PNW MAA section meeting, 2018

Seattle University will host the Pacific Northwest section meeting of the Mathematical Association of America from Friday April 20 - Saturday April 21, 2018.

Invited speakers:

  • Colin Adams, Williams College
  • Deanna Haunsperger, Carleton College
  • Kathryn Leonard, Occidental College


  • Kathryn Leonard, Occidental College, Laying Foundations for Positive Group Collaboration

    Abstract: Mathematics is increasingly a collaborative activity, beginning with group work in classes, continuing through undergraduate research projects, and ending with professional research collaborations with mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike. We typically assume that collaboration comes naturally, and that reasonable people can address any issues that might arise in the moment. Alas, evidence to the contrary (students crying in faculty offices, professional relationships destroyed) suggests that we should pay more attention to laying strong foundations for productive collaborations. This mini course will present research on what makes a successful team, and discuss methods for building mechanisms that ensure smooth interactions in the long term.

  • William Stein, UW Math, SAGE for teaching and research

    SageMath is a free open-source mathematics software system with calculating, symbolic manipulation, and graphical capabilities. It can be used to study a huge range of mathematics and is well-suited for both education and research. Participants in this minicourse will learn the interface for SageMath and explore some many capabilities. The course will be tailored to meet the needs and interests of the participants. 

Information about special sessions, contributed sessions and the abstract submission form is here.

Deadlines and tentative schedule

Here are some useful dates for planning purposes:

  • deadline for proposing a special session: closed on December 29, 2017
  • call for abstracts: NOW OPEN!
  • registration: NOW OPEN! Visit this Eventbrite website!
  • deadline for abstracts: March 23, 2018 (accepted speakers notified on a rolling basis)
  • PNW NExT: Friday April 20, 2018
  • MAA meeting: Saturday April 21, 2018
  • Undergraduate  Mentorship Workshop: Sunday, April 22 (requires registration)

Here is the overview of the schedule for planning purposes:

Friday April 20

8:00 am-2:30 pmPNW NExT
2:45 pm-5:30 pmMinicourses: Kathryn Leonard and William Stein
5:30 pm-7:30 pmStudent puzzle hunt
8:00 pm - 9:00 pmPlenary talk: Sir Randolf Bacon III (a cousin-in-law of Colin Adams)
Blown Away: what Knot to do when sailing
9:00 pm - 10:00 pmReception

Saturday April 21

8:00 am - 8:50 amRegistration
8:50 am - 10:00 amWelcome and plenary talk: Deanna Haunsperger
Halving your cake
10:30 am - 12:30 pmContributed talks, special sessions
12:30 pm - 1:55 pmLunch
1:55 pm - 3:00 pm Plenary: Kathryn Leonard
Getting your computer into shape: Toward automated understanding of the shape of objects in two and three dimensions
3:30 pm - 5:30 pmContributed talks, special sessions
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Reception
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Plenary: Colin Adams (cousin-in-law to Sir Randolf Bacon III)
Turning Knots into Flowers: Opportunities for Undergraduate Research

 Sunday April 22

9:00 am - 1 pm Undergraduate Mentoring workshop

Information for out of region guests

Seattle University is located in central Seattle, near downtown and the Capitol Hill neighbourhood.

area map

Please click here for a campus map.

The nearest hotel to Seattle University is across the street, the Silver Cloud on Broadway.  We have arranged a group discount rate at this hotel for conference participants that book their accomodations before March 20, 2018.  To make a reservation with this code, visit this website ( CONF&o=broadway18 ) or call the hotel directly at (206)325.1400 and ask for the "Mathematical Association of America" or "MAA CONF" group and a guest services agent will be able to assist with making your reservation.  (tip: there is more than one Silver Cloud hotel, ensure you are booking at the Silver Cloud on Broadway!)

We look forward to seeing you there!

PNW MAA 2018 -- Seattle University

Abstract submission for contributed papers (including undergraduate talks) and special sessions are now open!!

All talks in special sessions, contributed sessions and undergraduate talks are 15 minutes long, with 5 minutes for transition.

Please visit this link to submit an abstract. (this opens a new window to a google form)

The list of special sessions and a brief abstract is listed below. 


Special sessions


  1. Teaching the Art of Analysis: Preparing Students, Instructional Strategies, Applications, and Core Content
    Organizer(s):  Laramie Paxton, WSU and Enrique Alvarado, WSU

    Teaching rigorous analysis to undergraduates presents a special set of challenges that involves the development of a subtle combination of approximation, inequalities, and geometric intuition. This session focuses on student preparation, teaching modalities & resources, core content, and how to motivate the topic while building confidence. Teaching other areas of analysis, such as applied, numerical, and complex analysis, will also be covered along with techniques for specific topics. To motivate the topic for both students and faculty, one of the talks will be centered on analysis instruction and applications from a historical perspective, starting from the time of Newton and Leibniz.

  2. Math-POW! Outreach Activities
    Organizer(s): Brandy Wiegers, CWU

    The goal of this session is to share great interactive outreach ideas for the next time your math department is asked to show up to an events and engage K-12 students in math. Speakers who present in this session will guide the audience in a 15 minute outreach activity and the related worksheets/ teaching tips will be collected and shared as resources for the new MATH-POW! website,  Abstracts should describe the activity to be done and potential math connections.

    The Pacific Northwest Mathematical Outreach Web (Math-POW!, is a new effort to network those who are doing mathematical outreach. Beyond providing a community of support, the goal of Math POW!  is to provide resources, training, and grant opportunities for those who want to start and support regional outreach programs. 

  3. Data-Driven Applied Mathematical Modeling
    Organizer(s): David Wollkind,WSU; Rick Cangelosi, Gonzaga

    The six speakers will each present a comprehensive applied mathematical modeling problem where the theoretical predictions are compared with observational or experimental data from the phenomenon. The phenomena to be modeled include gravitational instabilities by Wollkind, virus-host noncytopathic interactions by Cangelosi, multivariate extreme data sets by Li, efficient inference in Markov models over long periods of observation by Ye, ophthalmic waveforms for glaucoma patients by Lapin, and a heat conduction Stefan problem by Barannyk. The purpose of the special session is to acquaint attendees with how phenomenological data is used both to formulate and validate the models during such processes.

  4. Innovative Teaching Methods and Principles
    Organizer(s): Kelsey Marcinko, Applied Mathematics, UW Seattle

    We welcome research-based proposals as well as proposals from those who have implemented creative teaching methods or principles in the classroom and have insights to share. We encourage proposals related to methods such as inquiry-based learning, mastery-based grading, flipped classrooms, different styles for assessing student learning, or any other ideas implemented in the classroom to motivate, inspire, and equip students in their learning. We seek innovative ways to better guide students as they build on prior knowledge and develop the critical thinking skills necessary for mastering mathematical concepts and applications. 

  5. Equity in Mathematics
    Organizer(s): Ksenija Simic-Muller, PLU; Katya Yurasovskaya, SU

    We invite proposals for talks that interpret the term 'equity' broadly, and will address one or more of the following topics: access to high quality mathematics, community partnerships, teaching mathematics for social justice, and culturally responsive mathematics teaching. We welcome various types of presentations, including practical work and experiments, expository reports, applications in the classroom, and research grounded in theory.

  6. Innovations in Mathematics Teacher Preparation
    Organizer(s): Mike Boardman, Pacific University, Chair of CUPM

    For this session, we invite presentations on innovative strategies for effective secondary mathematics teacher preparation. Talks will highlight research findings, action, or both. At the end of the overall session, there will be time for a discussion of the major themes and ideas presented throughout the day.

  7. Efforts to Address the Common Vision Report
    Organizer(s): Brian Fischer, SU

    The Common Vision project brought together leaders from five professional mathematical societies in 2015 to reexamine undergraduate mathematics education. The Common Vision Report called for significant change in undergraduate curricula and instructional methods in order to better serve our students, particularly in the first two years of college. This session will allow us to share the ways that we have worked to address the Common Vision and outline future steps we can take to achieve its goals.

  8. Junior Faculty Research Session
    Organizer(s): to be announced

    This session provides an opportunity for junior faculty to present their research.

Undergraduate Mentoring workshop

On Sunday April 22, Dr. Brandy Wiegers and Dr. Sooie-Hoe Loke will organize an undergraduate mentoring workshop.  Please be sure to click the appropriate box in your registration if you will attend.

The four hour undergraduate mentor training will include presentations by experienced and award winning mentors from across the county and include group work and braining storming opportunities for future and current research mentors. This session will start a broader group discussion about best practices in successful mentorships and the session will end with opportunities for faculty to think about successful research structures that will work with their unique undergraduate populations. The registration fee covers the cost of a lunch, that you will be able to grab and take on the road as you travel back home on Sunday afternoon after the session. For more details about the structure please check out the online schedule (LINK