Mathematics

Get Involved

  • Tutoring Jobs: Available to students interested in teaching others and mastering basic principles.
     
  • Seminars: Faculty show what they have been working on and students present their research projects.
     
  • Conferences: Students and faculty travel to two conferences each year.
     
  • Social Gatherings: Barbeques and kickball games are common affairs for folks in the Math department. 

Profiles

Lindsey Possehl

~Alumni~

Lindsey Possehl Headshot
Lindsey Possehl Headshot

Lindsey Possehl

A 2015 graduate, Lindsey Possehl double majored in Mathematics and Computer Science, which led to her current role as a data scientist for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. 

For Lindsey Possehl, being a Mountaineer runs in the family.

With both her grandfather and father (and, later, her younger brother) as Western alumni, Lindsey always suspected she might also end up on Western’s campus.

“It’s kind of a family thing … we grew up coming to Gunnison, [I heard] stories about Gunnison and the University. We came to basketball camp here. [Attending Western] was always something that lived in the back of my head,” Lindsey said.

Although she had always considered coming to Western, Lindsey hadn’t planned on majoring in both Mathematics and Computer Science.

“When I first went to Western, I didn’t know what path I wanted to do … [or] what path I wanted to take,” Lindsey said.

She started out as a geology major. When it came time to take math classes to fulfill the Biology program requirements, though, Lindsey realized that she really liked the mathematics courses—enough that she changed her major to mathematics.

Then, in between exploring new trails and experiencing the Gunnison valley’s culinary options, Lindsey took on a few Computer Science courses and found that she loved those classes, too.

After some gentle encouragement from her professors, Lindsey declared Computer Science as her second major. She credits her current success, in part, to encouragement and flexibility from her professors in the program.

“If I was in a class and we were focusing on software development, but I had an idea for a project, they would let me follow that—because they knew that was the career path I wanted to go down,” Lindsey said of her professors. “They kind of kept pushing, and I’m glad they did. Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Now, Lindsey works as a data scientist for Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a higher education consulting firm. In this role, Lindsey is able to flex both her computer science and mathematics muscles, creating predictive models and developing new products for various colleges and universities. She’s also the youngest sitting board member for the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

“Having math and computer science on any resume in today’s world is going to help you get into a good career … it’s going to give you good tools,” Lindsey said.

Erin Diller

~Student~

Erin Diller
Erin Diller

Erin Diller

“In both majors I face problems every day, whether they’re design problems or literal math problems. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding to find solutions especially if it’s a problem I’ve been struggling with,” 

Erin Diller came to Western with a desire to explore the Art and Math majors offered. She found her passion in a Graphic Design emphasis after taking several art classes and meeting the professors.

Diller is from Weston, Colo.,—a small town that has a population of about 844 people.

“My town was pretty small. We had one school that was K-12, so I grew up knowing everyone in the town,” Diller said.  She was ready to head to college by the end of her senior year so she could meet new people and explore the Gunnison valley.

Diller has been studying Graphic Design and Math at Western for four years and is graduating in December 2017. She says her majors set her up well for life after college describes and that they remind her more of a profession than a major.

“I started as an Art major and I liked to draw but I realized that there’s no drawing major here. I decided on Graphic Design originally because it required me to study a lot of different things, then I fell in love with it. I have to have a variety of skills in order to be successful in my field,” Diller said.

Every day Diller confronts new challenges, and she confronts them all head on.

“In both majors I face problems every day, whether they’re design problems or literal math problems. It is fun, challenging, and rewarding to find solutions especially if it’s a problem I’ve been struggling with,” Diller said.

When these challenges emerge, Diller has help from her professors. With small classes, students at Western get a chance to get to know their professors and professors get to know the students. Professors learn the strengths of each student and know the best way to help each one.

“My professors would do anything to help aid me in my studies. They are super helpful and are always there when I need them. My advisor helps me the most with guiding my future and where my path is going to lead me,” Diller said.

When Diller graduates, she plans on pursuing a career in graphic design freelancing with a company and creating art on her own.

“I live in Quigley hall right now! I spend most of my time in the graphic design lab trying new and exciting things,” Diller said.

When Diller is not in Quigley, she is either filling her time with work-study in the studio or as a sports information student assistant or hanging out with her friends. She attends athletic events even when she is not working and enjoys hiking and exploring the valley.

“I wish that I would have started putting myself out there more as a freshman and gotten more involved. There is so much to do but I was quiet and shy,” Diller said.

Diller has enjoyed her time at Western, but she is ready to graduate and show the world what Western has taught her.

Story by Grace Flynn.

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Charlesworth, William Memorial Scholarship

Charlesworth, William Memorial Mathematics and Natural Science Scholarship Available to:

The applicant has applied to and has been accepted for admission to Western Colorado University and is pursuing a major in mathematics or related natural sciences. The applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance. The applicant has demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics. Preference should be given to entering freshmen; however, all classes, freshmen through senior, are eligible. Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income. No preference should be given based on the sex of the applicant. Preference should be given to applicants from Delta County, Colo., or from the Western Slope of Colorado.

Scholarship Provided by:

Established with the Western Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Chaired by the chairman of Mathematics and Computer Science and shall include a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. MCIS Department: 970.943.2015 - Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: 970.943.2079 - Paul Wright Gym 201.

Find out more about Western's Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology.

 Dorgan, William E. Memorial Math Scholarship

Dorgan, William E Memorial Math Scholarship

Available to:

Full-time students at Western. Must be a declared major in Mathematics. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Provided by:

The estate and family to celebrate the memory of William E. Dorgan.

Amount:

Award depends on funds available

Selected by:

Western Mathematics faculty in consultation with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as needed.

Application:

Contact the Mathematics & Computer Information Science Department for application and deadline information. 970.943.2015 - Hurst Hall 128

 Mathematical Studies Scholarship

Mathematical Studies Scholarship is Available to:

Students who have successfully completed a minimum of 24 credits at Western and at least six credits that apply toward the major. Must be a declared major in Mathematics. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater in Math at Western that apply toward the major. Must be enrolled for at least nine credits at Western during the semester of application. Financial need and the student's contribution to the math program will also be considered.

Scholarship Provided by:

Friends of the Mathematics program.

Amount: Varies depending upon funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Donor Scholarship Committee.

Application:

Contact the Mathematics & Computer Science Department for application and deadline information. 970.943.2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Learn more about Western's Mathematics Program

 Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship

About

The Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship has been established by Glenn R. and Leila M. (Barge) Calkins to provide scholarship assistance to Western students majoring in mathematics. This scholarship serves to honor Western Graduates: Hazel, Glenn's mother (Elementary Education - 1932); Glenn (Mathematics and Physics -1962); Shane (Mathematics - 2016), Glenn and Leila's son. This Scholarship also honors Glenn and Leila, who taught in the Mathematics & Computer Science Department at Western. Glenn taught from 1978-2000, and Leila from 1986-2009. Finally, we honor William Calkins, Glenn's father who attended and was employed at Western, and Jesse and Mary Barge, Leila's parents, who fell in love with Western and the Gunnison Valley.

Eligibility

Applicants for the Calkins-Barge Mathematics Scholarship:

  • Must be a Mathematics major entering junior or senior year and having satisfactorily completed Mathematics 220, Introduction to Advanced Mathematics.
  • Must have a GPA of 2.670 or higher.
  • Preference will be given to a current student-athlete (NCAA sport) or a first responder.
  • If a student-athlete (NCAA sport), preference will be given to members of the Wrestling Team.
  • If a first responder, applicant must be an active member with a Gunnison Valley Service Provider and preference will be given to members of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Recipients may reapply unless they fail to maintain eligibility.

Application Procedures

Individuals interested in being considered for this scholarship must contact the Mathematics & Computer Science Department and the Financial Aid Office for scholarship application information. The deadline for applying shall be April 1 to be considered for the following academic year. The Mathematics faculty and Financial Aid staff will assemble those applications which meet the stated criteria. Recipients will be selected by Glenn and Leila Calkins, in consultation with the Director of Financial Aid. 

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Brett Calhoon headshot
Lecturer
B.A., Humboldt State University, Mathematics, M.S., Western Washington University, Mathematics
Phone: 970.943.7024
Office Location: Hurst Hall 216
Robert A. Cohen, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Humboldt State University, Ph.D., University of Colorado
Phone: 970.943.2111
Office Location: Hurst Hall 210
Kimberly J. Fix, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Winona State University, Ph.D., University of Iowa
Phone: 970.943.3234
Office Location: Hurst Hall 220
Erik Kjosness, M.S. headshot
Lecturer of Mathematics
B.A., Western, Math and Computer Information Science (emphasis in Graphic Design), 2004, M.S., Montana State University, Mathematics, 2014
Phone: 970.943.2127
Office Location: Hurst Hall 108
Jeremy A. Muskat, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor of Mathematics
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., University of Vermont, Ph.D., Colorado State University
Phone: 970.943.3150
Office Location: Hurst Hall 112
Alex Rasche headshot
Lecturer of Math
B.S., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics and Physics, Ph.D., Texas State University - San Marcos, Mathematics Education
Phone: 970.943.7009
Office Location: Hurst Hall 114
Sarah Schaefer headshot
Lecturer
B.A., Concordia University, Psychology, B.A., Concordia University, Elementary Education, M.S., Montana State University, Mathematics
Phone: 970.943.7023
Office Location: Hurst Hall 106
Zachary Treisman headshot
Lecturer in Mathematics
B.A., Reed College, Ph.D., University of Washington
Phone: 970.943.2075
Office Location: Hurst Hall 110

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 CS 190 - Computer Science I (3 credits)

An introduction to software development taught in Python. Topics include control structures, I/O, functions, strings, lists, files, other data structures and basic algorithms that use them. Emphasis is placed on good problem-solving practices, testing and debugging.

 CS 191 - Computer Science II (3 credits)

A continuation of CS 190 taught in C++. Students develop applications of increasing sophistication. Topics include control structures, I/O, functions, strings, arrays, files, objects and classes, elementary searching and sorting algorithms. Emphasis is placed on software engineering and an introduction to object-oriented programming. Prerequisite: CS 190 with a minimum grade of “C-”.

 MATH 151 - Calculus I (4 credits)

A study of differential calculus, including limits, continuous functions, Intermediate Value Theorem, tangents, linear approximation, inverse functions, implicit differentiation, extreme values and the Mean Value Theorem. This course also introduces Integral calculus including anti-derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 27 or above; SAT math score of 630 or above; MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-; or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test with a score of 95 or above. GT-MA1

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 MATH 220 - Introduction to Advanced Mathematics (3 credits)

Students develop and use elementary logic and set theory to construct deductive proofs with relations, functions, and some algebraic structures. Topics include indexing, equivalence relation theory, and cardinality. Prerequisite: MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 251 - Calculus II (4 credits)

Topics include techniques of integration, area computations, improper integrals, infinite series and various convergence tests, power series, Taylor's Formula, polar coordinates, and parametric curves. Prerequisite: MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 252 - Calculus III (4 credits)

Topics include calculus of functions of several variables, differentiation and elementary integration, vectors in the plane and space. Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 260 - Applied Linear Algebra (3 credits)

A course in the techniques and applications of linear algebra. The core topics include solving systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, matrix decomposition, the pseudoinverse and least squares approximations, and the singular value decomposition. The theory is supplemented with extensive applications and computer programming. Prerequisite: MATH 141.

 MATH 300 - Introduction to Mathematical Modeling (3 credits)

Designed to teach the basic principles of mathematical modeling and applied mathematics. Techniques from calculus, statistics, and probability are utilized to model real-world problems. Analytic and numeric tools are used to implement the models, obtain predictions and investigate underlying mechanisms. Topics include dimensional analysis, curve fitting, simulations, differential and difference equations. Prerequisites: MATH 251 and MATH 213 with minimum grades of "C-."

 MATH 313 - Statistical Modeling and Simulation (3 credits)

A study of statistical techniques used to model and simulate stochastic processes. The core topics include linear and nonlinear multivariate models, generalized additive models, time series models with auto-correlated error, and mixed effects models. Emphasis is placed on computational techniques appropriate to large data sets and data visualization. Prerequisites: MATH 213 or ECON 216, MATH 260, CS190.

 MATH 314 - Applied Probability (3 credits)

A study of the basic principles of probability theory and their applications. Topics include combinational analysis, conditional probabilities, descrete and continuous random variables, and measures of centrality and variance. Emphasis is placed on applications using probability distributions (including binomial, geometric, Poisson, uniform, exponential, and normal distributions) to assess and manage risk in the fields of finance, insurnace, medicine, and quality control. Prerequsite: MATH 251 with a grade C- or better.

 MATH 317 - Genome Analysis (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the appropriate mathematical techniques to answer questions about information contained in genetic sequences. These techniques may include dynamic programming, motif similarity, Bayesian models, hidden Markov models, principal component analysis, and clustering. Students use standard genome query tools to annotate genomic DNA. MATH 317 and BIOL 317 cannot both be taken for credit. Prerequisite: MATH 213 and either MATH 161 or CS 190.

 MATH 330 - Topics in Geometry (3 credits)

An introduction to modern geometries. Topics include synthetic, analytic, vector, and transformational approaches to geometry. Classification of geometries, axiomatics, and the application of geometry may also be included. Prerequisite: MATH 220 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 354 - Differential Equations (3 credits)

A study of the theory and methods for solving ordinary differential equations.Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 360 - Linear Algebra (3 credits)

A study of systems of linear equations, matrix operations, vector spaces, properties of determinants, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, orthogonality and least-squares. Emphasis is placed on theoretical aspects and general vector space properties with proof. Prerequisite: MATH 260, MATH 220 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó

 MATH 370 - History of Mathematics (3 credits)

Acquaints the student with the historical development of mathematics. Includes anintroduction to the proper methods and accepted formats of written, graphical, and oral communication in mathematics. Prerequisites: MATH 220 and MATH 251 with minimum grades of "C-."

 MATH 414 - Actuarial Mathematics (3 credits)

A study of mathematical concepts useful in risk management, including multivariate probability and interest theory. Topics include the Central Limit Theorem, joint distributions, combinations of distributions, conditional and marginal probabilities, time value of money, annuities, and loans. Emphasis is placed on solving problems from the actuarial field, including applications to insurance and business. Prerequisites: MATH 252 with a minimum grade of ÒC-Ò; MATH 314 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó

 MATH 451 - Analysis I (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory of calculus. Topics include the usual topology of the reals, sequences, limits, continuity, differentiation, and Riemann integration. Prerequisites: MATH 220 and MATH 251 with minimum grades of C-.

 MATH 471 - Abstract Algebra I (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory of groups and rings. The fundamental group properties and concepts including cyclic groups, subgroups, direct products, symmetric groups, cosets, normal subgroups, and the group homomorphism theorems are discussed. Prerequisite: MATH 220 with a minimum grade of C-, and at least three upper-division mathematics credits.

 MATH 495 - Senior Seminar (3 credits)

A small group of graduating seniors pursue a practical project necessitating professional levels of problem solving, research, written and oral prowess, critical thinking, and familiarity with core curriculum. Final projects are of high quality, so they can be used by professionals and decision-makers in the field. Prerequisites: senior standing. Corequisite 490.

Major
Bachelor of Science
Mathematics & Computer Science

The modern world is created, secured and analyzed through mathematics.

General Description

Mathematics students learn how to reason their way through unfamiliar territory, find familiar structures, make predictions and answer important questions. In a world saturated with big data, the ability to create meaning out of this information is increasingly relevant and desired in business, finance, engineering, medicine and the sciences. A major or minor in mathematics complements any degree that uses the scientific process.

The Program

The Standard major gives a sound foundation from which one can pursue advanced degrees or enter the business world with excellent quantitative skills.

The Actuarial Science emphasis trains students to analyze risk for the insurance and finance industries.

The Secondary Licensure emphasis is for students who want to teach in high schools or middle schools, where a shortage of well-qualified math teachers provides excellent job opportunities.

The Data Analytics minor teaches students how to analyze large data sets and extract valuable knowledge from data. 

Careers

Job prospects are high for mathematics graduates. While many go on to earn advanced degrees, students can find positions right after graduation in the following areas: 

  • Actuarial science
  • Cryptography
  • Economics
  • Energy analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Fraud investigation
  • Investment analytics
  • Market research
  • Software testing
  • Statistics
  • Systems engineering
  • Teaching

Learn More 

Jeremy Muskat, Ph.D.