Home > News and Events > 2017 News > Sellers elected secretary of the Mathematical Association of America

Sellers elected secretary of the Mathematical Association of America

Main Content

07 June 2017
James Sellers, professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate studies in mathematics at Penn State. Credit: Penn State
James Sellers, professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate studies in mathematics at Penn State. Credit: Penn State

James Sellers, professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate studies in mathematics at Penn State, has been elected secretary of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

The MAA is the world's largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts, and works to accelerate the understanding of the world through mathematics. Sellers recently served as chair of the MAA’s Allegheny Mountain Section, and previously served as governor of the Section from 2008 to 2011. He will take office as secretary of the MAA in February 2018.

"We look forward to Dr. Sellers' work with MAA members to advance the understanding of mathematics and its impact on the world," said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and strong connections to the mathematical community to the role of MAA secretary. The support of Penn State is invaluable to his service in this position." 

Sellers’ research is focused on enumerative combinatorics — studying the number of ways certain patterns can be formed — with specific emphasis on integer partition functions, i.e., finding the number of possible representations of a given number as a sum of smaller positive integers. Over the past twenty-five years, Sellers and his collaborators have made significant contributions to groundbreaking mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan’s nearly century-old work on the divisibility properties of restricted partition functions — how numbers and functions can be broken down into smaller parts under specific conditions — which has important applications in statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and 2D modeling. In addition to his research, Sellers has devoted substantial energy to undergraduate education in mathematics.

“In this knowledge-based economy, tomorrow’s jobs will require a new workforce who can demonstrate mastery in quantitative and analytical skills,” said Sellers. “The MAA is committed to helping mathematics students prepare for these jobs through research opportunities and effective teaching.”

Sellers’ commitment to undergraduate education has been recognized on numerous occasions. From the Department of Mathematics at Penn State, he received the Donald C. Rung Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2011, the Teresa Cohen Mathematics Service Award in 2007 – the same year he launched Penn State’s Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM) – and the Mary Lister McCammon Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching in 2005. The MAA Allegheny Mountain Section presented Sellers with its Service Award in 2013, Mentoring Award in 2009, and Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2006. Sellers was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2012.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2001, Sellers was a faculty member at Cedarville University from 1992 to 2001. Sellers earned a doctoral degree in mathematics at Penn State in 1992 after earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1987.

 

 [ S R P ]

Document Actions

Share this page: |