Mike Cortez, a Hope College senior from Cadillac, won an award for the best presentation on environmental issues during "MathFest," the annual summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Cortez was honored with a "SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Award" from the Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honorary society for his talk "A Mathematical Model of Tri-Trophic Interactions," presented during a session organized by Pi Mu Epsilon in conjunction with the MAA event. The annual meeting was held on Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 12-14, in Providence, R.I.

His presentation was based on a multi-disciplinary research project conducted at Hope under the direction of Dr. Janet Andersen of the mathematics faculty and Dr. Thomas Bultman of the biology faculty. The research used non-linear differential equations to model the interactions between a grass infected by a fungus, fall army worms and a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on the army worms.

Cortez is a chemistry and mathematics major. His activities have included the Phelps Scholars Program, the Mortar Board honorary society, the mathematics club and ultimate frisbee. He is a 2001 graduate of Cadillac High School, and the son of Henry and Carolyn Cortez of Cadillac.

Cortez was one of three Hope students to present papers during MathFest. The others were seniors Henry Gould of Zeeland and Andrew Wells of Midland. Gould presented "Mathematical Biology Curriculum Development," and Wells presented "Counting Symmetric Matrices of Rank One and Two."