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K-State Today

September 29, 2011

University of Kansas mathematics professor to present colloquium today

By Communications and Marketing

Estela Gavosto, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, will present a colloquium at 2:30 this afternoon in 122 Cardwell Hall.

The colloquium, "Transitions in Mathematics: Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Curriculum Enhancements," will discuss the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development at the University of Kansas. The program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and designed to enhance the experience of a diverse group of students who are interested in pursuing graduate study and a research career in a field related to biomedical research including mathematics.

The program's successful mathematics curriculum enhancements and course Transitions in Mathematics, that the program developed, will be summarized. This is a one-semester individualized project-based course wherein mathematics research skills are developed, along with the necessary general mathematics background to successfully complete a math/science career. A main goal of this course is to offer a sound alternative for transfer students and for students who decide relatively late in their academic careers to go into mathematics or disciplines that are intensely based in mathematics. A main goal is that the students learn to think like researchers who use mathematics. They acquire the research skills to look for the mathematical knowledge and techniques and to apply them to other scientific topics on their own. Topics of the projects range from diffusion model in population genetics to analysis of ECG images or dynamics of enzyme kinetics.

Gavosto received her doctorate in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests are in complex dynamical systems in several variables and computer graphics visualization. Following postdoctoral positions at Princeton University and the University of Michigan, she joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1996.

Gavosto also works in mathematics and natural sciences education both at the undergraduate and graduate levels addressing the challenges faced by underrepresented groups of students. She served as the director of undergraduate studies and associate chair of the department of mathematics from 2000 to 2009. She has mentored trough research experiences numerous successful undergraduate students, including several Goldwater Scholarship and NSF Graduate Fellowship recipients. She is now the director of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Multicultural Scholars Program and the associate director for the Office of Diversity in Science Training of the University of Kansas. She works in several projects in collaboration with Haskell Indian Nations University to improve the success of students who are pursuing research careers in biomedical research. She is the co-Pi of KU Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program funded by NIH and has extensive participation in several other sponsored projects. She currently chairs the Graduate Students Committee of the Mathematics Association of America.

In recognition for her efforts Gavosto has been awarded the H. Bernerd Fink Teaching Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, the G. Bailey Price Award for Excellence in Teaching of Graduate Students, and the J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award.

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