• Brendan Harcourt

Five College Students Present at the 2020 Joint Mathematics Meeting

Every year, thousands of students and experts gather to share their research and learn about a diverse range of topics within the field of mathematics. The Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) hosted nearly 6,000 participants from all levels of the mathematics community at this year’s conference held from January 15 to January 18 in Denver, Colorado. As the largest annual mathematics conference in the world, the JMM presents an excellent chance for students to explore and better understand modern mathematics research. Attendees visit hundreds of lectures about the innovative and practical applications of mathematics and have the opportunity to share their own projects with an engaged audience of peers. Students are able to network with notable researchers and authors with similar interests; some even meet over coffee to discuss their work and future aspirations. As an added bonus, this year’s participants experienced Denver’s nightlife with their friends and fellow mathematicians.

Left to right: (top) Cole Graber-Mitchell, Andrew Rosevear, Álex Santos, Andrew Tawfeek, Shashank Sule, Noah Solomon, Professor Ryan Alvarado, (bottom) Max Liu (Mount Holyoke College), Professor Amanda Folsom, Phyllis Oduor

Several students (pictured above) from Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College attended the 2020 JMM. After presenting their individual research projects at the Undergraduate Student Poster Session, Andrea Boskovic ‘21, Andrew Rosevear ‘22, and Andrew Tawfeek ‘21E were recognized as members of this year’s Outstanding Posters list.

In her research, Boskovic created a series of algorithms capable of distributing products to consumers visiting an e-commerce platform. “Although I have done other research in the past, this was my first time doing math research,” she acknowledges. Despite this fact, attending the JMM has stimulated her interest in the potential utility of mathematics. She plans to apply her research to the discipline of biology by repurposing her algorithms to optimize iron allocation in cells.

Rosevear studied the field of algebraic graph theory, linking two new “algebraic objects” to point-and-line networks known as “graphs”. Since high school, he has possessed a keen enthusiasm for conducting mathematics research. He believes research “feels like solving a specific problem I’ve been assigned by myself, but more often it feels like exploring and playing around.” He engaged his curiosity at this year’s JMM, discovering unique and obscure applications of modern mathematics. He currently plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in academia.

Tawfeek’s research focused on discrete Morse theory. He characterized the “gradients” of a specific definition of Morse functions and generated a formula calculating the exact number of gradients for this definition. After traveling to the conference in Denver, he describes the appeal of the JMM in one word: “Socialization!” He thoroughly enjoyed conversing with other mathematicians and encountered top researchers who worked in the same field. He is presently working with Professor Contreras in order to complete his senior thesis.

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