Jan
25

Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year.

I spent most of my break from school planning and then participating in the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston. This is the biggest math conference in the United States and I was honored to be able to present a poster in the undergraduate poster session at JMM again.

My extended family lives in Boston so I arrived in Boston on the 23rd of December, although the conference did not actually start until January 4th. I was able to spend this time with my family over Christmas and New Year’s, but also preparing my spiel to give to anyone who was intrigued by my poster.

The poster session was held on Friday, so I was able to attend a variety of talks in the days beforehand, ranging from talks concerning graduate school to a talk given by a high-school friend of mine who I randomly ran into at the conference. I also was able to attend a graduate school fair and meet many representatives from universities that I am applying to. The time flew by though, and soon it was time to present at the poster session.

The session consists of two segments, each an hour long. In the first segment, the judges wander around asking questions and, for lack of a better word, judging the undergraduate’s posters. The second hour consists of the rest of the attendees of the conference coming around and just chatting about the posters and projects. It is only natural to be nervous in cases like this, but the organizers and the judges do a wonderful job at putting you at ease and allowing you to really explain what you know and what you are working on.

In action: describing the subtleties of my Blue Crab model to a mathematics student from Mary Washington

I presented at this same conference a year ago in New Orleans and had only three people visit my poster during a three-hour long session, so I was expecting much of the same this time. However, that was not the case at all. I had around 20 people come by to ask me about my research, including professors and graduate students from schools which I am applying to! It was a wonderful two hours and I was able to learn a lot from the questions that I was asked, as well as pass on information concerning the Blue Crab and our model to many intrigued viewers. It was a wonderful experience and it has motivated me to work even harder now that I am back at school.

Speaking of being back at school, I have now begun to knuckle down and really get to writing the draft of my Honors Thesis. I have previously given it a lot of thought, but not put much down in writing, preferring to focus on the mathematical aspects. As my last semester begins, however, time is running out. As such, I have started working on writing a solid introduction to the thesis, as well as a mathematical (and non-mathematical) explanation of the stability and numerical analysis that we have done.

I will be presenting my research in a talk at the Honors Colloquium in the coming weeks, as well as my poster at the Symposium, so I will be in and around my research a lot this semester. Thankfully, that keeps me from thinking about the fact that any day now I could hear from any of my 11 schools that I applied to!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll update again soon.