Oxy to Host Math Conference March 25
The first-ever Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference will be held March 25 at Occidental College, bringing together as many as 80 students and professors, including undergraduates who will give talks on everything from research project results to mathematical history and biographies.
The keynote speaker will be Occidental mathematics Professor Jennifer Quinn, the new executive director of the Association for Women in Mathematics. Panelists will include an actuary, a secondary mathematics teacher, a director of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, and representatives from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National Security Agency. The event, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., is being organized by faculty from Occidental and Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount universities.
Students interested in registering for the free event, which organizers hope to make an annual occurrence, should click here. The registration deadline is March 10.
“While Southern California has a large number of colleges and universities and many mathematics departments actively engaged in undergraduate research, there are currently no mathematics conferences specifically for undergraduates,” said Occidental assistant mathematics Professor Naiomi Cameron, one of the organizers. “Our vision is to fill this void by organizing a conference with all sessions and keynote addresses accessible to undergraduates and with panel discussions on topics of particular interest to undergraduate math majors and students in math-related fields.”
Organizers are planning special sessions for freshmen and sophomores, students who have not typically had research or internship experience. The program also will feature two panel discussions on summer opportunities for math students and career opportunities for graduates with math degrees. Additionally, there will be a student math club competition, with prizes (including a digital camera) given away during lunch.
While the total number of bachelor’s degrees in mathematics awarded by colleges and universities has declined over the last decade, there have been some increases in the number of degrees in actuarial mathematics, mathematics education and joint math degrees with computer science and statistics. “One great way to support and encourage students who are considering majors or careers related to mathematics is to provide them with information about their options,” Cameron said. “We feel that this conference provides a unique opportunity for Southern California students to share their research experiences with their peers, to engage other students and faculty with an interest in mathematics, and to learn more about the wide range of opportunities available to them.”
Funding for the conference is being provided by the National Science Foundation through the MAA Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conference program.