Collaborations and me

Wow, I totally wrote a summer blog post and then decided to hide it away from the internet because I don’t think it captured my thoughts well. And then I disappeared from my website, as one does, since it’s been a busy time. Also last year sucked, so I shouldn’t be too surprised that I let my yearly update disappear. I am hoping the year of the rabbit brings more hope and joy, as it’s a year I hold close to my heart.

My friend’s adorable bunny, very pertinent to today’s post.

JMM held its first in person conference this January in Boston since 2020. I was trying to be a good mentor to my research students, but at the same time I haven’t seen many of my friends since 2020, or even earlier because of this lack of in person conferences. My students gave a wonderful poster presentation and many colleagues dropped by to let me know. I wish I could have stayed longer to visit with them, but they were also doing their own thing. Here are my students in action on the PRiME webpage: Look for the second poster on the page. Sadly one student couldn’t make it so I can’t feature all three of my amazing students. By the way, as a shameless plug, if your an undergraduate looking for an REU, I would highly recommend PRiME. You can message me to find out more on what to expect if you’re interested.

But I digress, I hadn’t seen many of my friends (who are also my collaborators) is a very long time. We’d been meeting virtually since 2020, but had not been able to find a time that we’d have funding and felt safe enough to travel. So my collaborations were beginning to stagnate. I love doing mathematics with others, but with teaching as my main focus, it can be hard to maintain momentum. Emails would go to die in someone’s inbox quite regularly and zoom links sat untouched, despite having a regularly scheduled check in.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about my collaborations with my friends, how I can do those better, and how I can teach my students to improve their collaborating skills. In some ways, I would say I’ve been successful with maintaining collaborations as my groups have had papers come out and get published over this time. But as you saw above, there is more that I need to do.

What I learned in professional development this summer

As part of PRiME every Friday faculty and graduate students would have professional development workshops. Several of them really helped me reconnect with my research. One in particular was hosted by Christina Edholm at Scripps College on forming research collaborations. Each workshop was 2 hours long, and for this one Dr. Edholm did a mix of knowledge drops and activities. We began with thinking about our elevator pitches on what our research is. In particular, how could you end that pitch in order to maintain the connection with the person you’re talking to. I wish I had answers for you, because I’m still not sure how to do this well. I’m not good at maintaining brand new connections, as you’ll see in this post most likely.

I really like that she took the time to acknowledge imposter syndrome in this moment and gave us some tips. Often times my collaborations are disrupted when my imposter syndrome and my anxiety meet and my brain is unable to process new information. So I try to keep her’s and others’ tips in mind. I’ve written out some of her bullet points here because my blurry picture wasn’t super readable. This is a mix of what she wrote and my interpretations and reminders to self:

  • Don’t compare my background to others. Our degrees are different, our background doesn’t predetermine our success.
  • Don’t compare my PhD to others. Many things impact our decisions on programs and time it takes to finish a PhD, it is very personal. I like that she also wrote “Publications are not everything.”
  • It is always OK to ask for help. It’s ok to not know everything. Others may also be feeling lost. Supervisors should exist to guide me (so it they are judging me, or the environment is toxic, time for a new supervisor)
  • Prioritize mental health. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Deciding to quit, change fields, or advisors does NOT make me a failure.
  • This is from a prior workshop: If I think you have an area you need to work on, then work on it and don’t self sabotage. Give myself the time to polish that skill. That way when imposter syndrome starts popping up, I can be like “Whoa now, I know that’s not true because look at how much of my schedule was devoted to getting good at this.”

There were a few other important topics she touched on before research collaborations, but as this post is about collaborations, I’ll focus on the next part. I like that she laid out that there are many ways to take part in research, not just being the expert in the room. For example a good collaboration should probably have people doing:

  • Project Manager
  • Scribe
  • Experts in the research area
  • literature reviewer
  • technical expert
  • Graphic artist
  • analyst
  • editor.

A lot of times I get bogged down that I’m not the resident expert, but that’s not the only role in a collaboration. In fact if we only have experts, there’s a chance that the collaboration will fail as we didn’t have anyone write things down or plan our next meeting, etc. Now of course, people can wear many hats from this list, but having a good project manager could be the difference between finishing a project or letting it sit on the back burner for the rest of ever. She spoke about what each role entails. The project manager is the person who helps coordinate us and keep momentum going. Perhaps they make the zoom links, email everyone with updates or to do lists, gives deadlines, etc. The scribe is the person who writes up what we talk about and could easily transition to being the analyst who digs into the proofs we’re writing and makes sure that the details are correct. The expert in the room could be a general expert or the expert on the specific project. The literature reviewer is the one that sits the problem in the bigger context of the field (as well as the one who makes sure it’s not already solved and written up). The technical expert could be the coder or they transition to graphic artist as they are best with using Tikz for making images. And the editor makes sure we have one voice and are conveying the right amount of information. We did an activity at that point in which each of us was given a different role and were asked to solve a calc 3 problem. It was empowering to see these different roles be acknowledged as important to the whole group. I have more often than not found myself in the role of scribe or analyst, and that was why I thought I was a bad collaborator. I can only rarely contribute as a general or project expert, and that reinforces my imposter syndrome. But to see the others roles valued helped me to recognize my contributions as important.

Now that being said, authorship and ethics is weird. I’ve taken a lot of NSF ethics training on what counts as enough contribution to count as an author. I remember a few times now that these videos usually say if you’re an editor and made no other contributions, then you are not an author of the paper. So I want to keep that in mind as I work together in the future.

Some other misc tips I found in my notes from this sessions are:

  • Lit review is good to do as a whole group. Share the paper and one bibtex. Then in one location (say on your projects overleaf) write a summary of each paper’s key ideas. Designate one person to find the narrative.
  • Set expectations with your group.
  • Be forthright about setting a role for yourself and others.

Rethinking Number Theory’s panel on collaborating

I’ve spoken on this blog about how awesome I think RNT’s design is I believe. If not, I’ll just say again I really appreciate their mission and the actions they’ve taken to support communities that are marginalized in mathematics. At JMM I had the opportunity to take 2 on giving a talk on work that resulted from RNT 1 (When JMM went virtual last year I was supposed to give a virtual talk, but as I said last year sucked and so that didn’t happen). Because I was there for my talk, I happened to see that they had a panel on how to do successful collaborations put together by other RNTers.

My collaborator was in the audience as well and we both had let our project die in 2022, so we were ready to receive some much needed advice. (I have notes written about the changes I wanted to do after the summer workshop, but I did not implement any of those changes in 2022). I do regret not taking notes as now I’m reflecting over a month later and can only pick out some of the great stuff that was said there. Some of it was similar to the prior workshop that I had attended, some felt new but it might be because I’d forgotten about the workshop until that moment. So without out much ado, here’s what I remember

How do I start a new collaboration?

There are many ways to do this. It can be structured or it can be free form. If you’re looking for structured then you’ll want to try to apply to some research communities in or related to your field. For example, AIM holds one week workshops during the year. They pay for everything and help the organizers structure the week so that everyone can be onboarded quickly and have the freedom to work on any of the research questions posed related to the workshop theme. I have loved these (there is more to the picking of the problems than I’m revealing here, but I didn’t want to go into too much detail). In number theory for identities that have been marginalized there is the WIN, WINE and RNT. For grad students and early career there are Mathematical Research Communities (MRC) and summer schools like WAM. There is also Arizona Winter School (also for number theorists, can you tell I have a niche?).

As for free form, the presenters gave examples of going out to eat with friends that ended up in great collaborations. I personally tend to ask friends if they have some input on a thing that I’m working on. If the conversation is fruitful that turns into a collaboration. If not, it’s a cool learning opportunity and a chance to gush about math with my friends. Some panelists also said there were ways to meet new people who’s work you were familiar with and strike those conversations. But to be okay if that doesn’t move forward, because sometimes people schedules or expectations just don’t mesh in that moment. I am not yet convinced I’m brave enough to do this, but several of the panelists had success stories.

How do you rekindle love lost a collaboration that died?

Jokingly, they answered invite someone new in to do the rest of the work. And then more seriously, they did recommend inviting someone new, like a student, in to revisit the project and see what excites them. They also recommended meeting in person with collaborators at the beginning of a project and at the end. Virtually works best for the in between parts. This was something I hadn’t heard before, but it’s something I want to start implementing more.

How do you have a successful collaboration?

The panelists made sure that we understood that success doesn’t necessarily mean publishing papers. They also acknowledged that papers are the currency of academia (even if that’s not a good thing), and they used this to transition to some of their main points. When you get into a collaboration, you want to make it clear what your expectations are. People are at different points in their careers and interests. So if you’re going into a collaboration and you need a paper by August because you’re on the market, maybe don’t work with the friend who doesn’t need any publications and is currently just exploring the idea because it’s fun. Or if you are going to work together, make sure you both understand what you’re hoping for in this collaboration. I realized in that moment why some of my collaborations weren’t working at all. I don’t desperately need publications and I devote most of my time to improving my teaching in any given semester. I do research because I love mathematics and I love to explore new topics, so I’m not in a huge rush at any given moment. I did not communicate this expectation well to my team. Several in our group needed the publication, and needed it soon.

Implementation in the classroom and in my research

I tried hard to model the advice I had received from the panel and the workshop while at JMM. My collaborator had been in the same panel and we immediately carved out lunch and the afternoon to finish the project we’d been sitting on for over a year. We found an open table and hopped on the spotty wifi as we read through the draft of our paper. We wordsmithed away and came out with a better written product that I’m more proud of. I hope it gets a more positive reception at the journal we sent it to. At dinner, a new collection of text popped up and I saw that my collaborators on a second project were at JMM. We set aside a few hours to start on some ideas that we hadn’t had the opportunity to play with since I had first proposed the idea via email in August.

Finally, I had my first positive math interaction at a dinner since I started this whole mathematician thing. I have always been intimidated when people talk math at conferences because I don’t hear math well and my background can be spotty. I was chatting with a good friend when she started asking me some stuff about permutations in abstract algebra. I didn’t really remember much about them besides how to work with them, but I knew what to look up to refresh on the theorems. And then as she bounced ideas off of me, I discovered I was comfortable with having her reexplain ideas and assumptions she was making until I understood them. I then carefully wrote up what we were talking about on the notebook paper another friend had given me. This helped me to identify the other holes that I wasn’t certain on. There might still be some assumptions that are wrong in the proof, as some topics we used are black boxes to me, but overall I understood the structure of how to prove this style theorem. This has given me confidence to have more of these types of conversations. It’s okay for me to ask questions, even if it does reveal that my background is lacking. My background will never get better if I don’t ask. Mostly I was trying to remind myself those really awesome panelists also had imposter syndrome and also had moments where they didn’t know things, and that’s okay.

The spring semester has begun again, and I know I need to reach out to collaborators to continue the work done at JMM. I believe I’ve done a slightly better job of laying out my expectations with folk this time around so they shouldn’t be surprised that I have once again disappeared into my teaching.

Going back in time, as I came back from my summer of awesome (PRiME was quite an uplifting experience for me, maybe I’ll spend some time posting pictures at a later date), I decided to update how I was going to teach my first years. I teach a first year learning community some years and it’s key that we help students develop the skills that will lead them to be successful. We do a lot of group and project work in my courses and in other courses. There is a lot of great work around POGIL for how to do good group work, but I have not had the chance to see what that looks like in a math class. One thing my POGIL friends tell me is that you need to have assigned roles for the students. I’ve done this before using variations of “Scribe, Spokeperson, Facilitator.” This time I integrated more of what I had learned in the workshop. A skill I thought was important to develop was identifying the roles they had in a group them explain how they fulfilled it. Looking back I should have leaned more into this and had it as a part of their final assessment of the group projects. Since they also have 3 portfolio check ins I could have had them reflect on their roles there as well. It’ll be awhile before I teach solely first years again, so I hope I remember to do this change.

I have not reintroduced this concept in the courses I’m teaching this Spring because I predominantly have older students who’ve been through a lot of well structured courses with group projects. Also, the semester started the day after flying back from JMM, so I admit I wasn’t ready to make too many more changes. I do want to be more consistent with how I do group work since working together is foundational in all of my courses. I plan on leaning more into understanding work that’s already understood like POGIL once the spring semester of service (which is how I will dub this semester) ends.

Usually I like to include a few pictures from these experiences, but as I flipped through my phone, I realize that I’ve been less likely to snap pictures of the people and events around me. So I’ll end by sharing images of two desserts I ate at Tatte, a place I highly recommend. The food here was so incredible and was definitely the best place I ate at during the conference.

At Quarantines end (hopefully)

There was an SNL skit the other day on what all conversations will sound like after quarantine. And I was about to write down at least 3 lines from that skit. “These have been crazy times,” “What a time we live in,” etc. Boy does that skit make me feel seen. The pandemic has been the main thing on my mind for over a year now, and unsurprising this impacted my list of topics for small talk. So, dear readers, how was quarantine for you all? For me, it wasn’t the worst and my household is all vaccinated now. So I think that means if things continue to get better we’ll actually be in person in the fall. The fact that there is very little I can control in this situation does mess with me, especially when I read about India’s Covid numbers that keep going up.

Online Teaching

Consistency was really key in making this work. Consistency and the large volume of instructional videos to choose from to share with my students on how to do things like use Teams for class or navigate Canvas. My campus put together a Teams group on technology which held several workshops over the summer leading up to the fall, then we had the messenger to quickly @ the whole group when we had a question on how to make something work better.

I’ll share with you some of the great tools that were discovered that I will likely continue to use even once we are in person because I think it really changed either accessibility or it started to teach a skill that most of my students hadn’t developed.

  • Perusall! This is the greatest program since sliced bread. It’s integrated into Canvas (and other LMS’s), so it will pass back grades and it runs an algorithm that autogrades your students readings and comments. There is a little work in setting it up the first time, but once it’s set up it was smooth sailing. In this program, I would upload a reading and students would read it on Perusall, leaving questions and comments to their peers. After a few demonstrations on what a “good” comment looked like, several of my students really took to it and used it as a means to ask questions or answer each others questions. Often they would leave screenshots explaining how to do something, or share a notable example they had come up with that helped them understand the concept (practicing ye old asset based learning). Then Perusall would autograde it all using an algorithm that measures how “good” the comment is, how long they spent on the reading, and a few other things you can tweak.
    Students can game the system, since it does run an algorithm and some students do complain because reading now took them longer (or they actually had to do the reading whereas they had gotten away in the past on skipping this part). But their complaints weren’t convincing me to stop using this tool. The only real concern I had was for students with migraine and other disabilities that made it hard to use the online tool to do the reading. So I did open the class to just doing the reading from the physical copy of the book. I did not create any means of checking that they did, I only used the honor code. That and if they didn’t do the reading the impact often showed up in their follow up work.
    The reason why I want to stick with this is this is the first tool I’ve encountered where I can start to teach students what it means to read a math textbook. Anecdotally, I saw a big difference in my students ability to understand the content for the class this year as compared to last year. This also gave my students a connection to each other that we were having a hard time creating in class. So, I will use again. Do approve.
    As for technical things, most books we use are online texts, so getting the pdf to upload is no big deal. But for one class we have a physical book. So I used Camscanner as well as Adobe to make screen readable copies of chapters in the book and would upload them to Perusall. This allowed me to tailor readings if I wanted to add a related article or something.
  • Teams chat. I used Teams to teach all my courses because my college encouraged that more of us use the free tool available rather than paying for Zoom, of which we do not have a subscription. We got breakout rooms in the spring (game changer for reals). Since enough professors used Teams, my students didn’t have too much trouble using it to attend classes. The permanence of the chat and the ability for a recorded captioned video to just appear in the chat after class were super convenient. Students did have lots of trouble getting Teams to share their screen though, I didn’t have too much trouble with that (though it does get finicky sometimes and not show all my options on which screen to share). Teams chat though, this really helped me so much. I learned from Taking Stem Online seminar about a technique “3-2-1 Go.” The premise is that you ask your students and interesting question, and everyone commits to an answer in the chat, but no one presses enter till you give the cue. This is similar to doing the multiple choice polling in class or the 2 minute papers. After an allotted time you have everyone hit enter, then you can choose different students to talk about their answers. It’s a quick way to measure misunderstanding, and it encourages people to participate since you can even leave a ???? as your answer. The emojis were also very helpful with this method as it allowed students to “vote” on certain answers. I like that the chat gives students another way to participate and will likely be keeping the chat as part of class in the future.
  • Google slides. They are accessible. Also if you give students editing access they can do activities on the fly in class. We had speakers come in from the local schools demonstrate what sort of activities you can do with google slides. Then we had a secondary talk from our Technology group demonstrating activities from the STEM courses that worked well. I decided to write all my stats slides in google (I wasn’t ready yet to move abstract from Beamer). I was able to include activities in the slides where students would drag post it notes onto the slide and do their best to answer the question. This was different from 3-2-1 go because many of the answers needed more time and space, and their was more anonymity which encouraged my students who were scared of being wrong to participate more. Being able to edit slides on the fly helped a lot with typos and emphasizing certain topics to students. I will try to transition more of my slides to google as I get time. Some classes are easier than others to do this, because there are lots of math symbols I have no idea how to type in word.
  • Google jamboards. Linked is an example of an activity I did in class using jamboards (it’s an activity I stole from a colleage). My students really liked these. I make each slide with one copy of the activity on it, then have students answer the questions on their slide. If they finish early, they can read other peoples slides and leave notes. This was a great tool if I needed students to draw things (like shading p values), which was not really something that’s easily done in google slides. My students said this was one aspect they really enjoyed, and I think I might keep this as it’s more likely to stay in their notes than if we did a physical version of these activities. Also, it takes less prep than making sure I have all the things printed for each group.
    I primarily used empty jamboards for my abstract students to share their math. I would share the questions in my slides, then have my class work together in the jamboards. I wish it was easier to write in jamboards, but it worked okay for my students. It did make it easier to refer back to notes when we’d move on and need a tool we’d created earlier. It was also a great resource to point to proofs I’d written in their as examples of what a proof structure could look like.
  • Mit creation board. I didn’t know about this thing until midsemester. I really think I might have replaced jamboards with this if I’d known about it sooner. The downside is that I find it hard to navigate if I scroll away from something I’ve been working on. But the upside is that if you have a tablet of some sort (even the drawing tablet), then it’s easy to write on the screen. Jamboards doesn’t update fast enough to use a drawing tablet to write on the screen, so bummer. I used this when students needed me to work out an example and it would take me a bit of writing to explain. So I often used this in class, research, and office hours. I used to use one note, but it’s easier to use something in a browser because I can switch back and forth between their assignment (in Canvas) or reading (in Perusall) to point at things I want them to notice.
  • Zoom annotate button. This is the best button.Have you ever pointed at your screen referring to something while talking to someone on zoom? I do that every class. When anyone shares their screen, you can draw on it. Using the annotate button, I can click a little arrow and point at what I’m looking at for everyone to see, even if I’m not the one sharing my screen. I want this for Teams since my school doesn’t have zoom. If I had this tool, having students ask questions would be even easier. But I didn’t use zoom for teaching. This did however make it way easier to edit a paper as a group and would highly recommend zoom as a research tool if you’re not already using it.

So yeah, not all bad. Like many of you, many of my students chose to keep their cameras off. So it did often feel like I was speaking into the void. Perusall, 3-2-1 gos and interactive slides really helped with the void speaking though, so I didn’t always feel like I was all alone. But I usually did feel like I had to be the energy in the room, so that was pretty draining (to be fair, I’ve had in person classes where I had to do the same, so maybe it’s not a camera thing?). I did try to share with my students reasons to keep their cameras on (I’m not big on making something like that mandatory), but my students still opted for cameras off. Not that I blame them, how many faculty meetings did I attend with my camera off?
Speaking of online meetings, I really really hope they keep the chat feature when we return to “normal.” I actually could participate because the chat was there. I stutter too much if I have to speak in person on the fly and thus have a very hard time expressing myself and sharing my feelings on important faculty topics. But the chat made it super easy to compose my thoughts and questions. Even my more “trivial” questions would get answered (which helps a lot with my understanding of the bigger picture).

Ungrading (and other work for classroom inclusivity)

So this and “asset-based learning” are my pedagogy buzzwords of the year. (Last year was “Culturally relevant pedagogy” which I do think I did a good job starting to implement). I think this article talks a bit about what ungrading is. Inside higher ed won’t let me read articles without making an account, so I could only skim before it locked me out. My colleague gave a presentation on this right before classes started in the fall, and in true Bianca fashion I was like “Why not? Let’s revamp my syllabus the day before classes start and see how this works.”

The basic idea here is that students should have a voice in their grading, and that as “objective” as traditional grading looks, it’s really not. In fact, it’s kind of weird when you start assigning percentages to all the different pieces of meat, I mean assignments. So how did I do this in practice? Badly and yet not too bad.

Step 1: On the first day have students discuss what grades are for.

Step 2: On the first assignment (can be begun during first days class) have students create a shared document on what they think a “fair” rubric should be for the final grade in class. Have them reflect on what they discussed about grades and their purpose to help them reflect that in the rubric. I do highly recommend to start designing the rubric in class, because students new to this system were not great at doing this for homework.

Step 3: Grade all assignments using the standards based “ERMN” scale and allow revisions of work.

Step 4: Profit. No wait, I had students write a letter due after the last day of classes about what they learned in the class, what questions they still had and use evidence from the course and the rubric to decide what grade they think they earned. Some students are very bad at this, so contact them and have an in person meeting about their grade.

In the future, I will rephrase my contacting them from “I disagree” to “I believe you forgot to account for this evidence. If we include this, do you still think you got blah as a grade?” Alternatively I can do what my colleagues do: Individual meetings with all students during the last week of classes to decide grades. Just a heads up, we don’t have a finals week.

Having it due after the last day of classes isn’t great. Also having to contact students after the last day of classes to have one on one meetings about how they ignored most of their evidence in their grades is also awkward. But the only way to move up the timeline is to have everything done the week before classes end. I am in a conundrum here because I do like the letters. I think it’s the opportunity to synthesize what you’ve learned and really think back on the class and your efforts. Since my students rarely have a final, this is really one of the few tools for synthesizing all the material at once that I have other than my final projects. But many many of the letters are really good, they act as a means for me to hear what went well in the course and what did not. They also help me combat imposter syndrome right at the get go by having students acknowledge their successes as much as their failures. A student that prefers a traditional grading system will do fine in this system, though they may stress about it since they can’t see the Canvas course summary grade, which is never right anyway unless you’re super pro on setting up canvas. A student that does badly in a traditional system will have a chance to shine in this system because they’ll be able to share with you things that aren’t gradeable. Like participation in study groups, taking leadership roles in the classroom discussions, going above and beyond in their reading to help their peers, or going above and beyond in the project because they were passionate about the topic. So, I will do this again, I just need to brainstorm how to make it work smoother, maybe they can evaluate themselves at the midterm for practice….

Other things! I used websites like mathematically gifted and black, Lathisms, 500 queer scientist, Indigenous mathematicians, and SACNAS biography project to create weekly profiles of mathematicians of different backgrounds. I used these to present the person and if they had a particular quote that would encourage my students in some way, I included that as well. I also used this as a tool to talk about different fields of math, REUs, different types of positions in mathematics, etc. My students of color really liked this, and one left a cheer in the chat as I featured someone with a shared background to him.

I also used the first 10 minutes of every class to have students share a silly answer to a silly check in question. I asked things like “If you were on a deserted island and could only eat one food, what would you eat?”, “What is your go-to karaoke song” or less silly “What’s motivates you at school, what demotivates you?” I used websites like this to come up with questions. Several students let me know that they enjoyed this as it let them know a little more about the peers they weren’t seeing, they also liked hearing my answers to these questions. So they all know my go to karaoke song (Hey Big Spender) and that I’m a super fan of fantasy books.

One thing that I did this year that I wasn’t sure I’d want to do is play songs during their 5 minute break in class. I tailored the songs based on their go to karaoke songs, and then later I requested songs through their midterm evaluation. I also played songs that my peers liked when I was younger and some students really enjoyed this. It was mostly a means for me to tell when their break was about over, and an excuse to hear what kids are listening to these days =p

Finally, I really liked the adaptations I did to the final proof portfolio in abstract and discrete, and also making the final project in stats social justice based. The stats project is a fun challenge because students get to find out just how hard it is to find data, clean data, and then choose the right test for the situation. Suddenly the conditions we’ve checked all year really matter because you have a random data set that might not play well with the tests.
I adapted Francis Su’s blog suggestions on final questions to the proof portfolio project my two proof based classes work on. I think I still have a ways to go to figuring out how to ask and answer the value of struggle question, but allowing my students the freedom to choose a medium hard difficulty question that interests them has really helped my students return to hard topics and understand it at a deeper level. I also adapted the final section of the portfolio to address open questions from the course. The goal isn’t to answer the question, but to explore it and do a write up of what they discovered either through working their own examples or reading what others have done. This was easier in discrete as so much of the course leads to open questions (open in my class and usually open in the math community as well), and a bit harder in abstract since my students usually didn’t have a big question they were still wrestling with. But my abstract students still found interesting topics to explore and write about even without a list of open questions created over the course of the semester. One found a connection between chemistry and groups in abstract that I didn’t know about. That was neat.

So, one thing I did almost every class is repeat that mistakes are welcome and that questions are even more welcome as this course is for you and you set the pace of the class. I think this helped students be more open to making mistakes in front of me and asking more questions, at least at the beginning of the semester. All bets are off after the midterms. On my end, I was very open when I didn’t understand a topic or if I made a mistake, but this takes a fine balance. I didn’t apologize for mistakes, I just made it clear “Hey I made one because no one is perfect. Here is the correction. See it’s okay to make mistakes because look at we learned from that.” This is an important balance to strike because as a young queer Latina admitting that you’re imperfect will likely mean you’ve lost the student buy-in and that makes the course 10 times harder to teach. Or maybe 100… It is very very helpful that I have several colleagues implementing similar pedagogical strategies as me. So these techniques aren’t just from the one women of color in the department. So if you’re a campus thinking about what you can do to support your BIPOC faculty, maybe make sure your classes are implementing similar pedagogical techniques so it’s easier for faculty to get student buy-in. It’s not that everyone has to teach the same way, but if the only person in your department that is trying to create inclusivity in your department is a person of color, then you’re doing it wrong.

Research

Yo! Look at this! I have papers on arxiv! Thank you to all my magnificent collaborators for making this possible even when we’re all super busy trying to adapt all our course material to online/hybrid. Here are the papers:

We got a grant to continue the REUF work! I’m so happy, because the REUF group is amazing.

Now let’s gush about how amazing a workshop RNT is and why you should apply. Here’s the link to more information. RNT is the first research conference I’ve applied to that respected DEI work and wanted this to be part of the application process, and it didn’t focus on my publication record to decide on my ability to participate. Because of this it was the first workshop I went to that had such a large portion of faculty of color and faculty from undergraduate institutions participating. My group did a lot of discussion on how our research group will function because we understand that if you’re at a primarily teaching institution the time to research is minimal. We agreed that when we’d meet would be our main working time and there would be none of that guilt or apologizing for not doing anything. Everyone has also been really open to any questions, even if they seem trivial. This has really helped with my number theory background as I feel every class I’ve taken or conference I’ve been to made me feel dumb for not knowing something. Maybe that wasn’t the intent of those classes or talks, but that was the impact. One thing my collaborators have done to make it feel like questions are welcome is they always say something like “That’s a great question!” or “Yeah I had the same problem.” In this way we’ve all been learning a new area very slowly but in an environment where I feel like I can learn and make mistakes. Hopefully, this summer we’ll be able to pick up the pace and see what we can come up with in the world of coding theory. I apologize to my dear reader who contacted me about coding theory as I have had 0 time to really reflect on the things you wrote about and I’ve lost the email 😦

BUT that’s not all of why RNT was awesome. The best part was the 3(?) liberate number theory sessions. In particular, I remember the discussion on liberating conferences and liberating grants. Why is this excellent? Because every type of talk I’ve been to about being a faculty of color in STEM is about how we can mold ourselves to fit the system that doesn’t want us. These talks were about what individual actions and group actions everyone else can take to dismantle the systemic racism in academia. Some actions were simple, make sure at a conference if you’re more senior to reach out to new people and talk to them, invite them to lunch, etc. Some are harder, not all schools have a grant office so applying to these big NSF grants is just not really possible, so can we create a central hub to support more people from these schools to apply for grants? So you should apply and go to these liberate number theory sessions and participate in a research group that really helps us model what we’re trying to teach our students (It’s okay to ask questions, it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s okay to ask for what you need to be successful).

So I really need to steal this model and run a Rethinking Women in Sage next summer. Who wants to apply for a conference grant with me so we can get this going?

Synergistic activities =p

My brother painted a beautiful mural at my sister’s place. It is really stunning, but I probably shouldn’t include the full piece without his permission. 🙂

A colorful scene with a dog deity watching over a crowd crying and carrying a cross.
A segment of Baby brother’s mural.

Juno continues to be pleased with teaching from home.

Juno, a black cat, sitting on her scratching post pillar in front of books.
Juno stares on.

House care is my only hobby now. We garden a lot now which is a short way to say we are at war with the dandelions, but we are winning! We did have to submit to using chemicals, but seriously the whole lawn was just dandelions no matter what we were doing until we used some Weed and Feed.

But look at how pretty the pear tree blossoms were. The peach blossoms were also beautiful and pink. The mint is taking over the backyard. For all ye that do not know, do not plant mint in the ground. It’ll be like bamboo and take over the neighborhood. We found out our yard is full of bulbs too! It was quite a lovely spring.

a branch of the pear tree with white blossoms all over it.
pear blossoms!

What I did on my summer vacation

Wow, pandemics suck. Pandemics combined with financial insecurities and your neighborhood being bought up by the state and evicting everyone also not so great.

Like most folk out there, when the pandemic hit many things in my life changed. I don’t want to get too personal here, but there was a lot of job loss in my family and many Covid-19 scares this summer. My neighborhood was also bought up by the state so we were forced to move in the middle of all this mess. On the bright side I now own a house AND it has a gas line for my beautiful gas stove.

So my May and June were dominated by waiting to hear if my husband and I got to keep our jobs and if we’d get to afford the house we were trying to buy (terrible timing, I know). But once that whole thing died down I got to focus on better things.

Research

I was awarded a grant to research this summer! Early in May my research group submitted a paper based on our work last summer. We then spent the summer exploring other questions we hadn’t answered yet. My collaborator, Maila, discovered an interesting way to look at our question that boils down to solving a diophantine equation. So now I finally have a research project to work with my friend Eva on! We had wanted to find something when we were both at Smith, but, alas, that did not work out then.

We’ve met each week to discuss what we’ve learned and what the data says. Like a lot of research, it full of a lot of failure until it’s not. But I’m excited because there seem to be so many ways we could approach this problem. And so going into the fall I am motivated to keep tabs on it.

Outreach

I was invited to run an hour and a half workshop on Gender and sexuality for Math Swagger. I was able to get to know a (now ex) colleague better because of this session. I felt woefully unprepared to discuss this topic since I only have my life experiences to work off of. But after talking with her (a researcher in Chicanx and gender studies) I felt more prepared.

I reread works that had been shared with me and reached out for more material when I felt I was lacking information. I learned a lot more about Queer Theory and how we can use that framework to think about mathematics classes as a whole. For example, we should challenge things in a math classroom that we see as a “norm.” Is there only one way for a student to communicate mathematics in a classroom? Can we find ways to use more creative ways for a student to explain what they know and how they know it? I don’t know, but it’s worth exploring. The session was wonderful, and my attendees really made it worthwhile. I’m so glad they shared so much with me and helped me to understand more perspectives.

Years ago, I added myself to a list of 500 women scientists. An aspiring mathematician reached out to me through the site and asked if she could ask about my experiences as a cis-woman mathematician. Some of the interview can be found here.

Diversity and Inclusion

After George Floyd’s death, my department reached out to our students and tried to give space for student to express themselves in zoom sessions. We did not want to stop there, as the protests have made it clear that the country is not going to suddenly be more inclusive if we wait long enough. We wanted to be more proactive. So we began a summer department workshop that will hopefully continue into the fall semester.

We discussed different readings on the research behind culturally relevant as well as assessment of past math reforms, like Common Core. We then talked about things we’d like to do this coming semester from what we learned. We each shared things about what we can do on our first day to get more connected with our students, and what changes we can make in the syllabus for it to have a more universal design.

Three actions I read that were more concrete were:

  • Valuing our students and making sure they feel ethnically and culturally validated.
  • Have high expectations for student success.
  • Have students experience connections with their teachers, classrooms, and school.

Because of these sessions, I learned more about what my department is already doing. I also was encouraged and was able to refine some of what I was doing in the classroom before. I also learned more about ungrading, and more actions I can take to support my students. Because of these workshops, we were able to get a survey out to the students on inclusivity and belonging. The students will be discussing the survey and other suggestions at our faculty retreat on Monday. I am excited to see what my colleagues will do with the information.

My college also had several session on race and racism and these session prompted me to finally read So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo. There was so much information here, and I took lots of notes. One thing I’ll be thinking more about moving forward is on intersectionality. Some questions she recommended asking yourself:

  • How might race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, or sex impact this subject?
  • Could the identity differences between me and the person I’m talking with be contributing to our differences of opinion and perspective?

What I didn’t do on my summer vacation:

I have not gotten better at writing, and I have not been socializing often. So teaching’s going to be an adventure this semester for so many reasons. I also did not solve the Riemann Hypothesis. Drat. Maybe next year.

Emergency remote online teaching

This semester started off so great. My students were developing their group work skills and would have such great conversations with little prompting from me. The project for calc 2 was interesting and most of my students had pulled together a nice intro to what happened during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. My abstract algebra students were about to wrestle with quotient groups (which has been the hardest concept for most of my algebra courses), but many were really starting to understand cosets.

My department began talks about how we would shift to online courses before the spring break even if our college did not make the decision. Then during our spring break Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. We got the email the next day. We would delay opening the college for a week, and when we’d get back we’d be all online.

Many of my students spent the week moving out of dorms, figuring out how they could make rent, deciding if going home was the best option. All in all, my courses were not going to be their priority. I read so many blogs that week about teaching online and expectations I should set for myself. They mentioned that I should only really worry if I was teaching core classes. Given that I was teaching Calc 1, 2 and abstract algebra which are all core classes for the math major and many other stem majors this did not alleviate my stress.

I’m still wrestling with the morality of grades in this situation. Many of my students have more pressing problems than can they take an integral? Many of my students wifi is spotty if not non-existent, most don’t have cameras, some told me about how they did not time manage well in online courses, can’t make rent. So what does an ‘A’ mean in this situation?

Transitioning to online/remote learning

I decided to still hold class sessions and record as much as possible for my students that needed to have a schedule (and for myself because I need routine to function). I uploaded videos to youtube and shared them with students if they couldn’t attend. Most of my students are using Khan academy; I am thankful for all their professional videos. My college is a Microsoft campus, but I made all my decisions on what to use before I had enough training to be confident I could use Teams. So I didn’t use Teams.

I chose to have class in Zoom, and use Slack for my breakout sessions and for students where Zoom wasn’t working. I was lucky to already have a document camera from experimenting with it last year. So it hasn’t been hard to share math with students in this way. I then would take pictures of my notes and post to Slack.

My students would break up into groups and work on activities through the bulk of class. Ideally, they would then respond to polls or post their work, or ask questions. In practice, I worked through a lot of examples in most class because they weren’t comfortable/familiar with sharing their work in this format.

Many of my calc 2 students adapted to this format fairly well and many participated in the Slack channels. They would have good conversations and questions and would encourage me to go more in depth on certain ideas. Their project also changed to modeling Covid-19, and those have been real interesting reads.

Abstract and Calc 1 have been more quiet during our classes, but many students are still turning in the work and dming me on the regular for help with the assignments. I think I will try to adapt using a chat room like this one for regular in person classes because I think more of my students that didn’t engage as much before found it to be a better way to engage with the class. I wonder if Canvas has an easy to use chatroom feature?

Plus side

My cat has never been happier. She loves having both of us home to spend time with her.

IMG_0504

Juno is so content.

Animal crossing is awesome and has been a fulfilling quarantine activity. I even got to have a birthday party through animal crossing. Complete with piñata!Screenshot 2020-04-28 12.23.11

Reflecting on my first semester using SBG

Last semester was my first semester being a full time assistant professor. As it was my first year in the job and my department said they wanted me to experiment with teaching I decided to implement some of the things I saw at MathFest and modify them to work for me. I decided to teach my calc 1 and discrete course with Standards Based Grading using inquiry based learning textbooks. I also saw a great panel on metacognition, so I implemented one activity that they had shown as well in hopes that I would gain student buy in for IBL and SBG. For those unfamiliar with SBG, I recommend you go to Kate Owen’s Blog on her experiences implementing SBG. It is not something new, as gk-12 teachers have been implementing the system for awhile. It was just new to me.

What I tried:

For Discrete, I tried a to do a full standards based grading system, where they would have almost daily “learning targets” and many chances to make up the 20 learning targets my coteacher and I had decided on. They also had a semester long project to create a proof portfolio (thank you NExT fellow who shared their resources with me!) that would focus more on proof techniques and latex skills.

For Calc 1, I was teaching on my own and didn’t want to do daily quizzes, so instead I implemented a bin system that some of my colleagues had been testing out. Each type of assignment I gave was assigned to a bin, and students had to score a certain amount in each bin to make the grade they wanted. I had a bin for webwork (their daily homework) in which they had to score above a certain threshold for me to qualify it as passing; a written homework bin where they had 2 chances per assignment to turn in an almost perfect draft of their work (only then would it count as passing); a project bin where they had to turn in an almost perfect project at the end of the semester (they had many draft deadlines prior to the final deadline for me to lead them to the bar I had set); a bin for the midterm where they had 2 chances to score about a 70 on the exam, and bin for metacognition reflections in which they had to watch videos and read articles on things related to how students think and learn and write me 3 one page essays (they just had to do turn an essay in for a pass).

How this all worked out:

Pros: I really don’t hate grading anymore. It used to be the worst thing ever and my least favorite part of teaching. Most students I have taught never look at the comments my graders and I would put and they would continue to make the same mistakes on every assignment. Since students had to keep retrying things until they mastered the material, they read through my feedback and tried to improve. I also have a better grasp of what my students do and do not understand, because the more they did on an assignment the more it became clear what in the process was being misunderstood.

For Calculus, the students that passed my course very well were not just students who had calculus before, which had been my experience the other times I had taught calc. I also think for both courses it was a system that was more forgiving to students who had personal issues pop up during the semester that impacted their attendance and learning.

Since deadlines were essentially all at the end of the semester, a student who had an emergency midsemester still had the same opportunities to master the material as students that did not have sudden emergencies (albeit they had a less time so they had to be more on the ball with making appointments and coming to office hours).

The reflections in calculus got me the buy in from many of my students who hated my teaching and grading system at the beginning of the semester. Some said they still didn’t like it, but they understood why I was doing it and accepted that they would have to adapt.

Cons: Oh my goodness! Learning targets eat up so much time in class and out of class! We even had a file with learning target questions from the prior year and it still took us a little bit to put ones together for this semester. You need so many versions of questions for each target. Then you have to spend time in class giving a target. Since we didn’t want to grade every single day, we had students grading in class to learn how to assess their work. This was good, but also took a lot of time. So we ended up covering less material (which isn’t terrible for a discrete course, but there’s so much cool stuff we couldn’t do because of it). Then outside of class, we had to hold so many extra hours for students to come in and make up targets. We tried to control the workload by limiting students to only 2 a week and only holding hours on Thursday and Friday, but there were still several Thursdays that every hour I had a student coming in to work and talk through a target. There was no time to do anything else like prep for my next class.

Grading 2 versions over every homework assignment in a timely fashion can be difficult when sudden obligations pop up. For example, I’m behind on giving feedback Calc 1 and Calc 2 homework right now because I needed to finish reading applications for an REU last week.

Student buy in takes a little time, so many students would push back against my system over the course of the semester and some left scathing reviews in my evals.

Our grading system on Canvas did not like they way I graded in either class, so I had to constantly remind students not to look at the percentages in the grade book, but to see if the amount of completes they were getting matched my grading scheme. Some students were still confused at the end of the semester, as they fell between categories. So I had to find a consistent way to score these between category students that was as fair as I could be to all.

No deadlines till the end of the semester means the last day of the semester I get to grade all the late work, piles of it.

I wanted to do reflections again because they ended up working so well, but my Calc 2 students next year have almost all already had me, so they’ve already done this assignment. I did not figure out before the start of the semester how to make an assignment that would go in more depth.

Things I’ve changed for this semester

I decided against doing learning targets in abstract algebra as it would have been far too much work. Instead they have homework everyday, participation (measured in how often and how well they present the material), and a proof portfolio that will determine their grade at the end of the semester. I restructured the proof portfolio to have more drafts and less questions so students can get more feedback and a better idea of what I mean by an excellent proof. That way they are not all in my office the last week of classes concerned that they still haven’t written a perfect proof.

I will probably try learning targets again in discrete next year, but I will have less of them, so I can better manage the time for my students and I. I will also share more resources with my discrete students so they better understand the research behind this style of grading and teaching. I will also modify the proof portfolio here as well so students get better feedback. I’ll also structure the regrading in class differently, the first few we will do as a class with several students recording on the board their solutions and we will carefully critique them. Then for later targets, I’ll share solutions so they can grade outside of class and post their solutions.

For Calculus, I really liked reflections and doing multiple drafts of each assignment, so I’m keeping with that. I think for next year, I will write a more in depth reflection for Calc 2, so student who have had me before get a new experience rather than the same information as before. I think I’ll have them do more research on the things they read on their own, rather than use resources I found (which means they are prone to be my views and biases).

I have more firm deadlines now (they are still really flexible so there is still the pro benefit from above). If students want the more flexible deadline, they have to have extra credit points that they earn by engaging with the campus or the community through lectures of volunteer work. Then the deadlines are one month after the original assignment is due, that way I don’t have all the things to grade on the last day (just some of the things).

Things that have helped make these systems work for me

Canvas is amazing. All work my students do has to be uploaded as a pdf and I grade it on Canvas. This means I can have version control when I ask students to regrade their work.  I always have a record of everything they’ve turned in and what quality it was. This way it’s quick to keep track which versions of a learning target students have done.

My department really tries to encourage us to try new things in teaching and understands that this will come with growing pains. So when I get bad teaching evals from trying something new that did not work out as well as I hoped, I’m not punished for it. They also give me full control on whether I will give exams.

My classes are 2 hours each twice a week, so there is time for me to do things like learning targets and grade them in class and still cover new material.

Concluding thoughts

All in all, I will continue to try SBG (and IBL) over the next few years. My hope is to get better and faster at it so that they don’t take as much time. I want to have a better bank of questions to pull from for both learning targets and proof portfolios. I will also try to improve on the reflection assignment to better accommodate students I’ve had multiple times.

MathFest 2018

After a summer filled with conferences and a crazy move (we moved and had exactly one week to find a home, I don’t recommend this), I am excited to get to work in a new environment!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_5d3

Juno hates road trips

I spent my summer expanding my knowledge in cryptography, arithmetic geometry, SageMath, and math education. I now have ideas to implement in classrooms and am more familiar with terms and programs my collaborators use.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_51f

Enigma machine! We got to play with it.

MathFest was another whirlwind of information and hanging out with friends. I learned more about implementing standards based grading from Kate Owens, David Webb, and David Bressoud. You can check out Kate Owens blog full of standards based grading here: Kate Owens Blog. I think the over view here is to know what the big questions are for your course and share those with the students. Then for each of the big questions, come up with standards you think would answer those big questions. Then give your students many opportunities to demonstrate their grasp or mastery of those standards.

Ed Burger asked us to focus on the 20 year question in our teaching from now on. That is to say, what do you hope your students will remember in 20 years from now and be mindful as you walk into your classroom each day on what you are doing to address that question. He also assigned us the homework of not referring to the problems we work on in math as problems anymore. We’ll see how that goes. His final advice was to not leave a failure in the classroom hanging. Always address it, so the students have a chance to learn from them. In that way we can practice effective failure.

Ed Burger was not the only one to discuss failure at MathFest. Laura Taalman discussed the process of failure in 3d printing and in mathematical research and the importance of sharing this process with students so they can recognize that mistakes are perfectly normal to make.

Here was her flow chart:

math research flow chart

Math flow chart. The woo part is important. Someday we get there.

Here are some of her designs that she has made: Mathgrrl. Turns out you can just send designs to folks and have them print it for you.

Eugenia Cheng gave us yet another mathematics that can be interlaced to social justice. She discussed category theory and inclusion-exclusion in mathematics. I really felt like I could understand category theory after her talk. She also related the generalized form of factoring to a way to think about privilege. She looks at the number 42 and finds a way to represent the factors as a cube, which visually is way more appealing than listing all the factors in a straight line.

factors of 42

Prime factors of 42 done up as a cube. It’s hard to draw cubes for me.

And if we’re thinking about how those arrows are pointing, this diagram seems to suggest that 6>7. Abstracting this cube on the right she looks at privileges for the set of  {rich, white, and male} and discusses what the implications are by drawing it as a cube.

category theory and sj

More of a rectangular prism than a cube to represent how having some privileges may lead a person to be better off than those from the same row.

The first thing she mentions about his diagram is that this demonstrates that privilege isn’t about being more privileged than everyone else in the diagram. This version of the rectangular prism helps us see that a person is more privileged than the person they are directly above. But being a rich, non-white, non-male vs being a non-rich, white male would be incomparable according to the arrows on these sets because they have completely different sets of privilege. I thought this was a good reminder of how complex privilege can be because of the intersectionality of our identities. Then it goes further to give us a mathematical means to think about our intersectional identities and how they can interplay. Here’s a version of her talk that she gave at MathFest: Inclusion-exclusion talk

There was so much more going on at Mathfest, so I’m a little overwhelmed. I will be spending the next few weeks synthesizing what I can into my courses before I forget all this useful information.

 

Panel on teaching Social Justice in mathematics

Another wonderful Joint Math Meetings has passed and I was quite busy at this one. I was able to see my friends and colleagues because I helped organize the special session on arithmetic dynamics. I also got to spend some time with new friends from Project NExT by running a special session on Social Justice in the mathematics classroom.

Lily Khadjavi, Karl-Dieter Crisman, and Aditya Adiredja made our session a success. I think one of the big things I learned is that I can work in small ways to start incorporating social justice and service learning in my classroom. For example, Calculus students can tutor at the local high schools in algebra, or I can carefully choose which examples my students can look at in class. As Lily Khadjavi said, the data speaks for itself.

I also learned that I’ve done service learning already in my classroom. Partnering my math for elementary school teachers students with a Hawai’i elementary students as penpals was a service learning project. I learned about the value of student reflection as well as making sure my students met with the community partner.

I still want to create something big in partnership with the community I live in, but for now I can help incorporate social justice into my classroom by choosing good examples.

Some resources I heard about in the panel and Moon Duchin’s talk:

  • tinyurl.com/teachgerry
  • https://he.kendallhunt.com/product/just-math
  • Forthcoming: Lily Khadjavi and and Gizem Karaali are working on a “volume of classroom modules”— Mathematics and Social Justice: Perspectives and Resources for the College Classroom. I think that is what this one is called, but I didn’t get a chance to write the name, so I had to use googlefu to find it.
  • There should be a social justice issue of PRIMUS soon.
  • Link to slides and other resources from our session: JMM session

 

Notes from Analysis

I get to teach real analysis this year! So I’ve been making notes for my students. We are working from Rudin, and we began by building the real numbers using Dedekind cuts. Each set of notes has a rough learning objective at the top. You can find them here:

Lecture 1_sv

Lecture 2_sv

Lecture 3_sv

Lecture 4_sv 131

Lecture 5_sv_131

Lecture 6_sv_131

Lecture 7_sv_131

LEcture 8_sv_131

Lecture 9_sv_131

Lecture 10_sv_131

Lecture 11_sv_131

Lecture 12_sv_131 more compact properties

Lecture 13_sv_131 Connected and compact

Lecture 14_sv_Conv seq

Lecture 15_sv_131 cauchy conv seq

Lecture 16_sv_131 Completion

Lecture 17_sv_131 limsupinf

Lecture 18_sv_131_series tests

Lecture 19_sv_131 Absolute convergence

Lecture 20_sv_131 Continuity and limits

Lecture 21_sv_131_Continuity consequences

Lecture 22_sv_131_uniform continuity

Lecture 23_sv_131_differentiability

Lecture 24_sv_131_Taylor and Uniform convergence

Lecture 25_sv_131_Function convergence

This is what a mathematician looks like

I don’t know how many of you have gotten bored like me and done a google image search of things like professor and mathematician, but it’s results weren’t very surprising for me.

In fact the results have actually improved since the last time I did this search! Last time “professor” had only yielded images of Einstein lookalikes.

It was exciting (and inspiring) to be at MAA Mathfest this past week and get to interact with many mathematicians who don’t fit the stereotype. If I were to be asked what a mathematician looks like, I have no idea what I would draw! Maybe myself, maybe any one of the friends I just made, there are so many people that become mathematicians!

bluedots mathfest

Junior faculty learning math and having fun.

 

Equally inspiring was the session at Mathfest on the journey of how many of the women mathematicians I admire arrived at where they are. One of my many takeaways from that session was that mentorship matters and that I should learn more about finding mentors for myself and being a good mentor for students that might one day follow in my footsteps.

Programs like EDGE and Math Alliance were instrumental in helping these folks get to where they are today as well as groups like SACNAS. I’m glad to have heard more about some of these groups so that I can share these opportunities with my students and others colleagues who could not make it out to Chicago.

 

 

Future Conferences

Conferences I’ll be attending in the coming months:

  • MathFest Aug 2022
  • AMS Western Sectional at University of Utah, Oct 22-23rd 2022.
  • JMM January 2022

Some recent past conferences I attended:

  • AIM Sept 27-Oct 1
  • Virtual: Rethinking Number theory (Oct 8-18th) 2020
  • Virtual: SACNAS (Oct 19-24th) 2020
  • JMM 2020
  • Summer at ICERM, REU, 2019.
  • REUF at ICERM, 2019
  • Women in Sage: Sage days 103, August 7-9th, St. Louis Missouri (organizer)
  • AMS Western Sectional March 2019, Honolulu, HI.
  • SACNAS October 2019, San Antonio, TX.
  • MathFest July 31-August 4, 2018, Denver, CO.
  • IAS Women and mathematics program, May 19-25th, 2018, Princeton, NJ.
  • SAGE days 94, June 29-July 4, 2018, Zaragoza, Spain.
  • Latinx in the Mathematical Sciences Conference March 8-10, 2018 (invited speaker).
  • JMM 2018, San Diego, CA.
  • Women in Sage: Sage days 90, October 2017, Claremont, CA (organizer).
  • WIN 4,  August 13-18, 2017,Banff, Alberta.
  • MathFest July 2017, Chicago, IL.
  • AWM Special Session on Women in Sage Math at the 2017 AWM Research Symposium at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) April 8 -9, 2017
  • JMM 2017, Atlanta, GA.
  • West Coast Number Theory Conference, Dec 16th-20th.