The Benefits of Hosting a Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conference

The Benefits of Hosting a Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conference. Moderator: Doug Faires, Youngstown State University Panelists: Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University Laura Taalman, James Madison University
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The Benefits of Hosting a Regional Undergraduate Mathematics ConferenceModerator: Doug Faires, Youngstown State UniversityPanelists: Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University Laura Taalman, James Madison University Nathan Gibson, Oregon State UniversityHistory of the NSF-MAA Program
  • Philosophy of the program
  • First year 2003-2004
  • 15 Conferences, 433 speakers, 1193 students
  • Recent year 2008-2009
  • 37 Conferences, 907 speakers, 3179 students
  • Average 2003-2008
  • $27.31 ($82.96) per student attendee (speaker)
  • Distribution of Grants for 2010-2011Regions With NSF-MAA ConferencesRegions Without NSF-MAA Conferences “Subway’’ ConferencesCo-sponsored by Lewis & Clark College, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University
  • Co-organized by Naiomi Cameron, Alissa S. Crans & Kendra Killpatrick
  • Held at rotating institutions in greater Los Angeles area since 2006
  • Funded by MAA-RUMC grants, NSA Conference/Workshop grants, and Raytheon Company
  • Free registration and lunch
  • Two student talk sessions, including Pi Mu Epsilon session with prizes &freshman/sophomore session(s)
  • Panel discussions on career options, graduate school, summer opportunities
  • Panelists: Google, Dreamworks, Raytheon, NSA, JPL, Northrup Grumman, the Aerospace Corporation, Lawrence Livermore Labs, RAND, secondary education, actuarial science, biostats
  • Keynote speakers: Jennifer Quinn, Joe Gallian, Aparna Higgins, Tony DeRose, speakers from Electronic Arts &Dreamworks, founder of
  • In 2010: 16 public schools & 15 community colleges; 33 student talks from these institutions
  • Advertising through Facebook group, mailings, department websites, MAA Focus, MAA Section newsletters, e-mails to math clubs, conference website:
  • 2008 expansion to entire Pacific Coast (Northern CA, Oregon, Washington)
  • 2008 NSA grant provided funding for student travel/lodging; 27 students funded from 14 schools outside Los Angeles
  • Following year returned focus to greater Los Angeles area; 86% of 2009 participants from this region
  • 2009 NSA funding for gas mileage from San Diego/Santa Barbara
  • Six years of SUMSSUMS is many conferences at onceSUMS participants – last 3 yearsSUMS regional participantsNorthwest Undergraduate Mathematics SymposiumAbout:
  • Spring 2009, 2010:
  • Held at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
  • Organized by Nathan Gibson and many students.
  • 2009: 33 attendees (17 speakers) representing EOU, OSU, Pacific, Willamette and WOU
  • 2010: 45 attendees (17 speakers) representing Humboldt State (CA), Lewis and Clark, OSU, Pacific, PSU, Reed, UO, Willamette and WOU
  • Spring 2011:
  • To be held at Reed College, Portland, OR.
  • Organized by David Perkinsonand Nathan Gibson
  • Format:
  • Spring 2009:
  • Free registration and lunch
  • Lunch break featuring Math Jeopardy and Mathacrostics
  • Short (may be expository) and long talks
  • Mostly internally funded (student fees) plus PME
  • Spring 2010:
  • MAA-RUMC/internal (student fees and colloquium)
  • Student speaker travel
  • Keynote address by David Perkinson
  • Panel discussion on graduate school
  • T-shirts for speakers (others $14)
  • Rationale for Founding:
  • Personal: Hudson River, NES/MAA, MathFest
  • MathFest 2009: Portland, OR
  • National spotlight to state and region
  • Local students need practice to compete nationally (2 of 6 2009 PME Prize winners attended NUMS)
  • New PME chapters bring total to 6-OR, 6-WA
  • Large pool of prospective participants
  • Advisors are “active” in supporting undergraduates
  • Students’ Need:
  • Interaction with students from other schools
  • Strengthening bonds amongst each other
  • Master Key to Success: Delegate:
  • Student helpers:
  • Website, logo, flyer, program, fundraising
  • Day of: registration desk, session chairs
  • Can claim “organizing committee”, “session chair”
  • Contacts at regional schools:
  • Chair/undergrad advisor, PME/Mathclub advisor
  • Feedback on dates, encourage students, post flyers (email pdf), organize vanpool, suggest keynote speakers, possibly host in the future
  • Judges for prizes (feedback on back of form scanned and emailed to students afterward)
  • Funding:
  • MAA-RUMC is great!!
  • ..but limited/no money for food, keynote, prizes
  • Food: local pizza parlors/coffee houses may “sponsor” conference
  • Guest speaker: colloquium
  • Prizes: student clubs can do fundraising
  • Selling pies on Pi day, or t-shirts/coffee mugs
  • Local businesses generally give gift certificates
  • OSU SIAM, AWM, PME raised $20 each for “specialty prizes”. Mathclub raised $50.
  • Issues Encountered:
  • Indirect Costs
  • Preferred: let MAA handle reimbursements
  • Meet with grants office in person with paperwork
  • Student Fees Office works only with students
  • At least one student closely involved with details
  • Last minute cancellations
  • At least one graduate student standing by
  • Summary:
  • “If you build it, they will come.”
  • MAA-RUMC can help.
  • It is worth it.
  • “Great idea! I hope this will expand in the future.”
  • “It’s a very good opportunity for networking and understanding the kinds of work your fellow students are doing.”
  • “I enjoyed my first academic conference.”
  • “Great! Let’s do it again.”
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