Annual PASSHE-Ma Conference Held at Lock Haven University

April 18, 2014-Lock Haven University’s Mathematics Department recently hosted the Annual PASSHE-Ma Conference on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  The day began with welcoming remarks from Dr. Carnicom, Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, followed by Keynote Speaker, Muhammad Usman, group discussions, and student presentations. 

Every year, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) rotates the location of the math conference, giving each of the 14 state schools the opportunity to host the event.  Lock Haven University last hosted the event in 2001.  The conference is sponsored by PASSHE-Ma, an organization of representatives from mathematics departments at PASSHE schools, who hope to strengthen the networking of math faculty across the system, as well as discuss education and research.  For more information on PASSHE-Ma, please visit

Muhammad Usman, Keynote Speaker for the event, talked about the role of approximations in mathematics and how this relates to the scientific process of discovery through empirical observations (math modeling).  He also discussed how computers use approximations, as they always compute with finite amounts of memory, and how accuracy is affected in the approximations throughout the process.  This general area of math is often called “Experimental Mathematics”.

Many of the group discussions were aimed at education of undergraduate math majors and general education majors.  Discussions such as 10 Things Every Math Major Should Know, and other topics including how math is used to create perspective in art work, and using math in research, were held. 

During the conference, two Lock Haven University math majors, Marc Van Dorick and Peter

Westerbaan, gave a presentation titled “The Perpetual Calendar”, which discusses the number theory application that gives one the day of the week if you give a date.  For example, given a date such as July 4, 1776, the application could provide you the day that date occurred.

Dr. Richard Mikula, Conference Organizer and PASSHE-Ma Executive Board President, and Lock Haven University professor, organized this year’s convention.  Dr. Mikula recognizes that this event could not take place with the many volunteers who assisted, and applauds the efforts of those involved. 

Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.