Grad Students, Settling into the Applied Math Community, Find Inspiration at SIAM's Fifth Diversity Workshop

October 13, 2001


Student speakers at this year's Diversity Workshop, held in San Diego, July 11, take time out for a photo with co-organizers Fern Hunt of NIST (back row, second from right) and Juan Meza of Sandia National Laboratories (front row, left). The students are, from left, Marcela Gonzales of UC Berkeley, Anita Mareno of Cornell University, and Rachel Vincent of Rice University (front row), and Jon Cline of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Nicolas Crisosto of Berkeley, Nancy Glenn of Rice, and Louis Beaugris of the University of Iowa (back row).
Rachel E. Vincent

The Fifth SIAM Graduate Student Focus on Diversity took place on Wednesday, July 11, during the 2001 SIAM Annual Meeting in San Diego. The Office of Science at the Department of Energy and SIAM suppported this event. The day's activities included seven student presentations, a networking lunch, and a closing dinner. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the San Diego Supercomputer Center the previous day.

Invited student speakers were Louis Beaugris of the University of Iowa, Jon Cline of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Nicolas Crisosto and Marcela Gonzales of the University of California, Berkeley, Anita Mareno of Cornell University, and Nancy Glenn and Rachel Vincent of Rice University. The presentations covered a range of topics, including cyclic codes and their primitive idempotents, robust empirical likelihood confidence intervals, and global continuation in higher-order elasticity.

During the evening session, titled "Food for Thought," participants engaged in round-table discussions on topics concerning various aspects of academic life, from choosing a graduate adviser to interviewing for a job. Students were able to share their graduate school experiences and receive advice and pointers from researchers and faculty.

Fern Hunt of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Juan Meza of Sandia National Laboratories organized the 2001 Graduate Student Focus on Diversity. "I think it was most gratifying to see the students have a chance to meet and be inspired by their peers," Hunt reflects.

When asked for suggestions that could improve future workshops, Tamara Kolda of Sandia National Laboratories suggested that the sessions be listed as a minisymposium in the SIAM Annual Meeting program. Former organizers Pamela Williams and Monica Martinez-Canales of Sandia National Laboratories echoed this sentiment.

Graduate student Ariel Cintron-Arias of the Center for Applied Mathematics at Cornell University enjoyed networking with other graduate students. "I learned about opportunities for internships and postdoc positions by talking to graduate students, faculty, and staff at the San Diego Supercomputer Center," he said. Inspired by the student presentations, Cintron-Arias conveyed his eagerness to give a presentation at a future workshop.

Cecilia Diniz, a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas, Austin, feels that the Graduate Student Focus on Diversity "is an excellent way to introduce students to the SIAM meeting as they begin to assume a place within the applied math community." Diniz enjoyed meeting other graduate students and hearing about their research interests. She also notes that "Diversity day seemed to be a wonderful opportunity for any graduate student attending the SIAM meeting."

Rachel E. Vincent is a graduate student in the Computational and Applied Mathematics Department at Rice University. Her talk at this year's workshop was titled "Automatic Detection of Binding Sites in Protein Sequences Through Singular Value Decomposition."

In animated discussion with Cleve Moler of The MathWorks (far right) and Ricardo Cortez, Tulane University (left) are students Ariel Cintron-Arias, Cornell University (center, left), and Marcela Gonzales, UC Berkeley/Sandia National Laboratories (center, right). Cintron-Arias particularly enjoyed the group's visit to the San Diego Supercomputer Center the previous evening: "I learned about opportunities for internships and postdoc positions" in talking to people who work at the center, he said. Gonzales, one of the invited speakers at this year's workshop, gave a talk titled "Plastic, Metal, and Ceramic High Aspect Ratio Microstructure Fabricated from LIGA Mold Inserts."

Jose Castillo (standing) of San Diego State University confers over lunch with Edward Gonzales and Edward Castillo, both of Rice University.

Participants in the annual diversity workshop compare notes about job interviews, graduate advisers, and various other student concerns. Shown here are (left to right) Monica Jackson, University of Maryland; Kimberly Sellers, Carnegie Mellon University; and William Howell, University of Maryland.


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