Math Matters news roundup

Looking down at Jennifer Newman next to her laptop and a pile of mobile phones.
Jennifer Newman is building a database of mobile phone images to improve the detection of steganography. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Reaching out to build up

Michael Young, associate professor of mathematics, is leading “Building on Strengths,” an initiative to support students of color in mathematics. The NSF-funded project will create a network of mathematicians of color from both higher education and industry settings who can mentor and share their knowledge with K-12 students of color and their teachers.

For this and his numerous other efforts toward equity, Young was honored by the Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing One Community Award.

Iowa State is building on its tradition of support for women in mathematics. This year Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) teamed up with Mathematicians of Color Alliance (MOCA) to host a speaker series inviting women to share their experiences and research in mathematics. In addition, a chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) was established on campus.

Exceptional students, faculty and research

This year at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, Shanise Walker, a graduate student in mathematics, was a winner in the Association of Women in Mathematics poster session for her research “Injective choosability of subcubic planar graphs with girth 6.” Misa Hamanaka (’20 mathematics) presented research from her First-Year Honors Program. The research, “Graphs with at most two trees in a forest building process,” was done jointly with Marie Hardt (’19 mathematics) and Steve Butler, an associate professor, who served as faculty mentor.

Steve Butler was recognized this year for his dedication to student success, exceptional teaching and his excellence in research with the Barbara J. Janson professorship in mathematics.

Forensic Magazine mentioned Jennifer Newman, associate professor of mathematics, for her research leading a team in the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensice Evidence (CSAFE). The team is building a database of mobile phone images, some with hidden information, or steganography. It is the first step in an effort to improve the detection of steganography by forensic investigators due to its potential use in corporate espionage, terrorism and other criminal activity.