Students share experiences from math conference
Chelsey Fattal | Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Saint Mary’s Math Club and math honor society, Pi Mu Epsilon, held a presentation about the world’s largest mathematics conference Wednesday afternoon in Madeleva Hall about their experience attending the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) Conference.
Nine members of the Saint Mary’s chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon discussed their January trip to the conference in Baltimore.
“Mathematics is such a powerful, universal subject, that people from around the world can embrace it and learn more, together,” senior Brianne Michaels, president of Pi Mu Epsilon, said. “This meeting offers students the opportunity to learn about topics outside of the Saint Mary’s curriculum. The meeting also offers an abundance of networking opportunities and the opportunity to meet many new people from around the country and the world.”
Junior Chloe McColgan, a Pi Mu Epsilon member and Notre Dame engineer, said the conference drew a global audience.
“People came from all over the world to speak and to hear about math education,” she said. “As a student, I attended the conference because I wanted to listen to the many panel discussions that were going on, and to learn more about math and its applications.”
Senior Devree Stopczynski said the Saint Mary’s students spent two full days at the conference, beginning from 8 or 9 a.m. and lasting until the late afternoon.
Junior Meredith McGee, Pi Mu Epsilon treasurer, said she particularly enjoyed the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) committee on the participation of women poster session.
“This event allowed us to see what institutions, such as other colleges or programs, were doing to interest middle and high school students about mathematics and other STEM careers,” McGee said. “Mostly, the programs that we heard about were for girls, minorities and the financially disadvantaged, which are often underrepresented in these fields.
“Coming from a women’s college, it was exciting to hear about such efforts to encourage more female students to explore mathematics and to experience the different applications it can have.”
McColgan discussed her favorite panel discussion, which focused on “the math behind origami.” She said she was intrigued by the ways to interest younger students, especially girls, in mathematics.
Michaels said an unprecedented number of students, six seniors and three juniors, had the opportunity to attend the conference.
“The mathematics education at Saint Mary’s is outstanding, but it is important to also, experience mathematics outside of the classroom,” she said.