UR SIGMAA Newsletters

SIGMAA on Undergraduate Research (SIGMAA-UR) Winter 2020 Newsletter

There are notes about:

1. JMM 2020 Events

2. Resource Announcement: A Mathematician’s Practical Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Research

3. Other updates about the SIGMAA-UR

4. SIGMAA-UR Officers

If you are at JMM please join us to learn more about the future growth of SIGMAA-UR!  If you won’t be there, thank you for your continued support of the SIGMAA.


Dr. Brandy Wiegers

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Associate Professor, Dept of Mathematics 
Central Washington University 


JMM 2020 Events

Wednesday January 15, 2020,  6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.  DCC Room 601

SIGMAA UR Panel: Students’ Perspectives on Undergraduate Research Experiences


Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College, CUNY



* Amelia Cantwell, University of Montana

* Vinny Jodoin, University of Tennessee

* Natasha Crepeau, Harvey Mudd

* Harold Jimenez Polo, University of Florida

* Mr. Esteban Escobar, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 



* Allison Henrich, Seattle University

* Laramie Paxton, Marian University–Wisconsin

* Maria Mercedes Franco Queensborough Community College, CUNY


If you’re a faculty member with an interest in pursuing research with undergraduates, you may have a number of questions on your mind. For instance, what do students gain by doing an undergraduate research experience? What are some challenges they might encounter when doing research with a faculty member and, perhaps, a group of their peers? What are particular issues you should be aware of that students from underrepresented minority groups face? How might you, as a research mentor, make the experience a positive one for your students? 


On the other hand, if you’re a student considering doing research in mathematics, you might wonder what doing research for the first time is like. How can you prepare yourself for the experience? What tools might you use to overcome hurdles you encounter along the research path? How might doing research help you achieve your personal goals?


One of the best ways to learn the answers to these questions is by talking to people who have actually had research experiences as students. In this panel, current and former undergraduate researchers will reflect on their experiences, discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and how research experiences could be improved.

Thursday January 16, 2020, 6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. DCC Room 507. 

SIGMAA on Undergraduate Research (SIGMAA UR) Business Meeting and Reception 

Colorado Chile Bar (vegan & vegetarian options) provided.


Thursday January 16, 2020, 6:40 p.m.-7:30 p.m. DCC Room 507

SIGMAA UR Guest Speaker: Dr. Maria Mercedes Franco


Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College, CUNY



Reflections on Diversity and Undergraduate Research


The speaker will share insights gained from a wide range of experiences mentoring undergraduate research students. These experiences include roles as GRA, faculty mentor, and program director; working with students from 2- and 4-year colleges/universities; and facilitating or personally engaging them in summer, course-based or academic year research. What these experiences have in common is also what attracted the speaker to them: they all  address issues of underrepresentation in the mathematical sciences or, more broadly, in STEM.



Other JMM 2020 Events of interest to UR-SIGMAA

Wednesday January 15

2:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. DCC Room 702

The Dolciani Award Lectures: Joseph Gallian

 "The Current State of Undergraduate Research in Mathematics in the U.S."

5:00 pm. DCC Room 601

REU Director’s Meeting – open to all past, current, and future REU Directors.

Thursday January 16

9:00 a.m.-10:20 a.m.

DCC Room 605

MAA Workshop:  Generating Ideas of Undergraduate Research Projects

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

DCC Hall D

MAA Poster Session: Projects Supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education

2:00 p.m.

DCC Room 206

Using group-like interactions to motivate undergraduate research projects. Meghan M. De Witt*, St. Thomas Aquinas College (1154-20-1876)

2:35 p.m.-3:55 p.m.

DCC Room 601

MAA Panel: Strengthening Undergraduate Research Through Community Building

Friday January 17

8:00 a.m.-10:50 a.m.

DCC Room 112

AMS-MAA Special Session on Getting Started in Undergraduate Research: Topics, Tools and Open Problems, I

1:00 p.m.-5:50 p.m.

DCC Room 112

AMS-MAA Special Session on Getting Started in Undergraduate Research: Topics, Tools and Open Problems, II

1:15 p.m.- 1:25 p.m.

DCC Room 602

Successful and sustainable undergraduate research in statistics through vertical integration of experience and horizontal integration of disciplines. Audrey E Hendricks*, University of Colorado Denver (1154-97-102)

2:30 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.

DCC Room 602

Impacts of a cross-institutional undergraduate research experience workshop on student understanding of and self-efficacy for research. Megan Olivia Powell*, University of North Carolina Asheville.  Angela Antonou, University of St. Francis. Sara Liesman, Illinois State University. (1154-97-1356)

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

DCC Hall D

MAA Student Poster Session

Other updates about the SIGMAA-UR

Check out A Mathematician’s Practical Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Research


Authors: Michael Dorff: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 

Allison Henrich: Seattle University, Seattle, WA, 

Lara Pudwell: Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN


A complete how-to manual on starting an undergraduate research program. Readers will find advice on setting appropriate problems, directing student progress, managing group dynamics, obtaining external funding, publishing student results, and a myriad of other relevant issues. The authors have decades of experience and have accumulated knowledge that other mathematicians will find extremely useful.  Purchase the book today! https://bookstore.ams.org/clrm-63


MathFest 2020 Planning. Philadelphia, PA | July 29 - August 1, 2020. https://www.maa.org/meetings/mathfest 

  • SIGMAA-UR will run an Invited Paper Session on open and accessible problems for undergraduate research.  Abstracts for professional presentations are due April 30th.
  • If you are running a summer REU this can be a great place for students to present.  Abstracts for students are due June 8th.

Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)
 has more UR resources: http://www.mathcscur.org/index.php/aboutmathcscur/ur-sigmaa/ 

  • CUR Biennial Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN | June 27-30, 2020.  Every other year CUR hosts a conference for administrators, UR program directors, and college faculty to share research and strategies for promoting and conducting UR.  For more detail, see https://www.cur.org/what/events/conferences/curconf/2020/.  Conference registration fees include most meals.
  • 2020 math workshop, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN | June 27, 2020.  TitledLearning from Data: Image Classification Experiments in Undergraduate Research, this workshop for mathematicians and those interested in collaborating with mathematicians will be facilitated by Anthony Kapolka and Sofya Chepushtanova from Wilkes University.  The workshop immediately precedes the CUR Biennial Conference and can be attended without paying the full conference registration fee.

Conference Opportunities: 


Funding Opportunities: 

  • If you have ideas for an Undergraduate Research workshop or session, particularly at your local MAA section meeting, please contact the SIGMAA leadership. We have funds to support select local initiatives.



Feel free to share this announcement with others who are interested in Undergraduate Research.  To join SIGMAA-UR visit MAA