Marie Snipes joined the Kenyon math department in 2009. Her research interests lie in the field of geometric measure theory, an area of math that uses measure theory to analyze geometric properties of sets and has its origins in the study of soap films. Prior to her doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, Marie spent four years in the Air Force conducting statistical analyses and developing mathematical models of personnel data. This applied math experience complements her academic perspective as a mathematics instructor.

Outside the classroom, Marie studies applied topology through a hands-on study of continuous deformations of phyllosilicate minerals (in other words, throwing pottery). She also enjoys playing racquetball, Scrabble and chess.


2009 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Michigan

2005 — Master of Science from University of Michigan

1999 — Bachelor of Science from Harvey Mudd College

Courses Recently Taught

The second in a three-semester calculus sequence, this course has two primary foci. The first is integration, including techniques of integration, numerical methods and applications of integration. This study leads into the analysis of differential equations by separation of variables, Euler's method and slope fields. The second focus is the notion of convergence, as manifested in improper integrals, sequences and series, particularly Taylor series. This counts toward the core course requirement for the major. Prerequisite: MATH 111 or AP score of 4 or 5 on Calculus AB exam or an AB sub score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam or permission of instructor. Offered every semester.

This course will focus on the study of vector spaces and linear functions between vector spaces. Ideas from linear algebra are useful in many areas of higher-level mathematics. Moreover, linear algebra has many applications to both the natural and social sciences, with examples arising in fields such as computer science, physics, chemistry, biology and economics. In this course, we will use a computer software system, such as Maple or Matlab, to investigate important concepts and applications. Topics to be covered include methods for solving linear systems of equations, subspaces, matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, linear transformations, orthogonality and diagonalization. Applications will be included throughout the course. This counts toward the core course requirement for the major. Prerequisite: MATH 213. Generally offered three out of four semesters.

Looking at a problem in a creative way and seeking out different methods toward solving it are essential skills in mathematics and elsewhere. In this course, students will build their problem-solving intuition and skills by working on challenging and fun mathematical problems. Common problem-solving techniques in mathematics will be covered in each class meeting, followed by collaboration and group discussions, which will be the central part of the course. The course will culminate with the Putnam exam on the first Saturday in December. Interested students who have a conflict with that date should contact the instructor. This does not count toward any requirement for the major. Prerequisite: MATH 112 or a score of 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus exam or permission of instructor.

Topology is an area of mathematics concerned with properties of geometric objects that remain the same when the objects are "continuously deformed." Three of these key properties in topology are compactness, connectedness, continuity and the mathematics associated with these concepts is the focus of the course. Compactness is a general idea helping us to more fully understand the concept of limit, whether of numbers, functions or even geometric objects. For example, the fact that a closed interval (or square, or cube, or n-dimensional ball) is compact is required for basic theorems of calculus. Connectedness is a concept generalizing the intuitive idea that an object is in one piece: the most famous of all the fractals, the Mandelbrot Set, is connected, even though its best computer-graphics representation might make this seem doubtful. Continuous functions are studied in calculus, and the general concept can be thought of as a way by which functions permit us to compare properties of different spaces or as a way of modifying one space so that it has the shape or properties of another. Engineering, chemistry and physics are among the subjects that find topology useful. The course will touch on selected topics that are used in applications. This counts toward the Continuous/Analytic (Column B) elective requirement for the major. Prerequisite: MATH 222 or permission of instructor. Generally offered every two to three years.

Individual study is a privilege reserved for students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a research project on a topic not regularly offered in the curriculum. It is intended to supplement, not take the place of, coursework. Individual study cannot be used to fulfill requirements for the major. Individual studies will earn 0.25–0.50 units of credit. To qualify, a student must identify a member of the mathematics department willing to direct the project. The professor, in consultation with the student, will create a tentative syllabus (including a list of readings and/or problems, goals and tasks) and describe in some detail the methods of assessment (e.g., problem sets to be submitted for evaluation biweekly; a 20-page research paper submitted at the course's end, with rough drafts due at given intervals, and so on). The department expects the student to meet regularly with his or her instructor for at least one hour per week. All standard enrollment/registration deadlines for regular college courses apply. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar's deadline. Individual study course may be counted as electives in the mathematics major, subject to consultation with and approval by the department of Mathematics and Statistics. Permission of instructor and department chair required. No prerequisite.\n\n