.

We offer one of the leading certification programs in the state in mathematics teaching. The department proudly produces qualified teachers at all levels.

We offer dual-credit courses to local and rural schools and make visits to speak about mathematics and statistics.

Why study mathematics?

Mathematics is perhaps the most intellectually challenging and practical major you can choose. Some major in math for the enjoyment and beauty of the subject. Others major in math for its practicality and applicability to the sciences, engineering, finance, and even the social sciences. Mathematics develops rigorous analytical thinking skills that are prized in all fields of human endeavor.

Programs offered at SFA

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Secondary Teacher Certification
  • Minor in Mathematics
  • Minor in Applied Statistics
  • Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences with focus in
    • Mathematics
    • Statistics
  • Master of Science in School Mathematics Teaching with focus in
    • Middle-Level Teaching
    • Secondary Teaching

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is to attract and retain the best available scholars who actively pursue knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and/or mathematics education and who skillfully communicate their knowledge of the subject to their students, colleagues, and the community as a whole.

Specific roles of the Department are:

  1. To provide a sound curriculum for students who wish to pursue a career in mathematics or statistics in business and industry;
  2. To provide service courses for students who are majoring in some other department, but who need mathematics or statistics as a tool or to satisfy general degree requirements;
  3. To offer preparation to those who are planning to pursue a graduate degree;
  4. To prepare teachers for positions in colleges, universities, and public or private schools.