Bethany, OK - The 13th Annual Texas/Oklahoma Regional Undergraduate Symposium (TORUS) was held Saturday, February 23, 2019 on the campus of Southern Nazarene University (SNU) in Bethany, OK. Rotating yearly between member universities, the conference provides undergraduate research presentation, learning, and networking opportunities for undergraduate mathematics majors and their faculty.
Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF-16-550), the conference was co-hosted by the Math Departments of Abilene Christian University, Cameron University, East Central University, Midwestern State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma and SNU. Over 75 people attended this year’s conference, including students and faculty from universities in Oklahoma and Texas..
“It was thrilling to see a large contingent of math students and faculty from the Oklahoma/Texas region come to campus for the annual TORUS conference to collaborate and learn together as well as celebrate the beauty and intrigue of mathematics,” remarked Dr. Mark Winslow, SNU Dean of the College of Natural, Social, and Health Sciences.
Dr. Kristi Karber, University of Central Oklahoma, opened the conference with her keynote address on Priming Our Minds With Primes to Keep Us in Our Prime, an exploration of how prime numbers have emerged in the world around us. Mr. Charles Armstrong, NASA/Johnson Space Center (retired), presented the second keynote address, A Brief Sampling of the Use of Mathematics in the Exploration of Space, touching on a few ways mathematics is used in our exploration of space.
Activities for the conference included a by-invitation opportunity for undergraduate students to present the results of their math research projects, and a career panel featuring four speakers from various corporations talking about careers available to math majors. Among the presenters at this year’s student talks was SNU student Joshua Crouch, presenting the results of his 2018 summer research at Penn State University.
“The most important benefit of these undergraduate conferences is the experience our students have in presenting a paper,” said Laura Jergensen, SNU mathematics instructor. “The process of doing research, articulating their findings, and then speaking to a group while being prepared to answer questions that arise is invaluable.”
Other activities at TORUS included a Math Jeopardy competition. The SNU team and a team from Tarleton State University shared first place in this competition. Students Joshua Crouch and Aaron Couch were part of the winning SNU team, named SNUton's Laws of Motion.