Several Math majors engaging in research with faculty


Photo credit/ Photo credit Paul Capoccia

Senior Math major Travis Pitchford (left) and Computer Science professor Dr. Zaixin Lu (right) stand next to their wireless power transfer apparatus.

Paul Capoccia, Community Editor

Marywood’s Math majors are striving for excellence in the classroom and outside of it in their research.

Currently, Math department seniors Josh Carey, Travis Pitchford, and junior Susan Durand are working on multiple projects with several of the professors.

Josh Carey and Susan Durand are working together with Dr. Craig Johnson, professor of Mathematics, on modeling the arctic ice change using linear algebra in addition to their independent research. Carey is working with Dr. Thomas Kent, assistant professor of Mathematics, and Durand is also working with Kent and a biologist from the University of Scranton on modeling ant behavior.

“It is already known that ants use pheromones and an internal magnetic compass as navigation tools, so our research is exploring the ways in which ants use visual clues, such as landmarks, to orient themselves and find their nest,” said Durand.

Pitchford is collaborating with Dr. Zaixin Lu, the first professor of Marywood University’s new Computer Science department. They are involved with wireless power transfer and wireless sensor networks. That is, working with powering things like a battery or even a computer using a wireless signal.

The field of wireless power transfer is a new and changing field, a field which Pitchford is excited to be a part of.

“I like programming so much because the things I work on and build nobody else has done before,” said Travis, “Even for my job and research now, I’m building a system in a way that probably no other individual has done. That’s exciting to me.”

His professor and colleague, Dr. Lu, agreed. He continues to be excited about working alongside his students.

“We must encourage and reward our students to do research and think creatively and critically.” said Dr. Lu. “We must foster the ability to analyze phenomenons and complicated problems. Only in this way can they constantly make progress [in their education].”

As the Math department and the new Computer Science department continue to work together and independently, Dr. Chaogui Zhang, chairperson of the Math department, said he has a lot to be proud of and hopes to keep this research going.

“I think it is critically important for undergraduate students to have the opportunity to engage in research projects because it will reinforce their learning, provide a window to see some of the exciting things faculty may be working on, and lead the students to the forefront of creating and sharing new knowledge,” said Zhang.

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