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modeling whale populations

By Jacob Biondo, Ethan Kerr, and Keelie Steiner

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Jacob Biondo is a junior meteorology major at Millersville University.  Jacob and co-authors, Keelie Steiner and Ethan Kerr, solved an ordinary differential equation to model whale population as an assigned group project in Dr. Baoling Ma’s Ordinary Differential Equations class.  Under the guidance of Dr. Ma, the group found the minimum survival rate and maximum environmental carrying capacity to monitor the levels of the population using the logistic growth model with the Allee effect.  Jacob is also a member of Millersville University’s AMS Student chapter.  Outside of class, Jacob is a black belt in Taekwondo, passionate about martial arts, and is on the leadership team for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Millersville University.  Jacob is expected to graduate in Spring 2024.  After graduation, he plans to go to grad school for tornado and/or lightning research.


Ethan Kerr is a sophomore Meteorology major at Millersville University. He is from Bayville, New Jersey. He has always had an affinity for math and science, conducting independent research as far back as high school. When he is not watching football and basketball, he is probably looking at the weather. His favorite type of weather is snow, though he wants to research tornadoes in the future. After graduating, he hopes to be a TV or government meteorologist. 


Keelie Steiner is a second-year student at Millersville University and is pursuing a Meteorology degree with minors in Mathematics and Environmental Hazards and Emergency Management. She is a member of the University’s Honors College. Along with her academics, Keelie is a member of Millersville University’s Chapter American Meteorological Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Fraternity. Keelie is a tour guide for the Department of Undergraduate Admissions and a tutor for several mathematics courses. Within her course work, she completed the mathematics course of ordinary differential equations. Over the course of the semester, a group project was completed. This served as the inspiration for modeling whale populations using a logistic growth model. After graduation, Keelie plans on attending graduate school, with the intention of completing a Ph.D. program, for atmospheric chemistry with a research focus in public health. 

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