Lebanon Valley College AfterMath

Faculty Summer News

The faculty of the Department of Mathematical Sciences have kept busy this summer! Here are some updates from each of us. Stay tuned for news about our students’ internships and other summer work!

Faculty News:

Professor Brewer, with the help of the other faculty in the department, along with the input of many firms in the area and in the state, is working on the design of a major in Finance. We hope to share details of the program soon.

Professors Yarnall and Fry are busy planning a redesign of the computer science major to focus on computational data science. We’re all excited to see a new, focused computer science major which is tightly integrated with the mathematical strengths of the department.

Dr. Fry and Dr. Yarnall working on the CSC lab server.

Dr. Fry and Dr. Yarnall working on the CSC lab server.

The Mathematical Physics Research Group wrapped up a successful summer. Professor Lyons and physics professor Scott Walck worked with students Chase Yetter ’17 and Dan Upchurch ’16. We’ll have news about their work soon!

The Mathematical Physics Research Group hard at work.

The Mathematical Physics Research Group hard at work.

As part of his sabbatical leave this past semester, Professor Lyons visited and gave presentations to quantum information research groups in Paris, Bristol (UK), and Cambridge (UK) in May, and presented at a conference in Seefeld (Austria) in July. 

Professor Droms has settled in after his first year in the department and is looking forward to contributing to the Actuarial Science program in the future. He passed the FM/2 exam at the end of the summer, and has also taken over the social media projects of the department. Be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Professors Lyons and Droms traveled to Portland, Oregon to attend MathFest. Professor Lyons gave a talk about the Mathematical Physics Research Group, and Professor Droms took part in Project NExT. Next year is the 100th year of the Mathematical Association of America, and MathFest 2015 will be in Washington, DC. We hope to have some students come along with us!

Professor Kolins traveled to a conference at the University of Vermont with the General Education Committee. He also spent time taking courses for his VEE requirements.

Professor Smith worked with Issac Lu ’15 on a summer study course. He also finished writing a paper on end-symmetric continued fractions and quadratic congruences.

The MAS faculty had some fun away from campus this summer as well. Professor Lyons returned from his sabbatical in Austria and went to a family reunion in North Carolina. Professor Droms spent a week camping, hiking, and biking in Acadia National Park in Maine. Professor Kolins visited family in Michigan and spent many days orienteering. Professor Brewer grew more food than all of Cleona could eat, and even added a few new garden beds in his front yard. Professor Smith celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary, and Professor Fry saw his daughter off to college. Our department secretary Susan helped her son buy a house.


Dr. Lyons and his wife Maria in Austria.


Dr. Kolins and Eddie Bergeron finishing at the 2014 US Orienteering Relay Championship.

Dr. Droms in Acadia National Park.

Dr. Droms in Acadia National Park.


Mathematical Sciences Welcomes New Faculty Member Sean Droms

Sean Droms joins us this year as a newest faculty member, having completed his PhD in mathematics from the University of Virginia. Sean introduces himself in his own words:

I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, outside of Harrisonburg. For my undergraduate degree in mathematics, I attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. I earned my doctorate at the Univeristy of Virginia, where I studied aspects 3- and 4-dimensional topology while getting involved with UVA’s Teaching Resource Center. I’m very excited to be joining the LVC community, which has been very welcoming and friendly. I’m particularly excited to be part of the mathematical sciences department. The enthusiasm the students and faculty have here is incredibly energizing. Off campus, I love to be outside, hiking, camping, or kayaking. I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with everyone in the upcoming school year and beyond!

Alumni News Item

From Dan Pitonyak ’08

I’ve been meaning to email for months now to update you on my job search. The last we talked I was finishing up my doctoral work and applying for a position at Lafayette.  The former went well but the latter unfortunately did not work out (along with other liberal arts college jobs I applied for).  I had the feeling most were looking for someone with some post-doc experience.  I also didn’t realized how in-demand these jobs are (over 120 people applied for the one at Lafayette).  I ended up accepting a 2-year post-doc at Brookhaven National Lab (on Long Island), which I start next Tuesday.  BNL is home to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and is very active in nuclear/hadronic physics research.  Perhaps in a few years I’ll be able to get one of these jobs at a small college.  But I’m excited to finally be done with graduate school and to start branching out a bit in my research.

LVC Mathematicians Conduct Number Theory Research through Arnold Experiential Grant Program

[This news item is reposted (with edits) from the Valley News section of the LVC web site.]

A trio of Lebanon Valley College mathematicians has spent the early part of their summer poring over data, applying their knowledge of number theory while trying to find number patterns that weren’t known to exist before. Isaac Lu ’15, Christina Doran ’15, and Dr. Barry Smith, assistant professor of mathematics, are hoping that the patterns they proved to exist might one day apply to a future science.

“Number theory is the purest area of mathematics and is only currently known to apply to cryptology – the science of secure communications,” Smith said. “Prior to the discovery of its application to cryptology, the people who worked in number theory did so for the joy of discovering patterns and logically establishing their validity. We hope the patterns will be elegant, surprising, and make us view numbers in a new way. If one day researchers discover an application for these patterns, then that’s just an added bonus.”

“The Foundations of Mathematics class provided the basics of this research,” said Lu, an actuarial science and mathematics double major from China. “We found patterns in quotients and learned how to generalize the pattern to apply to all types of numbers.”

“It’s really exciting for us,” said Doran, an actuarial science major from Warminster, Pa. “This was our first research project and having the chance to do research is a huge résumé builder. I’ll be completing an actuarial science internship next summer, so this is my chance to get real experience in applying what I’ve learned in the classroom.”

“If you’re thinking about graduate school, undergraduate research is a must,” Lu said. “It’s a worthy experience for students to further their education. Few people know how to do this type of mathematical science, and I feel very accomplished having completed this project.”

“Research is so much better than spending a summer working in a grocery store,” Doran said. “It’s a more relevant experience that gives me a taste of what I’ll actually be doing in my career.”

The research project, “Sequences of Quotients and Remainders in the Euclidian Algorithm,” was funded by the spring 2013 Edward H. Arnold and Jeanne Arnold Program for Experiential Learning research grants. It is one of 13 research and internship awards presented to Lebanon Valley College faculty and students this year.

“This project has spawned many other research ideas that we won’t have time to finish this summer,” Smith said. “We have many more ideas that would be great to start with additional funding to support collaborative student-faculty research.”

Alumni News Items

Here are a few alumni news items received since the end of the former AfterMath newsletter format.

From Eric McInturff ’12

After graduating last May, I moved to Hellertown PA (about 10 miles east of Allentown off I78) and rented a one bedroom apartment.  I’m  working at Chubb Insurance in Warren NJ, which leaves me with about a 45 minute one-way commute (without traffic).  I would have liked to live in NJ, but given how much higher the cost of living is, I probably won’t be able to comfortably afford it for at least a couple more years.  My girlfriend of 5 years moved in with me this past June, which thankfully has worked out great and gone very smoothly.  She’s finishing up her last semester at Kutztown University (doing some student teaching at a elementary school in Allentown).  I think we’ll probably be engaged by the end of the year.

 Work has gotten progressively better since I started in June of last year.  I’m at the global headquarters building in the actuarial loss reserving department.  Starting in that fast-paced, demanding environment has been very challenging.  It took several months before I began to understand the work I was being assigned.  Even after 15 months, I still feel like I have a lot left to learn, though I have gotten much more comfortable performing reserve analyses, making carried IBNR adjustments, and completing some of the other recurring tasks.  My work is reviewed by the worldwide senior vice president of reserving, and the chief actuary for the company also sits in my department, so learning first-hand from those individuals should benefit my career moving forward.

 As far as my actuarial exam status, I currently have Exams P, FM, MLC, MFE, and C, all three VEE’s, and I started working on the CAS modules earlier this summer.  I actually have my first CAS module exam next Friday, so hopefully that will go well.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been graduated for over a year now.  Living in the “real world” definitely has it’s advantages, but I do still miss aspects of college-life at LVC.

From Nathan Kearney ’12

I worked odd jobs over the Summer, traveling a bit and preparing for the big trip I took this Fall.  I went to the UK for 5 weeks, early October to early November.  Three of those weeks were with fellow LVC alum Joe Mancinelli (physics major, you may have had him for a Calc. III or Differential Equations class).  We went all over the country, from London to rural Scotland and back.  I got to do everything I missed from my study abroad, and even got to revisit some of my favorite places.  It was a great trip.

 Also, I’m renting a house in Baltimore city with a couple of friends from high school.  Now that I’m back from Europe and out of my parents house, it’s time to start the job search.  Last summer I had an internship in an IT department, and I got interested in doing that type of work for a living.

From Steven Campbell ’11

I just got a new job as the lead developer in a startup animation/game studio in Lancaster called Second Fiction.

From Jason Clay ’04

I’m no longer working for The Hartford Company.  It was a very tough decision for me, but I decided to try something new & different.  I am now the lead actuary at a small company called AIX Group, a subsidiary of The Hanover Insurance Group.  So I’ve got my own office now and 2 people working for me (hopefully 3 in the near future) and things are going well so far (I’ve only been here 4 weeks).   I’m still working on the major P&C lines, but AIX focuses on program business, which is just a different way of writing premium through agents that have a specialized niche, etc.

 The most exciting news is that my wife & I are expecting our first child in late August!  So 2013 is bringing a whole lot of “new” to the Clay family.

LVC Mathematical Physics publishes, presents

David Lyons and Scott Walck recently published “Entanglement verification using local unitary stabilizers” in the journal Physical Review A, volume 87, June 2013. This work was conducted with student research assistants in the LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group. Lyons also presented this work at the Central European Quantum Information Processing Workshop, held in Valtice, Czech Republic, June 2013. For a more information on activities of the mathphys group, see the web site.


Math and Physics Students Present Their Work at San Diego Math Conference


David Lyons, Kelsey Moore, Oliver Lyons, Ian Bond, Anthony Hoover


Students Ian Bond ’14 (Physics), Kelsey Moore ’15 (Actuarial Science), Anthony Hoover ’15 (Mathematics and Physics), and Oliver Lyons ’13 (Actuarial Science and Physics) presented their summer 2012 work with the LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group at the Joint Meetings of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America at the Undergraduate Research Poster Session, held in San Diego, on January 11th 2013. The research projects, in the field of quantum information science, were mentored by faculty members David Lyons (Mathematics) and Scott Walck (Physics). For more information, see the Math/Physics Research Group web site.