Jon Marino (’14) and Heather Cook (’14) Present Present Research at National Conference, MathFest

by roanokecollege on July 31, 2013

Watch out Hartford–the mathematicians are coming! Over the next three days, two Roanoke College student researchers will present at MAA’s MathFest, “the largest annual summertime gathering of mathematicians.” The mission of the Mathematical Association of America, is “to advance the mathematical sciences, especially at the collegiate level.”

Jon Marino ('14) and Dr. Karin Saoub

Jon Marino (’14) and Dr. Karin Saoub

Jon Marino (’14) has spent his summer researching Twitter under the direction of Mathematics professor Dr. Karin Saoub.  Jon is presenting his Summer Scholars research during the Pi Mu Epsilon session titled #GraphTheory in 140 Characters or Less: An Analysis of Directed Social Networks. From his abstract:

Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter allow individuals to post their thoughts in real time and “follow” others. However, each network behaves differently. We used graph theory to visualize and measure the difference between several social networks as well as quantify how information is dispersed throughout a given network.

Heather Cook (’14) will also be presenting her research in the Pi Mu Epsilon session. Heather studies gambling and games under the direction of Dr. Dave Taylor as part of the Undergraduate Research Assistants Program (URAP). Heather will present The Walking Dice: An Optimal Play Strategy. From her abstract:

We will discuss the game of “Zombie Dice,” published by Steve Jackson Games. Game play will be explained, and then we will investigate a model for deciding whether or not to continue rolling if given the opportunity. Examples will be shown to highlight the game and its strategy.

This is Heather’s second time presenting at MathFest. At MathFest 2012, she presented An Analysis of Blackjack Switch. From that abstract:

Blackjack Switch is an alternative to Blackjack. Each player is dealt two hands and after the second card for each is dealt, the player may switch those two cards. We will discuss changes to Blackjack basic strategy along with other results about the game of Blackjack Switch.

Jon and Heather are Roanoke College students who “out-do, out-smart, and out-solve the expected” as stars in the Mathematics program. We can’t wait to see what graduate school holds for you!

For more information on how you can support outstanding students like Jon and Heather, learn more about our Ultimate 3-in-1 Education (broad, deep, and experiential) at

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