Department of Mathematics Day Attracts Campus-wide Audience

Team Square Up Christy Nakad Nipun Amarasinghe Jose Lopez Catie Corchado won the Math Jeopardy contest

Whoever said math is boring has never attended Fresno State’s Department of Mathematics Day (DMD).

The Nov 17 event was packed with edifying and fun activities, including Math Jeopardy, where teams of student mathematicians went head-to-head in a battle of solving math problems; Ignite Talks, which provided the audience with insightful 5-minute presentations on various topics; MTG-Math Got Talent show, Student Mini-Conference, and a variety of enjoyable activities like table poker also took center stage, crowning the well-calculated fun to the day.

“The main scope of the event is to build community and share our common love for mathematics,” Dr. Carmen Caprau, Chair Department of Mathematics. 

Assistant Professor Dr. Earvin Balderama, one of the event organizers, said the 9th annual DMD attracted a larger crowd than last year, with almost 60 percent of attendees being non-mathematics majors.

“We enjoy learning and teaching math, but we also enjoy eating food, playing games, and practicing other talents!” Balderama said. 

Perhaps to cement DMD as a mathematics event, Balderama, a statistics professor, noted there were 5 Garcias and 3 Isaacs out of over 141 RSVPs, a fun detail demonstrating the real-life application of stats.

Contest winners

Three teams competed in the Math Jeopardy contest, working together to solve not-too-easy problems.

Team Square-Up, composed of Christy Nakad, Nipun Amarasinghe, Jose Lopez, and Catie Corchado, won the contest, raking in 12572 points.

Undergraduate students Mikayla Leggett and Mateo Camargo won the Outstanding Student Presentations Awards.

Olivia Soghomonian and Audrey Baumheckel received outstanding presentation awards in the graduate student category. Soghomonian gave a talk entitled Cantor-Like Sets and the Takagi Function, and Baumheckel gave a presentation entitled An Exploration of very triangular numbers.

Graduate student Dillon Allen and undergraduate Karen Macias received honorable mentions for the presentations entitled. Dillon’s presentation was entitled Zeros of Sums of Polynomials Satisfying a Three-Term Non-Contiguous Recurrence Relation and Macias’ gave a thought-provoking talk entitled: Money, Plague, and Beer: The Real Influences Behind Probability Theory.”

Giving a nod to future mathematicians, DMD also awarded certificates to three students who won the High School Problem-Solving Competition. The students were the best among 18 participants challenged to solve 6 problems in 2 hours.

The high school winners are:

1st: Michelle Nogin (Clovis North HS, 10th grade)
2nd: Katherine Nogin (Clovis North HS, 12th grade)
3rd: Mathew Aldape-Irvin (Clovis HS, 11th grade)

Students were also awarded in the Adnan H. Sabuwala Problem Solving Competition. The annual math contest is open to all Fresno State students and the winner of the High School Problem-Solving Competition. This year’s event was held on Nov 9.  The participants worked on 6 challenging problems for 2 hours and the following students came on top.

1st: Nipun Amarasinghe (math major, senior)
2nd: Michelle Nogin (Clovis North HS, 10th grade)
3rd: tie – Alvaro Magdaleno (math major, senior) and Michael Santos (physics major, senior)
Michelle Nogin, a 10th grader at Clovis North, who won the high school competition, achieved 2nd place in the college-level competition, solidifying her reputation as a respected mathematician.
“DMD is not just a celebration of math. It’s a celebration of the hard work our students have done and go through every day and the faculty and staff that support them in this department,” Dr. Earvin Balderama, Assistant Professor of Statistics. 

Talent Show

The Math Got Talent event attracted several students and faculty, with Thomas Cha scooping the Best Performance Candy Cup trophy for his piano performance of River Flows in You (Yiruma).

Faculty also performed in the talent show, Dr. Mario Bencomo, who delivered a mesmerizing Mexican karaoke rendition of Ella, meaning her, a mariachi ranchera song by Jose Alfredo Jimenez.

The DMD Vision

Balderama underscored the purpose of the event.

“DMD is not just a celebration of Math. It’s a celebration of the hard work our students have done and go through every day and the faculty and staff that support them in this department,” Balderama said.

He lauded everyone who helped to organize the successful event, saying it involved teamwork and reflected their commitment to students’ overall success. 

He added that DMD aims to showcase the department’s values of enjoying math and diverse activities, emphasizing that anyone can appreciate math’s beauty and practicality.

“We would not organize such an event if not for our students, and each of us cares deeply about the success of our students in and out of the classroom,” Balderama said. 

Dr. Carmen Caprau, Department of Mathematics Chair, shared her vision for DMD. 

“The main scope of the event is to build community and share our common love for mathematics,” Caprau said.

Balderama encouraged more students to embrace math.

“While math can sometimes be challenging, it can also be very rewarding,” Balderama said. “We want to show that anyone can ‘do math’ or at least have a profound appreciation for math and the wonderful things one can do with it.” 

Dr. Chris Meyer, the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) dean and associate dean Dr. Jason Bush attended the event.