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Mathematics at the 2006 SACNAS National Conference

Tampa Convention CenterAMS exhibit

The 2006 National Conference of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was held in Tampa, Florida, October 26-29. The conference theme, "Science Revolution in Minority Communities: What Progress Have We Made?" featured keynote and conference speakers, awards, undergraduate poster presentations, graduate oral presentations, and social events--and mathematics was again a significant part of the program. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) was among the conference session sponsors and was among the 269 exhibitors--institutes, colleges, universities, associations, hospitals, government agencies--that provided information about educational programs and career opportunities in the sciences. Generous support from the National Security Agency (NSA) allowed many math students to attend the conference.

On Thursday evening the CONVERSATIONS WITH SCIENTISTS--MATHEMATICS SECTION drew more than 100 students and mentors.

Conversation with Scientists Math groupConversation with Scientists Math group

Robert Megginson (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) noted that some years ago only eight math students attended the Conversations session, and this year there we were so many attendees that there weren't enough chairs! He found an additional room for the spillover crowd of math students and teachers.

Conversation with Scientists Math groupConversation with Scientists Math group
Conversation with Scientists Math groupConversation with Scientists Math group

Before the Conversations session got underway, 54 students took the qualifying test for the WHO WANTS TO BE A MATHEMATICIAN game, put on by the AMS Public Awareness Office on Saturday morning. Six students were chosen to be contestants.

Ricardo Cortez

Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University) introduced the game, which attracted an audience of over 500 SACNAS conference attendees. The game was co-created by Mike Breen (AMS Public Awareness Officer) and Bill Butterworth (DePaul University).

Game contestant helpersGame contestant helpers
Grand Prize winner Guerrero

Luis Guerrero, a senior at the University of California, San Diego, won the Grand Prize of $2000.

In the AMS exhibitThe AMS EXHIBIT drew K-12 science teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, mathematicians, mentors and poster judges who asked questions about the Society and its resources, and picked up materials including: "What Can I Do with a Math Degree?" poster in English and Spanish; Mathematical Moments in English and Spanish; calendar of Mathematical Imagery; Headlines & Deadlines for Students; brochures of resources for high school math students and teachers, for undergraduate math students, and for graduate students; and Assistantships & Graduate Fellowships in the Mathematical Sciences. Many of the mathematicians serve as mentors at the SACNAS conference and are part of the SACNAS Biography Project.

Highlights of the SACNAS National Conference were the 27 UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENT POSTER PRESENTATIONS IN MATHEMATICS. See the list of posters, presenters and photos. The prizewinning poster in mathematics was Permutations of Finite Fields that Decompose in Cycles of Length 2 and Are Given by Binomials, presented by Yesenia Cruz. GRADUATE STUDENT ORAL RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS IN MATHEMATICS were given on Friday. Paul Brodhead received Honorable mention for his presentation.

Ivelisse Rubio (University of Puerto Rico, Humacao) and Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) received the SACNAS Presidential Service Award for their contribution to increase mathematics participation at SACNAS. For several years Rubio and Cortez have ensured that mathematics has had a strong presence at the national conference. Rubio notes that they have received continuous support from the NSA and AMS. This year they served as co-chairs of two pre-conference events:

MSRI WORKSHOP ON MODERN MATHEMATICS, sponsored by the NSA. Ricardo Cortez and Hugo Rossi (Deputy Director, Mathematical Scineces Research Institute, and Professor Emeritus, University of Utah), co-chairs.

MATHEMATICS INSTITUTE--MATHEMATICAL ASPECTS OF COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, sponsored by the NSA. A mini-course by Ricardo Cortez, Ivelisse Rubio, co-chairs, and Reinhard Laubenbacher (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute).

REU reunion 2006 There was a reunion of individuals who worked as Faculty, Teaching Assistant or Director of REUs.Front Row: Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University), Mercedes Franco (AMSSI, MTBI, SIMU), Ivelisse Rubio (SIMU), Erika Camacho (AMSSI, MTBI), Sharad Goel (SMI), Johnny Guzman (SMI, MTBI). Back Row: Dagan Karp (SIMU), Edward Mosteig (AMSSI, SIMU), Pablo Negron (SIMU), Ben Morin (MTBI), Ravi Ramakrishna (SMI), Stephen Wirkus (AMSSI, MTBI), Rebecca Garcia (SIMU). [SIMU - Summer Institute in Mathematics for Undergraduates (University of Puerto Rico - Humacao); MTBI - Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (Cornell Unviversity, Arizona State University); AMSSI - Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute (Loyola Marymount University & Cal Poly Pomona); SMI - Summer Math Institute (Cornell University).]

MATHEMATICS-FOCUSED SESSIONS were offered throughout the conference:

Invisible Universe: The Electromagnetic Spectrum from Radio Waves to Gamma Rays K-12 Session.
Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice K-12 Session.
Applications of Statistics and Computation to Science Scientific Symposium.
Geometry and Theoretical Physics Scientific Symposium.
Mathematics Summer Programs Experiences Special Interest Forum.
Setting Up and Running a Native American Math and Science Camp Program K-12 Session.
Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Scientific Symposium.
Mathematics of the new Generation Scientific Symposium.
Mental Health Research Scientific Symposium.
Multidisciplinary Approaches to Biological and Computational Systems Research Scientific Symposium.
Developing Chicano/Latino/Indigenous Mathematics and Science Education Researchers Professional Development Session.

Read highlights of the 2005 SACNAS National Conference.

Photographs by Mike Breen and Annette Emerson (AMS), and Bill Butterworth (DePaul University).

--- Annette Emerson (AMS Public Awareness Officer)

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