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AMERICUS (Dec. 14, 2017)—Earlier this fall, four teams from the Georgia Southwestern State University Mathematics and Computing Undergraduate Research Group presented their ongoing research at the 6th Annual Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Albany State University. All four teams had the opportunity to give talks to peers and professors at the Symposium. Two groups earned third place honors for the STEM Oral Presentation category:

  • Taylor Washburn and Matthew Tan -- Presentation on "Detecting False Data Injections in Smart Grid Using Math" -- Mentor: Dr. Linqiang Ge, assistant professor of computer science
  • Sara Moriarty and Josey Brown -- Presentation on "Settlers of Catan" -- Mentor: Dr. Chadwick Gugg, associate professor of mathematics

“I chose to analyze ‘Settlers of Catan’ after falling in love with the game over summer break,” Moriarty said, referring to the popular board game. “I had been told some tricks to choosing your initial setup and realized there was some math being used under cover.”

The students involved in the projects came away with valuable insights when it comes to research.

“While I intended there to be more complex math concepts involved as we looked deeper into the concepts and layout of the game,” Moriarty added, “there were only a few very elementary formulas involved. We turned our research presentation into more of a lecture theme, focusing more on educating the audience. Our hard work paid off by bringing home a third place position when we weren’t sure if our presentation would mesh well with the others who had performed experiments and computed many calculations.

“I learned as long as you’re passionate about the work you’re doing, you will be rewarded for that hard work,” Moriarty said.

Kailash Ghimire, associate professor of mathematics, and Manoj Thapa, assistant professor of mathematics, also served as project mentors.

“The Mathematics Undergraduate Research Group has been active since Fall 2016,” said Gugg, who served as mentor to Moriarty and Brown’s group. “Currently, 12 students work with faculty mentors from math and computer science on different topics including U.S. Presidential Elections in Florida, Sleep Patterns, Data Defense on Smart Grid, and Settlers of Catan.”

Gugg added that the student groups present their ongoing research each week. Meetings take place Thursdays at 3 p.m. in Crawford Wheatley Hall Room 101.

Other schools that submitted project at the symposium included Albany State, Columbus State University and Georgia State University. Submissions were made in “STEM” and “Non-STEM” areas via oral or poster presentations.


Left to right: Pagie Thomas, Josey Brown, Dr. Manoj Thapa (back left), Taylor Washburn, Sara Moriarty, Dr. Boris Peltsverger, Dr. Chadwick Gugg (far right, second row), Matthew Tan, and Dr. Kailash Ghimire (back right)


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