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Past Events: 2007 Banquet

University of Massachusetts - Lowell Chapter of Sigma Xi Local Events

Local News and Events
2007 Annual Sigma Xi Banquet

Wednesday, 2 May, 2007

Officers of the Local Chapter

Officers of the UMass Lowell chapter of the Society of Sigma Xi with Banquet speaker, Dr. Bob Devaney. From the left: Dr. Aram Karakashian, Awards Officer; Dr. Gil Brown, At-Large (Engineering); Dr. Bob Gamache, Vice President; Dr. Jim Whitten, Secretary; Dr. Devaney; Dr. Art Mittler, Treasurer; Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hooker, At-Large (Health and Environment); Ms Elizabeth Fortin, Chapter Administrative Assistant; and Dr. Bob Tamarin, President. Missing are Dr. Sandy McDonald, At-Large (Cehmistry) and Dr. Rick Hochberg, At-Large (Biology).

Guests from Tufts University

We are joined by four Chemistry colleagues from the Tufts University Chapter. From the left: Graduate Students Nkeng Asong and Patrick Bisson, who are working with Dr. Mary Shultz (next in photo). To her left is Bob Tamarin, local chapter President and then Tufts University Professor Sam Kounaves.


Guests from Andover High School

Also visiting the Banquet were UMass Lowell Math Professor, Dr. Raj Prasad (center, back), and his Engineering Differential Equations class from Andover High School. Third from left is 8th grader David Field, age 14, perhaps our youngest Banquet attendee ever. On the right are guest speaker, Dr. Bob Devaney, and local chapter President, Bob Tamarin.

Graduate Research Scholars

With local chapter President Bob Tamarin are our co-winners of the Graduate Research Scholar of the Year award, Subhalakshmi Nagarajan (Physics, left) and Berke Gur (Mechanical Engineering, right). The awards, presented at the 5 May Graduate Student Association Banquet, consist of a Research Assistantship, tuition, fees, and an award check, a package worth over $33,000 each.


LaTorre Family Scholarship Winners

The LaTorre Family Scholarships are funded generously by Don LaTorre, a 1960 Lowell Tech graduate in Textile Chemistry. Don is currently the Chairman of the Sciences Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences, an alumni group that helps the Dean of Sciences develop resources for the Sciences. From the left in the photo above are: Pulkit Chaudhury (Junior, Biology); Helen Chim (Freshman, Biology); Graham Lilley (Junior, Biology); Andrew Bawn (Sophomore, Math and Chemical Engineering) and local chapter President Bob Tamarin. Also winning were Florian Limondin, Keith McElroy, and Robert Romano.

Kennedy Family Scholarship

The Kennedy Family Scholarships are supported from a generous endowment donation by John Kennedy, a 1970 Mathematics graduate of Lowell Tech. John is also a member of the Sciences Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences. Shown above with John (right in both photos) and local chapter President Bob Tamarin (center in both photos) is Pulkit Chaudhury (Junior, Biology) in the left photo and Daniel Haynes (Junior, Computer Science and Computer and Electrical Engineering) in the right photo. Also winning were Florian Limondin and Keith McElroy.


O'Connor Family Scholarship Winner

This was the inaugural year for the O'Connor Family Scholarship, supported from a generous endowment donation by Tom O'Connor, 1977 B.S. and 1980 M.S. Environmental Sciences graduate of the University of Lowell. (In the past, we have been Lowell Tech, University of Lowell, and UMass Lowell, among others) Tom is a founding Co-Chair of the College or Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. Shown above with local chapter President, Bob Tamarin, is the winner, Daniel Haynes, a Junior with a double major in both Computer Science and Computer and Electrical Engineering.


High School Teacher of the Year

The UMass Lowell chapter initiated the High School Teacher of the Year Award in 2004 to honor an outstanding high school science or math teacher, one responsible for instilling in students an excitement about the sciences and technology. Shown above (middle) is Ornella Bascuñan, a math teacher at Lowell High School, our 2007 winner. Also pictured, from the left, are: Jeff Gaglione, Chair of the Lowell High Math Department; Richard Coffey, past Chair of the Lowell High Math Department; Art Mittler, local chapter Treasurer; Juan Bascuñan, Ornella's husband; Ornella; Maria Vejar, House Master at Lowell High School; Cheryl Boss, Instructional Specialist at Lowell High School; Bob Devaney, Guest Speaker; and Bob Tamarin, local chapter President. Our awardee has a Master of Science in Mathematics from UMass Lowell and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Physics, and Education from the Universidad Catolica in Valparaiso, Chile. Ornella has been a teacher of Mathematics at Lowell High School since 2001. Before that she taught at the Robinson Middle School in Lowell and she also was an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she taught College Algebra and Differential Calculus. She has taught at Saint Clement's High School in Medford and at the Instituto de Matematicas, Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Chile and the Scuola Italiana, Valparaiso, Chile. She has cowritten the 5 - 8 Mathematics Curriculum Guide for the City of Lowell, has been involved in the Mathematics Textbook Selection Committee, participated in the selection of Mathematics textbooks for the Middle School, and for three years collaborated with Dr. Regina Panasuk at UMass Lowell as a Lead Teacher in Curriculum Frameworks Study Groups, Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, and Developing Curriculum Guides for Middle School. She currently teaches AP Calculus and Algebra.

Induction of New Full Members

New full members of Sigma Xi are shown above. From the left: Mr. Pastrick Bisson (graduate student, Chemistry, Tufts University, and prior graduate of UMass Lowell), Dr. Jim Whitten, Secretary of the local chapter, Dr. Jun Lee (Plastics Engineering), Dr. Ming Wei (Plastics Engineering), Dr. Ravi Montenegro (Mathematics), and local chapter President, Bob Tamarin.

Guest Lecture

Our Banquet Speaker this year was Dr. Bob Devaney, a Professor of Mathematics at Boston University. He received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1969 and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973 under the direction of Fields Medal Winner, Stephen Smale. He taught at Northwestern University and Tufts University before coming to Boston University in 1980. His main area of research is dynamical systems. He is the author of over one hundred research and pedagogical papers in the field of dynamical systems. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of thirteen books in this area of mathematics. Professor Devaney has delivered over 1,300 invited lectures on dynamical systems and related topics in all 50 states in the US and in over 30 countries on six continents worldwide. He has also been the "Chaos Consultant" for several theaters' presentations of Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia. And, in 2007, he was the mathematical consultant for the Kevin Spacey movie called Twenty One, based on Ben Mezrich's best-seller, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. Dr. Devaney has received numerous teaching awards, both locally and nationally, including the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished University Teaching at the annual meeting of the Mathematical Association of America, the 1996 Boston University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, and the 2002 National Science Foundation Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. His talk, interactive, fascinating, and hugely entertaining, was entitled:

Chaotic Games and Fractal Images


In the left photo, Dr. Devaney is shown interacting with one of our Andover High School students, an 8th grader (David Field) who was first with the answer to a question that stumped even the Math and Physics professors in the audience. In the right photo, Dr. Devaney is shown with Ornella Bascuñan, our 2007 High School Teacher of the Year.


Special thanks to our Secretary, Elizabeth Fortin, for making all the arrangements for our Banquet.

Check back in the fall for information about the 2007-2008 awards competitions and the 2008 Banquet.

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