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Examples of recent student-faculty research in the department:

  • Dr. Vira Babenko worked with students Nicole Lacey and Isaak Mouring on a research project to study techniques for mitigating the spread of Streptococcus Pharyngitis. Students developed logistic and compartmental SIR models for the spread of strep in two freshman dorms at Drake University and presented results at MUMS and DUCURS conferences.
  • Dr. Enes Akbuga’s research focuses on student cognitive aspects and motivations when learning mathematics. In particular, he uses the APOS theory to investigate and reveal mental structures in student thinking during learning calculus. In addition, his research includes designing motivational interventions related to student performance expectations, utility-value, and interest.
  • Dr. Becklin's most recent research Spring 2023 with students, Jared Hess and Anna Thompson, focused on an Agent Based Model with the goal of predicting the nationwide impact of California’s upcoming ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles.
  • Dr. Josh Carlson and students, Jacob King, Nicole Lacey, and John Petrucci. Hopping Forcing on Graphs. There are many combinatorial games played on graphs that can be used to model the spread of information throughout a network. In particular, zero forcing, is a widely studied game that uses a color change rule to iteratively force vertices in a graph to become blue. In this project, we study a variant of zero forcing called "hopping". In general, we try to understand how the spread of information can be optimized by either minimizing the required initial resources, minimizing the time taken for information to spread, or some combination of both.
  • Dr. Terrance Pendleton, in conjunction with EMRG (Early Mathematician Research Group), has participated in the following research projects with undergraduate students: How music goes viral on social media, how to create sustainable single use coffee cups, how to quantify the influence of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, how to quantify the level of protection garnered by helmet use in football and how to identify key parameters that have the greatest affect on the ability to purchase a home.

Selected Faculty Research & Publications:

  • Dr. Maryann Huey partnered with two students, Patrick Silvey and Asa Fisher, to study the effects of implementing standards-based grading policies on student performance, practice work completion rates, and students’ perceptions in geometry courses. The associated article was recently published in Educational Studies 
  • Dr. Maryann Huey, Dr. Dan Alexander and secondary mathematics education student, Ellie Soosloff, developed a new approach to teaching Taylor Series in calculus courses, studied implementation of the method on student thinking, and published the results in PRIMUS.
  • Dr. Terrance Pendleton with undergraduate student Jonathan Engle submitted a publication entitled A Mathematical Model for the Spread of Gentrification throughout Des Moines to the Journal of Modeling and Differential Equations.
  • Dr. Hyejin Park and two undergraduate students, Sam Trujillo and Katelynn Bender, are currently examining teachers’ learning about mathematics using programming and robotics, focusing on argumentation.
  • Park, H., Boz, T., Sawyer.  A., & Willingham, J. C. (2023, May, in press). Triangle explorations and constructions using robots. Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12, 5(116), pages
  • Kim, C., Gleasman, C., Boz, T., Park, H., & Foutz, T. (2022). Learning to teach coding through argumentation.  Computers and Education Open.
  • Park, H., Boz, T., & Kim, C. (2022). Elementary teachers’ conceptions of argumentation and their argument-based lesson designs for teaching both mathematics and programming.  In A. E. Lischka, E. B. Dyer, R. S. Jones, J. Lovett, J. Strayer & S. Drown (Eds.), Proceedings of the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 1469­–1473). Nashville, TN: Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Park, H., & Boz, T. (2022, October). Supporting Student Learning of Constructing Arguments in a Mathematics and Programming Integrated Class: Use of Toulmin’s Model of Argumentation. Session presented at the 2022 ICTM conference, Ankeny, IA.






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