Diversity Day 2006

October 21, 2006

SIAM Annual Meeting

Multilayered Networks: MTBI alumnae (from left) Omayra Ortega, Sara Del Valle, Miriam Nuño, and Erika Camacho are linked by their experiences not only at the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute at Cornell (now at Arizona State University) but also, at one time or another, as graduate student speakers at SIAM Diversity Day. Ortega, part of this year's program with a talk titled "Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Rotavirus Immunization Program in the Arab Republic of Egypt," is now an instructor at ASU. She got to know Del Valle, now a technical staff member at Los Alamos National Lab, while the two were graduate students at the University of Iowa. Del Valle was a speaker at last year's Diversity Day, as was Nuño, who is now a postdoc at the Harvard School of Public Health. Camacho, an assistant professor of mathematics at Loyola Marymount University, went to high school in East Los Angeles, where she learned both mathematics and the value of a good mentor from Jaime Escalante. Neither has been forgotten: At LMU her activities include co-founding and co-directing the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute for women and underrepresented minorities.

Kirk Jordan of IBM, SIAM vice president for industry, was among the SIAM officers on hand to discuss career choices with students at Diversity Day. A discussion of industrial careers with Petra Klepac, a graduate student in mathematical epidemiology at MIT, took an unexpected turn with the discovery that she, like Jordan, is an avid skier and teacher of skiing.

Diversity Day 2006 graduate student speakers Omayra Ortega, Dan Wiley, Cornell University and Howard University ("Fire-Breathing Chimeras: Periodic Incoherence in a Network of Coupled Oscillators"), and Edward Castillo, Rice University ("Towards an Effective Image Registration Method for 4D CT Lung Images").

Doug Arnold, director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, is always happy to talk with students about activities like the IMA postdoc program. He is shown here with Monique Vassell, a student at the University of Texas–Pan American who, as a summer participant in the AGEP program at Rice, accompanied Richard Tapia and several other AGEP students to the SIAM meeting.

Omayra Ortega of Arizona State University and Hannah Callender, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, learn about opportunities in high-performance computing and career possibilities at national labs from David Keyes, SIAM's vice president at large.

Edgar Lobaton of the University of California, Berkeley, was one of the six graduate student speakers at Diversity Day 2006. His talk was titled "Surface-Based Disparity Map Computation for 3D Reconstruction."
In addition to Lobaton and the 2006 student speakers pictured here, the following students gave talks at the Boston meeting: Irene Moshesh, Howard University ("Image Partition Regularity of Affine Transformations") and Abdul Rahman, Howard University.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez of ASU (above, right) with long-time Diversity Day supporter, organizer, and participant Juan Meza of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Castillo-Chavez, with Ricardo Cortez of Tulane University (photo below) were the organizing committee chairs of the 2006 SIAM Annual Meeting and, with Abdul-Aziz Yakubu of Howard University, of Diversity Day as well.

As graduate students at Rice University, Cristina Villalobos (above, left), now an assistant professor at the University of Texas–Pan American, and Leticia Velazquez, who was recently awarded tenure at the University of Texas–El Paso, attended SIAM's first-ever Diversity Day, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the 1995 SIAM Annual Meeting. "One reason African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have long been underrepresented in higher education," Villalobos wrote in an article on the day for SIAM News, "is that many of us are simply not aware of the opportunities a higher education can provide." Asked to take the lead in organizing the event, she continued, the minority students in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice "asked no questions but set about preparing for the event."

Abba Gumel (left), a professor of mathematics and director of the Institute of Industrial Mathematical Sciences at the University of Manitoba, and Ronald Mickens, a professor of physics at Clark Atlanta University. They have worked together on a new class of finite-difference methods, invented by Mickens a few decades ago. Gumel was the editor of a special volume of the Journal of Difference Equations and Applications, published on the occasion of Mickens's 60th birthday.

As an undergraduate at Rice University, Josef Sifuentes studied mechanical engineering and art. Now a graduate student in mathematics at Rice, he continues to explore and combine his interests in math and art. Like his adviser Richard Tapia, Sifuentes is happy to speak to students, many of whom might not even imagine that such a career is possible. He will give one such talk in early November at the IMA, in conjunction with the Blackwell–Tapia Conference. His topic: how he used partial differential equations to produce images for his psychedelic music video, "Heavy Metal." Details can be found at http://www.ima.umn.edu/2006-2007/SW11.3-4.06.

Isom Herron, a professor of applied mathematics (hydrodynamic stability) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and RPI graduate student Wendy Saintval, with Monique Vassell of the University of Texas–Pan American and Dan Wiley (far right) of Cornell and Howard Universities.

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