Scholarships–Creating Opportunities for Applying Mathematics (S-COAM)

  • The Scholarships Creating Opportunities for Applying Mathematics (S-COAM) project at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is seeking applicants for our unique scholarship program. In addition to providing monetary scholarship support, S-COAM creates a network of students that engage in professional development activities to improve your career prospects and success in STEM fields.

    While increasing numbers of students pursuing mathematics degrees, S-COAM is unique in its goal of establishing a supportive connection of graduate students with undergraduates through scholarship cohort activities.

    Need-based scholarships annually support seven to nine students from the MS in Applied Mathematics and about 40 undergraduates seeking a mathematics major or minor in mathematics with a STEM major. Annually, 10 to 20 new freshmen are recruited with at least 87 distinct students supported over five years. We are seeking high-achieving high school students with financial need from across the region.

    The selection process considers need, diversity, academic performance, activities, and a personal statement.

    We Want You to Apply!

    Apply according to your student group:

    Monthly Meetings for Fall 2018

    • August 26, 12:45–2:30 p.m., STRGT 226/228

    • September 24, 6:30–8:00 p.m., HUB Allegheny Room

    • October 31, 3:30–5:00 p.m., HUB Conemaugh Room

    • December 7, 3:30–5:00 p.m., HUB Allegheny Room

    • January 22, 7:15 p.m.-8:45 p.m. in HUB Conemaugh Room

    • March 6, 3:30-5:00 p.m. p.m., HUB Knowlton Room

    • April 13, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Northern 116

    • May 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m., HUB Knowlton Room 

    All events below are open to public.


    1. Python Workshop I : Oct. 2, 3:30-5:00 p.m. STRGT 220
      Title: Python: An Introduction
      Presenter: Dr. John Chrispell
      Abstract: A basic introduction to python programming language will be conducted in
      a hands-on manner. Topics discussed will include: basic loops, functions, classes, importing libraries from other python scripts, as well as basic IO for files. A quick overview of several code development environments will be discussed.

    2. Python Workshop II: Oct. 9, 3:30–5:00 p.m. STRGT 220
      Title: Python: Beyond Basic Scripting
      Presenter: John Chrispell
      Abstract: This workshop will extend some of the topics discussed in the introductory python workshop. Advanced features available in Jupyter notebooks will be discussed and demonstrated. Topics potentially include interactive plotting, audio processing, image manipulation and processing, interactive notebook widgets, and pulling data from websites.

    3. R Workshop I: Feb. 11, 3:00–4:30 p.m. STRGT 220
      Presenter: Russel Stocker

      On day one of this two-day workshop, we will begin by giving an overview of R and RStudio. This includes showing where to download these software packages and how to install them. Next, we will go through several examples that demonstrate the following: 

      • How to properly create data sets and read them into RStudio.
      • How to find descriptive statistics either by using or not using a grouping variable.
      • How to construct graphics such as histograms, box plots, and scatter plots.
      • How to construct confidence intervals and perform hypothesis tests for one and two population mean problems. 
      • How to perform a one-way ANOVA analysis.
      • How to perform a simple linear regression analysis. 

      Participants will then be given a chance to practice these skills by working through several problems.

    4. R Workshop 2: Feb. 18: 3:00-4:30 p.m. STRGT 220
      Presenter: Russel Stocker
      On day two, we will focus on how to use the tools in the collection of packages called tidyverse to work with a modified version of a data frame called a tibble. This includes making advanced graphics using the functions in the ggplot2 package. We will also demonstrate additional statistical modeling and inference procedures that include the following:
      •  How to conduct one and two sample inference procedures associated with population proportions. 
      • How to analyze contingency tables.
      • How to perform a logistic regression analysis. 

      Participants will then be given a chance to practice these skills by working through several problems.

    Major Events

    1. September 12: Alumni Day

    Theresa Scarnati, Associate Research Mathematician, Air Force Research Laboratory
    Title:  High Order Regularization Techniques for Synthetic Aperture Radar Applications
    Location: HUB Allegheny Room
    Time: 2:30–3:20 p.m.

    Daniel O’Hara, PhD Candidate, University of Oregan
    Title:  Research Medley: Exploring the Role of Volcanic Processes on Landscape Evolution
    Colleagues: Leif Karlstrom, Joshua J. Roering, David W. Ramsey
    Location: HUB Susquehanna Room
    Time: 2:303:20 p.m.

    Career Panel: 3:354:50 p.m.
    Location: HUB Susquehanna Room
    Daniel O’Hara, Theresa Scarnati 

    Theresa Scarnati: Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Theresa Scarnati received a BS in applied mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. After completing her MA in 2016, she graduated with her PhD in applied mathematics from Arizona State University in 2018. Currently, Scarnati is an associate research mathematician for the Air Force Research Laboratory within the Mutli-Domain Sensing Autonomy Division. Her research interests include the implementation and analysis of regularization techniques for exploiting sparsity and prior knowledge in inverse problems, specifically for the application of denoising synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, SAR automatic target recognition, three-dimensional image reconstruction and multi-sensor information fusion.  

    Daniel O’Hara: “I am a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon, studying volcanic geomorphology. I am a first-generation student, originally from Ebensburg, Pa. I attended IUP from 2009 to 2014, where I completed a dual degree in geology and computer science, with a minor in mathematics. As an undergraduate, I was a S-COAM scholar, McNair scholar, and Goldwater scholar, which allowed me to participate in multiple research projects in the IUP Geoscience Department, at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), and at Academia Sinica (Taiwan). Motivated by my experiences at IUP, I applied and was accepted to UO in 2014. At UO, I have focused my research into understanding the interaction between volcanic processes and surface topography. As a graduate student, I have co-authored two research articles, recently submitted my first primary-author paper for review, interned at the Cascades Volcanic Observatory through the NSF Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP), and was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).”

    2. February 7, SIAM Visiting Lecture

    Dr. Helen Moore, Principal Scientist at AstraZeneca

    Location: STRGT 226/229
    (Address: 210 S. 10th St., Indiana, PA 15705)

    4:00–4:30 p.m.
    Chat with Dr. Helen Moore

    4:30–5:30 p.m.
    Title: Using Mathematics to Predict Which Cancer Patients Will Respond to Immunotherapy
     Immunotherapies don't work for many cancer patients; but when they do work, they can work extremely well. So it is important to figure out as early as possible if a patient will be a “responder” or a “non-responder.” I will present a simple mathematical model of tumor dynamics I used for tumor size data from patients. I combined the model parameters with a machine learning technique to create an early predictor of response/non-response. I will show how I validated the predictor on data sets for different cancer types and immunotherapies. 
    (Suitable for general audience)

    6:00–7:00 p.m.
    Title: How to Mathematically Optimize Combination Drug Regimens
    Combination regimens are increasingly important as we try to combat resistance in viral diseases and cancer. How much better could patient outcomes be if we used the same drugs but changed their doses or schedules? With a mathematical model for the disease-therapy dynamics, we can apply optimal control to predict the regimen that will perform the best according a specified goal. I will explain the basic ideas of optimal control using some examples, and will discuss some of the challenges of math modeling in the biopharma industry. 
    (Suitable for audience with calculus background.)

    About the Speaker: Helen Moore graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her PhD in mathematics in 1995 from Stony Brook University. Her original work in differential geometry focused on shapes that minimize volume under certain constraints. Over a period of 11 years in academia, she won two teaching awards and received a National Science Foundation grant for her research. While at Stanford University, she began collaborating with faculty in the medical school, and shifted her use of optimization techniques to apply them to therapies for cancer, HIV, and hepatitis C.

    In 2006, Moore entered the biopharma industry. She first worked at Genentech, and then Pharsight/Certara in California. Moore moved to the east coast in 2014 to work for Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, NJ, and moved near Boston, MA in 2018 to work for AstraZeneca. Moore was named a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2018. Her current areas of work are mathematical modeling of tumor dynamics, optimization of combination regimens, and quantitative evaluation of predictive mathematical models.


    In addition to financial support, S-COAM scholars will also participate in the Mathematics Enrichment Activities Network.

    Our Students Engage in Many Activities, Including:

    • Peer-led, team-learning sessions for freshmen

    • Research opportunities

    • Local, regional, or national conferences

    • Departmental or college-wide colloquia

    • Workshops in software training, job/internship search, and graduate school preparation

    • Connections with working professionals in science and engineering fields

    • Social gatherings with other S-COAM scholars

    • IUP clubs, including: Math Club, Actuary Club, or Preservice Teachers of Mathematics

    • Presentations by professionals from industry and academia

    Scholarship Renewal Requirements

    • Participate in all required events in the program

    • Submit the FAFSA form, and continue to meet the federal financial aid requirements every semester

    • Continue as a full-time student at IUP making satisfactory progress toward a qualifying sciences and mathematics degree

    • Submit a summary of activities every semester with a short essay on the program and his/her academic progress

    • Complete the program outcomes and assessment survey

    • Undergraduates must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and graduates must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.

    This web page changes often. Please check back frequently for additional information.

    If you have questions about this program, please contact:

    Project Directors:

    Yu-Ju Kuo,
    Rick Adkins,
    210 South Tenth Street
    Mathematics Department
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Phone: 724-357-2608

    This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S STEM) program under Award No. DUE 1742304.

    Past S-Coam Scholarship Recipients