Penn State Mont Alto announces Fall 2019 Colloquy Series

Research talks to explore gerrymandering, current state of economics, and employee health and well-being
Kira Hamman

Kira Hamman, Honors Program director and assistant teaching professor in mathematics, will present the first of three Colloquy Series talks at Penn State Mont Alto on Sept. 11, 2019.

Credit: Penn State

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Penn State Mont Alto will host three Faculty & Staff Colloquy Series talks this fall in the Heritage Room of The Mill Café from 12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. The talks will highlight current faculty research. They are open to the public and free of charge. Participants can purchase lunch in The Mill and dine during the talk. Coffee and cookies are provided. Discussion is encouraged.

Sept. 11 — Kira Hamman, Honors Program director and assistant teaching professor in mathematics, will present “The Mathematics of Gerrymandering.”

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision (or lack thereof) on partisan gerrymandering, and in anticipation of the 2020 Census, many states are rethinking the way they draw political districts.

"This is, to a large extent, a political and deeply human question that can’t be answered quantitatively,” said Hamman. “We won’t talk about that part here. Instead, we will discuss the aspects of districting, redistricting, and gerrymandering that math can help with, and how."

Oct. 9 — Mazhar Awan, Penn State Mont Alto lecturer in economics, will present “Is this Economy Too Good to be True? What Economics has to Say About our Current State.”

“We will cover the basics of the two fundamental schools of economic thought and a middle ground that accommodates points from both schools,” according to Awan. “Static, leading, and lagging indicators from the current economy will be presented, and lastly a course for action to maintain and improve economic growth for the U.S. will be posited."

Nov. 13 — Rachel Jang, assistant professor in psychology, will present “Employee Health: Helping Behaviors and Diversity.”

Jang’s primary research interest is in the area of employee health and well-being. Her research program spans four interconnected topics: organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), cross-cultural differences, gender differences, and statistical methods.

“In this talk, I will present two studies. The first examines different profiles of giving help and receiving help and explores disparate physical and psychological health consequences between the different profile groups. The second investigates whether individuals' strain in reaction to job resources differs across 28 cultures. After presenting the two studies, I will briefly explain my future research directions,” she said.

For more information about the events, contact Debra Collins at [email protected] or 717-749-6112.