The LHU math modeling team of Cathleen Soltis, Christupher Dubbs and Daniel Geraghty, with their adviser Dr. Angela Pile
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Three students from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania took second place in the second annual Cumberland Valley Math Modeling Challenge held at Shippensburg University, September 25-26. 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.
Math modeling is the use of statistical numbers and statistics to solve real-world, practical problems. The Cumberland Valley Math Modeling Challenge (CVMMC) is a regional, 24-hour math contest which drew student teams from Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. In teams of three, students had 23 hours to select their problem, develop and test a model, and write a cone-page summary of their findings; in the 24th hour, the teams finalized a 10-minute presentation explaining their result. Finally, the students presented their findings to other CVMMC participants and the event concluded with an award ceremony highlighting the work of winning teams as determined by students and their advisers.
The Lock Haven University team was comprised of Christopher H. Dubbs, a senior mathematics major from Milesburg, Pa., son of Holly and Harold Dubbs; Daniel Alexander Geraghty, a senior secondary education/mathematics major from Bryn Mawr, Pa., son of James T. Geraghty; and Cathleen Soltis, a senior mathematics major from Julian, Pa., daughter of Ron and Carmen Soltis. The team adviser was Dr. Angela Pile, assistant professor of mathematics at LHU.
The Lock Haven University team chose to work on an elevator problem. They had to devise and analyze a transportation plan using a combination of escalators, local and express elevators, to efficiently move people up and down an 81-story skyscraper that has space allocated for exactly 40 elevator shafts. The building would house retail stores, business offices, private residences, mechanical equipment floors, and an observation tower. The students decided what data they would need to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for the building. These necessary figures included the minimum size for an elevator, the average weight for men and women, the average ratio of men to women in an office setting, the number of persons in the average household, the height of one floor in a skyscraper, the average number of daily visitors to the observation deck in the Willis (Sears) Tower, and the speed of an express elevator.
After gathering their data, the students developed their transportation plan and prepared their presentation.
The winning teams were Kutztown University, first place; Lock Haven University, second place; and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, third place. A total of 10 schools participated in the competition.
After the awards presentation, Dr. Pile praised the LHU students. “We are proud of the team’s problem-solving creativity and positive attitude,” she said. “They did a wonderful job and represented Lock Haven University and the math department well.” Dr. Pile added that this was LHU’s first year competing in the modeling competition, but “it won’t be the last.”