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Mathematics at the 2010 SACNAS National Conference

The 2010 National Conference of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was held in Anaheim, CA, Septe,mber 30-October 3. The theme was Science, Technology & Diversity for a Sustainable Future. The conference featured keynote speakers, sessions and symposia, awards, undergraduate poster presentations, graduate oral presentations, mentoring, and social events--and mathematics was a larger-than-ever component of the program. The conference drew a record number of attendees (over 3,200) and exhibitors (311). Generous support from the National Security Agency (NSA) allowed many math students to attend the conference.


The CONVERSATIONS WITH SCIENTISTS - MATHEMATICS SECTION on Thursday evening drew about 100 students and mentors. Both undergraduates and graduates from colleges and universities around the country gathered to discuss mathematics, courses, graduate programs and careers in the mathematical sciences. There was a mentor at each table to answer questions and guide the discussions.


The student poster presentations were a highlight of the conference, and there were 52 poster presenters in the area of math (general, applied, pure, education)--another record.

The following students received awards for mathematics posters:

  • Alexander Diaz (University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, sponsored by Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics)
  • Alexander Barrios (Brown University, spnnsored by Dupont)
  • Charles Watts, Morehouse College, sponsored by Dupont)
  • Kelsy Kinderknecht (University of Kansas, sponsored by National Science Foundation, Mathematics Institutes)
  • Keatra Nesbitt (University of Northern Colorado, sponsored by National Science Foundation, Mathematics Institutes)
  • Alexandra Indarte (Macalester College, sponsored by National Science Foundation, Mathematics Institutes)
  • Jaimie Sauls (University of Arizona, sponsored by National Science Foundation, Mathematics Institutes)
  • Arturo Vargas (University of California, Irvine, sponsored by Dupont)
  • Jordan Webster (University of Texas, Arlington, sponsored by Dupont)
  • Eugene Cody (University of Kansas, spnsored by Dupont)

Many of the mathematicians at the conference served as mentors and poster judges at the 2010 National SACNAS Conference, and several are part of the SACNAS Biography Project.

The AMS gave each student poster presenter a bag with Mathematical Medley, by George Szpiro, and some small gifts in appreciation of their work.



Grad student Anastasia Chavez, who won an award for her oral presentation.


  • "Minimum Distance Estimation for Contingency Table Models," by David Kahle, University of Houston, TX
  • "Dedekind-Bernoulli Sums," by Anastasia Chavez, San Francisco State University, CA
  • "The Parameter Involved in the Lonely-Runner Conjecture for Three-Element Sets," by Jessica Grossbard, California State University, Los Angeles



The Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game was again a popular event. Approximately 2,000 attended the breakfast to see six undergraduates compete for prizes: Abraham Engle, Tulane Univesity; David Jones, University of California, Merced; Kelsy Kinderknecht, University of Kansas; Megan Lee, University of Texas at Arlington, Shawn Tsosie, MIT, and Brian Wu, Bowdoin College. Abraham won US$2000 from the AMS and a TI-Nspire graphing calculator from Texas Instruments.

Many of the mathematics undergraduate students took the qualifying test for the game at the Conversations With Scientists gathering the prior evening.

The AMS EXHIBIT drew undergraduate and graduate students, mathematicians, and teachers. AMS Public Awareness Officers Mike Breen and Annette Emerson answered questions about the Society's programs and services, graduate school programs and careers in mathematics. The AMS was among the conference session sponsors and was among the 311 exhibitors--institutes, colleges, universities, associations, hospitals, government agencies--that provided information about educational programs and career opportunities in the sciences.

The AMS provided visitors with materials including:

MATHEMATICS-RELATED SESSIONS and EVENTS on the program included:

  • 2010 Distinguished Undergraduate Institution Mentor Award to Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University). He was introduced by his past student Gina Maria Pomann (North Carolina State University)
  • Mathematics Institutes Modern Mathematics Workshop, 2 sessions: Chairs Cheri Shakiban (Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications) and Christian Ratsch (Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics)
  • Mathematics Mini-Course, Chair Herbert Medina (Loyola Marymount), Speaker Juan Restrepo (University of Arizona)
  • Mathematics Mini-Course, Chairs Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University) and Ivelisse Rubio (University of Puerto Rico), Speaker Reinhard Laubenbacher (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute)
  • Keynote address by mathematician Richard A. Tapia (Rice University)
  • Symposia: "Games, Puzzles, Patterns!", "Life on the Edge in a Sustainable World: Working at the Interface of Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics," "Mathematics Learning and Identity as Latinos'as: Our Mathematics, Our Future," "Mathematical Modeling in Climate, Biological Systems, and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics," "Statistical Approaches to Study the Sustainability of Critical urban Infrastructures and the Environment," "Mathematics Teaching of Latinas/os: Helping the Field Better Understand and Predict the Future of STEM Education," and "Mathematics of Human Biology."
  • AMS Executive Director Donald McClure was on the panel "What Professional Societies Can Do For You."

The AMS apprecIates all the mathematicians who organized the mathematics sessions, gave talks, served as mentors, and judged posters at the 2010 National SACNAS Conference.

Read Highlights of the 2009 SACNAS National Conference.

--- Annette Emerson, AMS Public Awareness Officer