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News from the Mathematics Department

Baylor Mathematics Graduate Student Coaches Guatemalan Math Team

Dec. 22, 2011

Pedro Morales, a Ph.D. student in mathematics at Baylor, coached the Guatemalan Mathematics Olympiad team in the Ibero-American College Mathematical Competition, held in Quito, Ecuador this past October. There were 18 competing teams with a total of 48 contestants.

Pedro's team, consisting of Esteban Arreaga and Alejandro Vargas, did extremely well in the competition: both Esteban and Alejandro won a silver medal during the grueling two day competition.

Guatemalan Math Team
(L-R) Esteban Arreaga, Pedro Morales, Alejandro Vargas

Pedro, who originates from Guatemala City, has had considerable experience in coaching and training his country's national mathematics team. Lance Littlejohn, chair of Baylor's mathematics department, says "Pedro is an exceptional problem solver. I understand why Guatemala seeks his help with their young mathematical talent." After graduating in applied mathematics and electrical engineering from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Pedro chose to come to Baylor, on advice from his Guatemalan friend and fellow Baylor mathematics graduate student, Jose Franco.

In 2012, both Jose and Pedro will graduate with their Ph.D. degrees in mathematics. Pedro is finishing up his thesis in mathematical physics, specifically about the Casimir effect and its applications, under the direction of Dr. Klaus Kirsten while Jose has written his thesis, under supervisor Dr. Mark Sepanski, on the applications of representation theory of Lie groups in partial differential equations. Littlejohn remarks that "both Pedro and Jose have been exceptional and exemplary students in our graduate program. Both are very talented young mathematicians with terrifically bright futures. I really hope they can help us create a Baylor-Guatemala pipeline in which we can attract their best and brightest students to study at Baylor."