Dr. Brandy Wiegers, assistant professor of mathematics at Central Washington University, was our guest circle leader on Saturday, November 11, 2015. Dr. Brandy introduced us to some interesting questions about covering up rectangles using simple square or rectangular tiles.

Some of the questions we discussed included:

  • Is it possible to perfectly cover a 7x7 board of squares using 2x1 tiles? How about an 8x8 board?
  • If a board of squares can't be perfectly covered using specific types of tiles, where could the empty squares be located?
  • How can we use what we learn from smaller examples to solve harder problems involving tiles?
  • What is the least number of tiles needed to cover various rectangles using only specific types of square tiles?
  • What patterns can we find by organizing answers to questions like these?

About Dr. Brandy

Brandy Wiegers, Ph.D. grew up in Meridian, Idaho and spent her youth as a dedicated Girl Scout and student, attending Bishop Kelley High School. In 2002 she graduated from University of Idaho (in Moscow, Idaho) with a Biological Systems Engineering and Mathematics Degree. From UI Brandy went to the University of California, Davis (near Sacramento) where in 2008 she completed her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. Her research focused on computational mathematical biology and numerical analysis.

Brandy worked at San Francisco State University as a Program Director of Outreach and Student Success. In this position she was the Director of the San Francisco Math Circle, the Co-Director of the SFSU (CM)^2 NSF GK12 program, and the Co-Director of the Bay Area Circle for Teachers. In the past few years, Brandy has been involved with Math Circles, Bridge to Engineering Pathways (B2E), Adventures in Precalculus! and various professional development efforts.

Currently Brandy is working as a professor at Central Washington University. She is working to continue the national research on the impact of Math Circles and developing a mathematical biology research program.