Alumni Newsletter 2005 | UMSL

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Alumni Newsletter 2005


Picture of Dr. Rao

I want to talk about some of the successes in the department over the last year.

The last year was a very successful year in research funding for the department. Our small group of faculty who do research in wavelets obtained external funding of more than $600,000. This group includes Charles Chui, Wenjie He and Qingtang Jiang. It is fair to say that our wavelets group has put our department on the international map of research in applied mathematics. Wenjie was tenured and promoted to associate professor and we are hoping that within a short time, our first PhD will be granted to a student working in this area!

Two books were published from the department, one by an emeritus professor and one by one of our newest young professors. Martin Pelikan has published a book on the cutting edge of his research in evolutionary algorithms, with the publishing company Springer. This is notable for someone so recently graduated with a doctorate. And I want to say here how happy we are that Wayne McDaniel's collected works were published by the Queen's University Press. It is the rare scholar whose papers are considered so valuable that they are collected into a single bound volume. Wayne's research in number theory has met that test. Of course, even though Wayne is now professor emeritus, it is premature to conclude that this volume will be the last word on his research. Collected works include papers only up till the date of publication and many of our professors emeriti are still busy continuing their research.

The department has joined a nationwide consortium called the R2R program that works towards improving success rates in freshman level courses. We are working on improving student performance in College Algebra and Shahla Peterman's description appears elsewhere in this newsletter. When we successfully implement our changes, we will a model for other universities and colleges to imitate. In this way, the program will gradually extend successful methodologies around the country. As part of this sweeping change, we will be building a Mathematics Technology Center that will be used for College Algebra and other departmental courses. This Center, a lab with around on hundred computers and also instructional areas, is being designed right now in order to be completed for classes in the fall.

Our scholarship funds were recently given a boost. In the past few years, the department has annually given around eight or nine modest scholarships, many of them enough to help a student pay tuition for two or three courses a year. Most of this scholarship money comes from the bequest of Professor Ed Andalafte, who was one of the most popular professors in the department. Very recently, Professor Ray Balbes (who retired two years ago) and Thelma Balbes funded another scholarship in their name, while yet another scholarship was funded by Joe and Mary Vogl. It is wonderful to see that we are getting some more resources to help our students and build a thriving program. These years have been hard on our students because of the higher fees brought on by smaller state support for education. The two new scholarships are for mathematics majors. We are eager to see if alumni will support our plans to create scholarships for our computer science majors.

Eighth Annual Spencer and Spencer Systems Mathematics Lecture

Dr. Dunham, our speaker

Prof. William Dunham 
"A Tribute to Euler" 
Thursday, May 5, 2005 7:30 p.m. 
Century Room, Millennium Student Center 

sponsored by The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Special thanks to Robert Spencer (B.A. Mathematics, '72) whose gift has made this lecture series possible.

Abstract: Among history's greatest mathematicians was Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) of Switzerland. The remarkable quality of Euler's achievements is matched only by their equally remarkable quantity—his collected works contain over 25,000 pages of pure and applied mathematics! His insight, industry, and ingenuity prompted Laplace to characterize Euler as "the master of us all." 

In this talk, we sketch Euler's life and mention some of his contributions to number theory, algebra, and other branches of the subject. Then we examine a pair of beautiful Eulerian theorems: one addressing the so-called partitioning of whole numbers and the other establishing what is now known as "Euler's identity." Such bold and clever arguments give a sense of this towering genius from the history of mathematics.

NOTE: This talk should be accessible to any student of calculus or beyond.

About The Presenter:

William Dunham, who received his B.S. (1969) from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.S. (1970) and Ph.D.(1974) from Ohio State, is the Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College.

Originally trained in general topology, Dunham later became interested in the history of mathematics. He has directed NEH-funded seminars on math history at Ohio State and has spoken on historical topics at national and regional meetings as well as at the Smithsonian Institution, on NPR's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday," and on the BBC. Although he has given talks at dozens of U.S. colleges and universities—from Carleton to Columbia and from West Point to Berkeley—the Spencer & Spencer Lecture marks his first visit to a Missouri campus.

In the 1990s, Dunham wrote three books—Journey Through Genius (1990), The Mathematical Universe (1994), and Euler: The Master of Us All (1999). His expository writing was recognized by the Mathematical Association of America when they presented him with the George Pølya Award in 1993 and Trevor Evans Award in 1997, and the American Association of Publishers designated The Mathematical Universe as the Best Mathematics Book of 1994.

Dunham's most recent book is The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue, published by Princeton University Press (2005).

A reception will follow the lecture
Admission is free, but reservations are requested.
Please call (314) 516-5789.
Parking is available in lot E.



Big improvements have been made in the teaching of the College Algebra course. These improvements are a result of a big push to address the high failure rate that has been the norm for many years. Since this course is a requirement for many other disciplines, the success of this course has a large impact on student retention. This course is also a prerequisite for students wishing to enroll in any of the calculus courses.

We have found that the most successful teaching methods are those that lead students to spend an adequate amount of time doing homework. Various teaching methods have been explored during the past few years and, most recently, interactive computer-based homework assignments have been employed. After spending a year researching different software options, and piloting a couple of College Algebra sections with very promising results, a big change occurred last fall: all of the day sections of the course were changed to consist of three lectures and one computer lab. The result is that students are doing homework on a scale that was impossible without the computer assistance. Rather than becoming frustrated, and waiting for the slow hand-grading process, students are encouraged by getting immediate feedback, by having access to online tutorials, and by the help from the instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) who staff the labs. We have found that computer-assisted teaching is extremely valuable in assuring the sucess of this program.

The instructors find that the lecture time is more productive because students, who are now more likely to have done the homework, are better prepared for new material. Consequently, the instructors find that far less lecture time is spent having to repeat material. An additional advantage when the computer is used is that it brings more uniformity to the day and evening courses.

Student opinion surveys, regarding the format of the course and the use of software, have been collected. The majority of the students found that the lab and software was helpful in passing the course and some even wanted more lab time and less lecture time because the lab time gives them more one-on-one help.

We continue to work on identifying the best combination of software and teaching to help our students. The existing software is not perfect and even during the last two semesters there have been significant improvements. Starting next fall all the day and evening classes will have one lecture and two labs. The redesigned course encourages students to work individually or in groups in the lab, completing computer-based (online) assignments. They can obtain help if needed from the computer tutorials, video lectures, their peers, instructors, or TAs. The computer software identifies student weaknesses and provides additional homework problems. The interactive, web-based material and computerized quizzing gives students the much needed practice and immediate feedback that helps them master the course. Faculty members are freed to have more one-on-one contact with the students, and are thus enabled to more readily address individual needs. Moreover, students can be challenged according to their own skill.


We caught up with Wayne McDaniel recently to ask him about the recent publication of his collected works and to get an update on his life since his retirement. Here's what he had to say:

Although I have not abandoned mathematics completely, my life is no longer centered on mathematics. Family activities and various "projects" are now at the center.

However, as you know, I was honored by having the "Collected Works of Wayne L. McDaniel" published as part of the "Queen's Papers in Pure and Applied Mathematics" series. As a result, I receive e-mails every now and then by someone who has become aware of a certain paper I published, so I maintain a certain awareness of mathematical ideas through their questions and comments.

Interestingly enough, I have received "solutions" of two of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics. About a year ago, a Chinese student sent his solution of the Goldbach Conjecture for me to look over, and just last month, I was sent a copy of a "proof" that there are no odd perfect numbers, to review. The first of these was, unfortunately not correct, and I believe that the latter, although written by a fairly respectable mathematician, has errors that he will not be able to overcome. At any rate, I am doing a little refereeing of articles for journals, but not any real research on my own anymore.

I now live on a 10-acre "estate" south of Wentzville. Here, I have "elbow-room." Nice not to have to contend with traffic and the closeness associated with suburban living anymore. Among the "projects" I have undertaken here are the following: Shortly after we moved here, I built a "pole-barn" garage to accommodate my "overflow" of accumulated vehicles (!), and other things. Last year, I added a room to our house--a great way to stay in shape, by the way (that shoveling digging the foundation trench is great for the back and shoulders!). This winter, I enclosed a corner of our basement to create an "exercise room." I may even go down there occasionally.

My most ambitious project is the building of a covered bridge over the small creek that runs through our property. Not much is done, yet. I have the abutment finished on one side of the creek, and a steel bridge laying there in the field. The other abutment is presenting a problem not yet solved.

Apart from this, my current passion is the pedal steel guitar. I bought one last year, and after trying to learn to play it on my own, have decided to take some lessons. A beautiful sound when played by someone who has mastered it. I don't know whether I will get there or not--I have a looooooong way to go!


Martin Pelikan joined the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Missouri at St. Louis in Fall 2003. He received Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002 and after receiving the degree he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.

Pelikan's research focuses on the design and application of broadly applicable optimization techniques that provide scalable solution for broad classes of difficult hierarchical and nearly decomposable problems. This is achieved by combining concepts from evolutionary computation, machine learning, and statistics. While evolutionary computation provides a framework for population-based search, machine learning and statistics provide methods for automated identification and exploitation of problem regularities.

One of the most important results of Pelikan's research is the hierarchical Bayesian optimization algorithm (hBOA), which he proposed together with David E. Goldberg from the University of Illnois. There is a patent pending on hBOA filed by the inventors and the University of Illinois, and the technology is now being transfered to several companies. Recently, Pelikan published a book Hierarchical Bayesian Optimization Algorithm: Toward a New Generation of Evolutionary Algorithms in Springer, which summarizes most important topics related to the design and application of hBOA.

To disseminate the results of his research and support interdisciplinary research efforts, Pelikan collaborates with researchers in other research areas on both national and international level, including researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ET H) at Zurich in Switzerland, the Functional Genomics Center at Zurich in Switzerland, the University of W uerzburg in Germany, the University of Goettingen in Germany, and the Hannan University in Japan.

Pelikan also provides active service to the scientific community by serving in program committees of various large conferences in his field, providing tutorials and invited presentations, and organizing international workshops and conferences.


Sanjiv Bhatia was born in New Delhi, India and spent his childhood in Amritsar, India, also known as the city of the Golden Temple. The moon landing made him start to dream of becoming a space scientist but the practical realities landed him in an engineering school, to become an electrical engineer. He saw his first live computer in 1979 in the engineering school and worked very hard to change his major to Computer Science Engineering. His father did not like this idea much as at that time, computer science was a new field in India and nobody knew whether it would be easy to find a job in this field. However, Sanjiv has no regrets on his choice.

Sanjiv received his B.E. degree in Computer Science Engineering with Honors from Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College, Allahabad, India in 1983. He then worked with Engineers India Limited for three years, writing software for real-time process control in petroleum refineries. He left for the US in 1986 and received his M.S. (Computer Science) from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1987, and Ph.D. (Computer Science) from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1991.

Sanjiv's wife, Vinita, has a degree in Law. However, she decided to change her profession, possibly due to some influence from him. She received her Master's degree in MIS from UMSL in 1995. Now she works as a Senior Programmer/Analyst for SBC.

Sanjiv is a proud nerd and likes everything related to the computers and programming (except Microsoft). He always enjoys working on complicated problems that require developing sophisticated algorithms. Also, he enjoys teaching very much. He gets his joy from the experience of seeing the students learn new things and applying them to solve problems. He feels he is successful only if his students are successful in their career. However, he does not like the fact that there are too many unqualified people in the job market in the field of Computer Science. In his opinion, it is not enough to know how to write an elementary program to get the job of a programmer or a computer scientist.

Currently, Sanjiv is involved in several research projects including tracking objects in infra-red video streams which are characterized by lots of noise; image database storage and retrieval; clustering algorithms for multidimensional data; and terrain modeling for flight simulation. He is getting pretty interesting results and working on publishing them.


Longtime mainstay in both mathematics and computing at UMSL since 1971, Jerrold Siegel has decided to retire. He will continue on as emeritus professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, teaching graduate and upper division mathematics as well as working on special computing related projects for the university for the next two years.

Jerry was born in NYC in 1939, the first child of 3 children to Herman and Lucille Siegel. He earned both bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics in 1961 at MIT and earned a PhD in mathematics in 1964 at Cornell.

After leaving Cornell, Jerry became an instructor for the year 1964-65 at Haverford College; then, during the years 1965 to 1971 Jerry was first Assistant then Associate Professor at Purdue. In 1971 Jerry came to UMSL as an Associate Professor of mathematics. He became Professor in 1979. Jerry also served the Mathematics Department as Chair in 1981-82 and 1986-90. In 1990 Jerry became Coordinator of Campus Computing and in 2000 became Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology. The outstanding state of computing on the UMSL campus is almost single handledly due to Jerry's efforts and ingenuity.

For decades Jerry and wife Cynthia have been seen frequenting the coffee houses of Saint Louis or walking their dog, Nellie, around Wash U and U city.

Jerry and Cynthia, who also was a mainstay of the mathematics department for 27 years, plan to spend their retirement being grandparents to their 14 grandchildren in Chicago Illinois, Cortes Island British Columbia, Durham, North Carolina, St. Louis Missouri, and Wellington, New Zealand.

Good luck, Cynthia and Jerry, to you both!


Igor Wojnicki has been a visiting assistant professor at UMSL for the school years 2002-2003 and 2004-2005. We asked him how he got interested in computing and to tell us about himself:

I guess I was in elementary school when I saw a computer for the very first time - it was ZX Spectrum. After a while my parents bought me 'my own first computer'. It was Atari 800XL - and there was not many such units in Poland at that time. Keep in mind that it was 1980s, Poland, so the Eastern Block - CoCom restrictions and so on. And as far as I remember that Atari was smuggled from France.

It was my father who encouraged me with programming - learning himself and then teaching me Atari BASIC from some manuals and articles. There was no textbooks about programming those days in Poland.

There is a funny thing related to Atari that happened to me recently. When I became more skilled I started some assembly language programming with Atari's 6502 CPU. And there was an entire page of memory (it was 256 bytes; 800XL has 64k of RAM in total) available for putting your own machine language code - it was 6th page at the address of 0x0600, which is 1536 decimally. Here comes the funny part, this is the street number I currently live at - a coincidence? ...perhaps.

So, it was my father who pushed me into computers. Looking back, I think that I like programming because it gives me an ability to create something, just by thinking about it. It actually doesn't require any manual or physical skills. Just think and express your thoughts in a logical way, and here comes a program.

I decided that CS is worth studying, and I applied to AGH - University of Science and Technology - one of the best technical universities in Poland. At some point I was looking for a reliable Operating System. I was decided to go with IBM OS/2 Warp, but unexpectedly I met a guy who mentioned something about Linux OS. Almost nobody knew what it was at that time. After a few months one of my colleagues at the university helped me out installing the Linux Slackware distribution. And this was a turning point. It hit me that there was so many technologies I had never encountered before - the Unix World. Everything, regarding any kind of data processing, became easier since then.

So, during my studies I focused on OS and systems administration. Even not having the degree yet I started teaching some commercial courses regarding Unix and Unix-like systems. It seemed to be very challenging but it was giving a lot of satisfaction at the same time. Then I switched jobs a couple of times. I was working as an IT technician, programmer, system and network designer, and network administrator as well. Finally I became a TA/RA (these positions are not exactly equivalent to the American ones) and then an Assistant Professor at the AGH - University of Science and Technology.

The Systems Administration and Operating Systems are an engineering part of my area of interest. But there is also the scientific part. It started with an artificial intelligence course I took which was mainly based on Prolog language. So, I turned to expert, rule-based and in general inference systems, which were shortly followed by databases. Fascination turned into MS thesis first, which was about designing knowledge base. And then the PhD dissertation, which resulted in a prototype system extending data processing capabilities of databases.

In every project I participate I support the idea of Free Software. Such an approach gives freedom of creation and furthermore allows to develop and share new technologies. It works in exactly opposite way than software patents which are making development of new technologies harder and harder every day.

Furthermore, I really like working with students. I like this kind of freshness and original approach they often have. It contributes a lot to research, allowing to go past some local extremum a project might stuck at.

I guess, I might be perceived as just a little bit crazy person. In addition to computer science I do many other different things. I love traveling - somebody said that every 100 miles gives you as much as reading one book. And it seems to be true. 12 000 miles cross country round trip - this is what I really like. And if there is a place to dive somewhere - why not to give it a try? So, yes I'm a diver as well.

There are also some other things. The Photography for instance. I have been taking photos since I remember. I'm not publishing them, however some of my friends claim that I should do that. I'm not sure, perhaps one day...

I remember one day a few years ago. I met a friend, but he was in kind of hurry. Finally he said that he was to meet some other friends and to shoot a bit. To shoot? Well it turned to be the bow shooting. But not this kind of contemporary bows with sights and all those fancy technological enhancements. It was about medieval bows, almost exactly the same as those being used hundreds of years ago. Very classical, and I would say beautiful way of having fun. It is not about hitting the target it is about doing it right. Developing some strength and body coordination at the same time. Did I mention that it is a lot of fun?

The body and mind coordination leads to Aikido, or being more specific Ki-Aikido. Physical exercises which teach how to be aware of your body and use it in an efficient way.

And, as usual, there is something more to it. It has something to do with 'the meaning of life' and questions like: 'why are we here?', 'what are we to do?' etc. Some believe that there is an energy which surrounds us and binds the universe - some call it chi, the other ki or the force, but I guess it has many more names. The common idea is that everything is energy, which apparently complies with quantum physics. In other words we, the energy, are the universe. So there is a persistent connection. We create this world, we have influence on it, in the same way as it creates us. A never ending feedback. Is it creating by thinking, again? Yes, I think so, but this time it is in more spiritual way.

From programming, to medieval archery - perhaps a weird mixture of who I am. But this is who I am. So do not hesitate - feel free to talk about knowledge processing while bow shooting or diving with me.


We asked her to tell us about herself:

Hello everyone! I'm Leslie Johnson, the new Lecturer in the department. I am originally from Southern Illinois, but have been a resident of Cape Girardeau, MO for the past 6 years. I received my bachelor's and masters degree in mathematics from Southeast Missouri State University. My fields of interest are Number Theory and Algebra. My interest in the field of Number Theory led me to my thesis, which focuses on the number of pairs consecutive primitive roots for specific types of primes. I truly enjoy teaching at UM - St. Louis. Probably the most enjoyable aspects of my job are that I get to work with so many non-traditional students (they are my favorite), and I get to stay with Shahla Peterman and her family once a week to cut down on my drive - she is an awesome cook! My husband, Jeremy, and I have been married for 4 years. Jeremy used to play minor league baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays. During the Spring of 2002, I took a semester break between getting my undergraduate and graduate degrees and was able to tag along with him during his season. We lived in the Tampa Bay area for most of the season, and then in Charleston, West Virginia, towards the end of the season. We had a great time! He has had two shoulder surgeries though, and has moved on to working in finance. We are expecting our first child in October. If I haven't met you yet, I hope to meet you soon!


Sharlee Climer is a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow and an Olin Fellow. She is currently finishing a doctorate in computer science at Washington University in St. Louis and expects to graduate this May. She has authored a half dozen papers that have appeared in leading journals and conferences, including Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition, the 21st International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML'04), and the 18th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI'02). Two of these papers were co-authored with Sanjiv Bhatia. Sharlee is on the Program Committee for the 25th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI'05). She and Weixiong Zhang will be presenting tutorials on her dissertation work at both the 19th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI'05) and the 25th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI'05). Sharlee is currently seeking a tenure-track position at a research-oriented university. (for more about Sharlee, see the survey results).


David is a native of St. Louis. He grew up in Florissant and graduated from McCluer High School. He attended the University of Missouri, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 1976 and a Master's degree in Statistics in 1978.

David worked briefly as an actuary after leaving college, followed by an 18-year career with Southwestern Bell, headquartered in St. Louis. During this time at the telephone company, he began part-time teaching Math and Statistics at local Universities, including UM - St. Louis.

While teaching at UM - St. Louis, David began pursuit of his Ph.d in Applied Mathematics. He is currently working on his dissertation in the area of Monte Carlo Markov Chain methods for fitting linear splines to data.

David enjoys the theatre and reading theology and history. He especially enjoys spending time with his wife, Vicki, to whom he has been married for 26 years. They have one daughter, Jessica, 14, who is in the eighth grade.


Kathy Theodorou and Aaron Hinni both graduated from UM-St. Louis in May of 1994 with degrees in Computer Science and minors in Mathematics. Immediately after graduation, Aaron went to work for a small consulting company in Earth City, MO called Tapestry Computing. After taking the summer off Kathy started working at McDonnell Douglas as a software engineer on the F/A-18 program.

Kathy and Aaron married in August of 1996, and Aaron and four others spun off from Tapestry and founded PaylinX Corporation, makers of an enterprise payment processing engine for handling credit card and other transactions. They struggled for a couple of years, going long periods of time without pay, and working insane hours out of super cheap office space with a moldy carpet and leaky roof. Fortunately Kathy still had a stable job at The Boeing Company (formerly McDonnell Douglas). PaylinX eventually became a leader in e-commerce payment solutions, moved to some fancier office space and grew to around 150 people. Towards the end of 2000, PaylinX was acquired by CyberSource in a deal valued at more than $130M. Aaron stayed with Cybersource for another year before he moved on to the next venture.

In September 2001, Aaron and some of the original founders of PaylinX started Tsunami Research, Inc. Here they are pioneering Hive Computing, a new approach to the development, deployment, and management of mission critical applications. Their current product enables large numbers of dedicated, commodity computers to host service-oriented and transactional applications in a highly dependable, manageable and affordable manner.

Kathy and Aaron have a son named Ethan who was born in May of 2002. After Ethan was born, Kathy started working part-time at The Boeing Company and now does web application development. She recently celebrated ten years with the company.

Aaron is still at Tsunami where he is working much more normal hours than he did at the previous startup. He enjoys spending his spare time with Ethan and Kathy, and also started racing his bicyle again.



We sent this email survey to 200 of our former graduates, and got some amazing results. Lots of success stories plus some unusual endeavours (including a trans Atlantic sailor, a meterologist, and a candidate for governor):

Greeting from UMSL's Mathematics and Computer Science Department! 
,br> We are currently putting together our annual Alumni Newsletter and would love to include you among our successful graduates! Please take a moment to respond by answering the brief questionnaire below. Simply reply to this e-mail and type your answers in the space provided below each question. We cannot wait to hear from you! 

Thank you for your time, 

Your name:
What degree(s) did you earn from UMSL?
When did you graduate?
Where are you currently employed?
Briefly describe your job/position.
Did you pursue any post-graduate education? If so, where?
What are some of the things that you enjoyed about being at UMSL (certain classes/instructors, etc)?
Are there any memorable or exciting things that you have done since graduating?
Please include any additional information you would like for us to know.

We received the following delightful, encouraging, and interesting responses from some of our grads. It's wonderful to hear that they are doing so well. Can we hear from you? Send your responses to or


Name: William Triplett 

Degree(s): BA in Computer Science (2003) 

Current Employment: Staff Accompanist at the Lindenwood University 

UMSL Recollections: Everything and everyone. 

Name: Mary C. Toon 

Degree(s): BS in Applied Mathematics - Statistics (1980) 

Current Employment: Washington University School of Medicine (Saint Louis); Software development for various departments of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington U Medical School. 

Name: Mary Bowman 

Degree(s): BS in Applied Mathematics (Fall 1999) 

Current Employment: Infrastructure Environmental Specialist; Amdocs Inc (Chesterfield). Being promoted to the North America Training Manager in April 2005. Looking into an online MBA degree this spring. 

UMSL Recollections: The late Dr. A. He was terrific and really involved in the Math Club. I was the Math Club president in 1999. I also enjoyed my last two summers doing the Undergrad research for Wolfram at UMSL. 

Adventures Since Graduation: My son also attended UMSL. He graduated with a BS in 2003 and MA this past December. He has been offered a PhD program at Indiana U. 

Name: Aaron Tenney 

Degree(s): BS in Applied Mathematics; BS in Computer Science; BA in Physics (May 2001) 

Current Employment: Graduate student/research assistant in Computer Science at Washington University (doing computational biology research) 

UMSL Recollections: All of my profs but especially Gail Ratcliff for math, Mike Schulte for cs and Phil Fraundorph for physics

Adventures Since Graduation: I published!! And got a masters 

Name: Paul Koester 

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics and BA in Physics (2001); MA in Mathematics at Washington University (2002); working towards a PhD in Mathematics at Washington University (should be completed in May of 2006). 

Current Employment: Graduate student in Mathematics at Washington University (St.Louis); with the research interest in the intersection of harmonic analysis and combinatorics. (Gowers' quantitative proof of Szemer/'{e}di's theorem on arithmetic progressions is one particular example which shows that this intersection is nonempty.). TA for Calculus and Business Calculus; the grader for the graduate algebraic topology course. 

UMSL Recollections: I particularly enjoyed taking classes taught by Paul Schneider and Dr. Andalafte. I also have fond memeries of discussions with Dr.Andalafte. 

Name: Eric Lynn 

Degree(s): Computer Science Major, Math Minor, Philosophy Minor (1990)

Current Employment: Owner of a company called DeltaPoint Solutions LLC (sole practitioner as a consultant)

UMSL Recollections: I enjoyed very much E.Z. Andelafte. I enjoyed the logic classes... they taught me a lot.

Name: Dorothy Scroggings

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science (January 2004)

Current Employment: Helpdesk Analyst

UMSL Recollections: Close to home; professor Galina, and working in the Math Lab.

Adventures Since Graduation: Getting my first job after college.

Additional Information: I'm in the process of looking for my first home. 

Name: Thelma Balbes

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics (1968); MA at Washington University.

Additional Information: My Husband and I are moving to Carlsbad, California, this May.

Editors Note: Thelma taught for the mathematics department for many years. Ray Balbes, her husband, was a professor in the department for many years and department chair until his retirement in 2004. Please see the scholarships section for information on the scholarship they have generously endowed.

Name: Lawrence Dao

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science (august 2003)

Current Employment: Currently employed in ST. louis City; working with electrical wiring diagram and wired subpanels.

UMSL Recollections: C and C++ languages (I like instructor Galina Piat.)

Adventures Since Graduation: I am hosting a website and post UMSL pictures in that website along with all homeworks and projects in there, so that other student could do their research.

Name: Ann (Webster) NeNeves 

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics (1998); completed 15 hours at University of Houston studying Instructional Technology

Current Employment: Director of Technology for an all-boys Catholic school (The Regischool of the Sacred Heart, Houston, Texas): the network admin, webmaster, (all) tech support, instructional technologist, teacher trainer, laptop program coordinator and teacher for 5th-8th grade computer literacy. 

UMSL Recollections: Tutoring in the math labs, meeting cool people, learning from wonderful professors and receiving professional and academic mentoring and direction from Dr. Dotzel

Adventures Since Graduation: I have been married for three years and have two wonderful dogs: a pug named Rocco and a chow/retriever mix named Pickles. 

Name: Kenneth J. Johnson

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science (Fall 2000); completed 12 of 30 hours towards my MS in Comp Sci, also at UMSL.

Current Employment: Senior Programmer at Monsanto in St. Louis: writing web and client-based application to support several of our laboratories.

UMSL Recollections: How instructors had to stop in the middle of a lecture and wait a bit, when a plane flew over. :-)

Adventures Since Graduation: In 2004, since I didn't like either of the other candidates, I ran as a write-in for Missouri governor. Obviously I didn't win -- but I did get about 60 votes (only about 1,000,000 short).

Additional Information: I'm married with 5 children. (3 girls, 2 boys)

Name: Arthur C. Heinricher

Degree(s): BS in Mathematics (1980); PhD from Carnegie Mellon also in Mathematics.

Current Employment: Professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department; Director of the Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts 

UMSL Recollections: The teachers in the math and physics departments.

Name: Frank Wisa

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science (January 2003)

Current Employment: Software Engineer at the Boeing Co.

UMSL Recollections: Operating Systems, Algorithms, Compilers, Sanjiv and Cezary

Name: Sister Cheryl Kemner

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics (1977) and MEd in Education (1986)

Current Employment: The department chairperson and the teacher (calculus, pre-calculus, algebra II, analytic geometry) at St. John the Baptist High School.

Adventures Since Graduation: I taught 21 years at St. Frederick High School in Monroe, LA and for about 15 years there was math department chairperson and sponsor for the student council

Name: Randy Deidrick

Degree(s): BS in Applied Mathematics, minor in Applied Physics (1983)

Current Employment: Deputy Program Manager, Mission Planning Systems at the Boeing Company.

UMSL Recollections: Professors took an active interest in department students. 

Adventures Since Graduation: Lots of travel to interesting places - including several 'float trips' aboard USN aircraft carriers and other ships.

Name: Barry E. King

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics and Economics (1968); Applied Math and Computer Science master's at Washington University; Operations Management PhD at Indiana University -- Bloomington

Current Employment: Applied mathematics and SAS sub-contractor to GEI, Inc. and to Qualex Consulting Services, Inc. at Butler University, Indianapolis: (1) Applied Mathematics working in the business school of Butler University; (2) Operations research, statistics, econometrics, operations management 

UMSL Recollections: Professor Andalafte's (sp)sense of humor. Small classes where you got to know everyone and the professors knew you by name.

Adventures Since Graduation: Fathered Dylan, now 14. Sailed across the Atlantic in 1989. Still active skydiving.

Additional Information: I have been at other "at" schools as a prof or as a conference/seminar attendee, and UMSL had a considerable "main" campus feel that I do not see at these other schools.

Name: Kimberly Bordeaux

Degree(s): BFA in Graphic Design (2004)

Current Employment: Owner/President of 'Inklings Creative'

Name: Dennis McCarthy

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics (1968); also completed one year graduate school in Math at University of Iowa before joining U.S. Air Force; then one year graduate school at St. Louis University in meteorology and one year graduate school at University of Wisconsin received MS in meteorology 1977 from UW Madison (1977).

Current Employment: Director of the Office of Climate, Weather, and Water Services at NOAA/National Weather Service.

UMSL Recollections: The really early days. It was great! I was there when all we had was the old country club building. I watched Benton Hall being built. Professors Andalafte, McDaniel, Cassens, Wilke, Balbes, Gleeson. The best!

Adventures Since Graduation: Are you kidding? I have been a meteorologist in the National Weather Service for 31 years. I worked at the St. Louis Forecast Office for 10 of those years and the Norman, Oklahoma, office for 10 years. I have worked tornadoes, floods, winter storms. You name it. It all started with my BS in math from UMSL. That got me into the Weather Officer program in the Air Force during the Viet Nam era.

Additional Information: My wife, Maggie, and I met at UMSL. She was in English and became a teacher, but now she's an artist. Mostly water color painting. Her work is great. Want to buy one? Two of our kids, our two sons, Greg and Kevin, graduated from UMSL. Both played on the soccer team. Look for Kevin in the record book. He was goal keeper for four years and ranks up near the top of the list in saves.

Name: Sharlee Climer

Degree(s): BS and MS in Computer Science (May 2001).

Current Employment: Doctoral candidate at Washington University, expecting to graduate this May (research work mostly in the area of combinatorial optimization)

UMSL Recollections: I enjoyed all of the classes I took there and the opportunity to teach classes myself. I especially enjoyed doing research work with Sanjiv Bhatia on an image retrieval system and subsequently co-authoring a journal paper.

Adventures Since Graduation: I have presented four papers at international conferences and workshops, the most memorable was located in Le Croisic, France. I have also become the proud grandmother of three sweet grandchildren.

Editors Note: See the additonal news of Sharlee in this newsletter.

Name: James A. Pattie

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science (Winter 2000); received LPI Level 1 Certification in 2004.

Current Employment: Linux System administrator and programmer at Sudora, LLC ( & Xperience, Inc., specializing in internet security and web based applications.

UMSL Recollections: All the computer science professors were top notch and were willing to work on things with you, even if they weren't directly related to the class at hand.

Adventures Since Graduation: I became an avid Linux user/developer and highly esteemed in the local St. Louis Linux community. Helping to improve video processing and dvd creation under linux via the ivtv and dvdauthor projects has been very rewarding.

Additional Information: Checkout for a list of the Open Source projects I work on.

Name: Steven Gomez 

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science May 2003); currently working on a Masters in Computer Science at UMSL.

Current Employment: Have been employed with bioMerieux, Inc. Hazelwood, MO for just over 19 years; developing firmware for embedded systems that are used in hospital microbiology laboratories..

UMSL Recollections: I enjoyed meeting other students and having friendships with my other classmates. I also enjoyed the challenge of the coursework itself.

Adventures Since Graduation: I just returned from a cruise to Cozumel. I wish I didn't have to come back!!

Additional Information: I am the father of a grown son, have a seven year old grandson, and have another grandchild on the way.

Name: Tim Sullivan

Degree(s): BS in Computer Science and BS in Economics (1988); Ph.D. in Economics at University of Maryland, 1995.

Current Employment: Instructor at the Department of Economics and Finance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

UMSL Recollections: I worked in the CS Lab for several years. So I was able to get to know the faculty "outside of class" over the years. They were wonderful people, especially Dr. Dotzel and Dr. Andalafte.



Name: John M. Putnam

Degree(s): BA (1972) and MA (1978) in Mathematics

Current Employment: I am a Senior Scientist/Engineer and Boeing Technical Fellow (The Boeing Company, formerly McDonnell Douglas). I work in the Boeing Phantom Works organization, where I develop advanced computational electromagnetic techniques in support of Boeing programs throughout the corporation.

UMSL Recollections: enjoyed sitting by the lake while studying, and all of the friends that I made, as a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, while attending the university. I particularly enjoyed the math classes that were taught by Prof. Bill Connett, which helped to build the foundation for many of the math skill that I currently use in my work at Boeing.

Adventures Since Graduation: In 1994 I had the opportunity to spend some time working with researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. They were working linear equation solutions on massively parallel computer architectures. I provided consultation on interfacing their work with an aerospace application that I had developed, and in 1994 the Sandia team won the prestigious Gordon Bell Competition in super computing for this work. 

Additional Information: I am married to Kathleen Gleba for 31 years and have two children, Matthew and Karoline who both live in St. Louis.

Below is part of my introduction when I received the Boeing Technical Fellow award.
"John is both a nationally and internationally known expert on computational electromagnetic techniques (CEM) and the Method of Moments that is used to numerically solve Maxwell's equations, and many of the CEM techniques that he pioneered are used by other researchers in the field. He has written and presented over 60 papers on the subject, and several of his papers are routinely referenced in the CEM literature by other researchers. During the 1980's, he developed computer codes for predicting the radar cross-section (RCS) and antenna radiation from missiles and re-entry vehicles, and ultimately arbitrary 3-dimensional targets. This technology ultimately resulted in the development of the state- of-the-art CARLOS computer code that is used throughout Boeing for vehicle and other component designs. John's expertise is in demand in St. Louis, and at other Boeing sites in Seattle, Seal Beach, Mesa, and Philadelphia, where he is routinely called upon to address their critical needs."

Name: John Blodgett

Degree(s): BA in Mathematics (1967); MA in Mathematics from Duke University. 

Current Employment: I am a senior Programmer/Analyst at the University of Missouri, Columbia, within OSEDA. I work within the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis. I am the PI on a contract that OSEDA has with the Mo State Library to assist with the Missouri Census Data Center program. My role is to build and maintain the data archive and to develop data products and web applications to help researchers and the general public access these data files.

UMSL Recollections: I enjoyed being part of a new enterprise and being part of the first UMSL graduating class. Math classes were very small after freshman calculus so we math majors and instructors were a pretty close knit group. Attending classes in the old Normandy country club my first two years was special. I enjoyed my years working at UMSL probably more than my years there as a student. It was a pleasure to work with such people as Bill Heinbecker, Larry Westermeyer, Paul Pratte, Don Lewis, Mary Brown, Jim Struthers and Linda McDaniel. And I will always be grateful to Ed Andalafte, not only for his part in making me become and stay a math major at UMSL but also for his role in helping me get the job working at my alma mater. 

Adventures Since Graduation: I was employed at UMSL, in the Computing Center (it had several names during the time I worked there) from 1972 to 1998. During most of these years I was the head of the Urban Information Center area. I became an expert at working with US census data, and with using the SAS software package. Researchers around the country have made wide use of our SAS code to help them access public data files. In 1997 I served a 6-week internship at the Census Bureau representing the national State Data Center organization and provided user input to the teams developing the DADS (now American FactFinder) web-based query system and other census data products. I have developed a number of widely used web applications, including the MABLE/Geocorr geographic correspondence engine, and the Uexplore/Dexter system for querying the Mo Census Data Center public data archive. During the late 80's and early 90's I was the left fielder and leadoff hitter for the Office of Computing teams that dominated the UMSL intramural softball program. 

Additional Information: I maintain a web page with links to my favorite web sites and applications at In January, 2003 I took early retirement from the University. But I hired back at 74% FTE and hope to stay around for at least another 5 years. Part of my duties with the Missouri Census Data Center involves presenting workshops related to accessing census data on the web. We have done a number of these in St. Louis, most of them at UMSL. So I get back to the campus on a fairly regular basis.



Dr. Kyungho Oh was recently released from Barnes Jewish Hospital and is now recovering from surgery. KYUNGHO: WE HOPE YOUR RECOVERY WILL BE SWIFT AND YOU WILL BE BACK WITH US SOON. Please send cards and well wishes to the department address on the rear of this page.


We are pleased to announce the following scholarship winners from the past year:

Edward Z. Andalafte Memorial Scholarship:
  Christina N. Truong
Mathematical Sciences Alumni Scholarship:
  Rosalie M. Wheeler
  Eric R. Tyhurst
  Vernon R. Schierding
  Ben G. Manning
  Seth R. Hein
  Nancy C. Devine
  Ryan S. Crump
  Bryan E. Cool

Rosalie, Ben, Eric, and Ryan are Math majors. Nancy is an education major. Vernon, Christina, Seth, Ryan, and Bryan are Computer science majors. Christina, Roslalie, Ben, Vernon, Nancy, and Ryan are interested in graduate school.


The department is pleased to announce the creation of two new scholarships. The first is endowed by Raymond and Thelma Balbes, both of whom served the department for many years and wish to continue to support students even after Ray and Thelma have moved on to their new home in Carlsbad California. The second scholarship is a result of the generosity of Joe and Mary Vogl of Chesterfield Missouri. Both of these scholarships are for mathematics majors.

The department would love to be able to give similar support to computer science students. Would you or your company help with this support. Please go to to pledge toward this goal. . .or fill in the pledge form below.


Please go to here to make a pledge, and then go to for a page to print in order to make the gift to the department


Please go to for a form to give us any update in your life.