Bluffton University - Mary Good

Summer research leads to scholarly presentations for Bluffton senior

A seven-week project at Miami (Ohio) University last summer earned Bluffton senior Mary Good a trip to New Orleans in January for the joint national meetings of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America.

The math major from Millersburg, Ohio, made a presentation at the meetings about a group project at Miami s Summer Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (SUMSRI). Good s group studied the comparative fairness of seven scoring methods in judging a subjective scholarship competition.

The presentation in New Orleans reunited Good with other members of her group, which included students from the universities of Arizona and Oklahoma, Albany (Ga.) State University and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In addition to their research, the students attended lectures and classes at SUMSRI elements that attracted Good to the Miami institute rather than other, research-only summer programs.

I liked that they did other things to put you into the math world, said Good, who learned about SUMSRI on the National Science Foundation website. It didn t hurt, either, that she had had a good experience at a math and science camp on the Oxford campus as an elementary student, or that it s relatively close to Bluffton, where she lives with her husband, Brian, also a senior at the university.

They will each graduate in May, Brian in biology and Mary with licensure to teach math to grades 7-12. Both are looking into graduate school, seeking one that would be a good fit for each of them, she said.

Dr. Stephen Harnish, a Bluffton professor of mathematics, said that past majors have participated in internships and summer research programs such as SUMSRI, but, to his knowledge, Good is the first Bluffton math major to present at the national meetings. She also reported about her experience at Miami s annual mathematics conference, last September, and at Bluffton, with another presentation planned at an undergraduate research conference at Heidelberg University.

It s been heartening to see Mary s research interests blossom over the years and through this program, Harnish said.