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Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Section of
the Mathematical Association of America
April 12-13, 2019
University of Portland, Portland, OR

Registration | Hotels & Travel | NExT | Program | Minicourses | Special Sessions & Abstracts

The University of Portland, including the College of Arts and Sciences and the Mathematics Department, is proud to host the 2019 Spring Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Section of the Mathematical Association of America. Our faculty and students are excited to support the section's activities which promote vigorous research and dynamic teaching and learning in our region. Please accept our warm welcome to Portland; we hope you enjoy all we have planned. Please e-mail if you have any questions regarding the meeting.

Invited Program Information

Friday night public lecture

Role of social dynamics and individual decisions on the spread of infectious disease Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Arizona State University.

I will revisit the field classical mathematical epidemiology starting from the contributions of Sir Ronald Ross in 1911. Extensions of Ross’ framework and recent applications will be discussed in the context of the study of the spread of diseases that include social dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the role of individual decisions, in changing socio-epidemiological landscapes and the control of epidemic outbreaks. Examples will be provided from communicable diseases under scenarios that account for various modes of transmission.

Saturday morning lecture

Writing Numbers as the Sum of Factorials Su Doree, Augsburg College.

In standard decimal notation, we write each integer as the linear combination of powers of 10. In binary, we use powers of 2. What if we used factorials instead of exponentials? How can we express each integer as the sum of factorials in a minimal way? This talk will explore the factorial representation of integers, including historical connections to permutations, a fast algorithm for conversion, and the secret of the “third proof by mathematical induction.” Next we’ll extend this representation to rational and then real numbers, ending with some remaining open questions.

Saturday afternoon lecture

The role of models of contagion: its impact in building interdisciplinary communities of undergraduates over 24 years Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Arizona State University.

In 1996, the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute or MTBI was established at Cornell University. The goal was to bring undergraduates from diverse backgrounds into the field of mathematics and its applications, particularly within computational, mathematical and theoretical biology.

In this lecture, I will discuss how MTBI ( was established and how it has evolved over the past 24 years. The role that MTBI has played in the development of nearly 160 PhDs and its impact on increased opportunities among underrepresented groups will also be highlighted. Finally, the extraordinary research generated by undergraduate participants over a few weeks, all available at

Saturday evening talk

How do mathematicians believe? Brian Katz, Augustana College.

Love it or hate it, many people believe that mathematics gives humans access to a kind of truth that is more absolute and universal than other disciplines. If this claim is true, we must ask: what makes the origins and processes of mathematics special and how can our messy, biological brains connect to the absolute? If the claim is false, then what becomes of truth in mathematics? In this session we welcome educators and students to discuss our beliefs about truth and how they play out in the mathematics classroom, trying to understand a little about identity, authority, and our joint educational endeavor.

Minicourses Friday 3:00-5:30

Turning Routine Exercises into Activities that Teach Mathematical Inquiry Sue Doree, Augsburg College

Asking questions, checking examples, making conjectures, and constructing counterexamples are part of any mathematician's toolkit and important skills for our students to learn. The MAA CUPM curriculum guide agrees, calling us to ``include activities designed to promote student's progress in learning to . . . assess the correctness of solutions, create and explore examples, carry out mathematical experiments, and devise and test conjectures'' with the goal that ``students should develop mathematical independence and experience open-ended inquiry.'' How do we help students develop inquiry skills and ignite their curiosity about mathematics? In this professional development workshop we explore some practical strategies you can use to transform routine textbook exercises emphasizing procedural fluency and basic conceptual understanding into activities that teach inquiry. Come ready to try your hand at creating inquiry-based activities.

Author Your Next Book (or Class Notes) with PreTeXt Rob Beezer, University of Puget Sound

PreTeXt is a new source language for authoring scholarly documents, with excellent support for mathematics and textbooks. Its principal advantage is conversion to print and PDF formats, along with conversions to highly interactive online formats, all requiring no additional effort for each output format. It is an ideal platform for authoring an open source textbook that will be freely available.

This workshop will very briefly introduce the design philosophy of PreTeXt, and then work through a hands-on exercise creating a small example document in multiple output formats. Remaining time will be used to start on a small project of your choosing.

Learn more about PreTeXt at

Special Sessions, Contributed Papers, and Student Presentations

Abstracts for all presentations are due March 15th. Please use the LaTeX template (a Word document or .pdf that contains the name and affiliations(s) of the presenter and author(s), talk title, and a short abstract is acceptable, but will be re-formatted). Please submit your abstract via e-mail to and cc the Special Session organizer if you are presenting in one of the sessions below. If you are a student please be sure to state so in your submission e-mail; you will get a discount code for registration!

In addition to the special sessions, below, there will be a several sessions devoted to student talks and a contributed paper session. In fact, half of the general program at past meetings over the last decade has been comprised of student talks; we encourage students to talk about their MCM solutions, senior thesis or capstone project, REU or other work!

The following Special Sessions are being organized for the meeting. Please contact the organizer if you are interested in being invited to present.

Algebra and Number Theory, Thomas McKenzie (Gonzaga)

The organizer welcomes any talks on the subject of pure or applied Algebra or Number Theory.

Algebra and Topology, Kate Kearney/Kat Shultis (Gonzaga)

This session will be devoted to talks on research in Algebra and Topology. We welcome all branches of Algebra and Topology, but particularly encourage talks that have relevance to both disciplines.

Topics in Undergraduate Mathematics Education, Elise Lockwood (Oregon State)

We welcome presentations that share findings related to the teaching and learning of mathematics at the postsecondary level. These presentations could be research-based (including reports of qualitative or quantitative empirical studies and theoretical discussions), or they could focus on pedagogical and curricular innovations that have been tested in the classroom. We are open to a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: the teaching and learning of particular mathematical concepts, teaching at the undergraduate level, student cognition, and effective classroom interventions.

Aligning practice and assessment with course learning goals, Craig Gin, Kelsey Marcinko, Jeremy Upsal (UW)

Assigned practice and assessment are two major themes of any mathematics course. One way to facilitate accurate assessment of student learning and knowledge is to better align assessment with both assigned practice and a set of established course learning goals. This is further facilitated by considering students’ level of learning according to Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives for knowledge-based learning goals. As instructors, we would all benefit from more examples of well-aligned assessment strategies with explicit course goals or knowledge level. We welcome presentations discussing ideas, noted difficulties, or examples with the hope of encouraging conversation to improve students’ learning.

Conversations About Equity in Mathematics, Ksenija Simic-Muller (PLU), Ekaterina Yurasovskaya (SU)

Our session provides a platform for ongoing conversation about issues of equity in mathematics, math education, and related institutional structures – and their subsequent effect both on society and on lives of particular students. We want to hear many voices; topics can reflect a variety of experiences involving race, gender, age, immigrant status, income level, and their intersections in the context of math and math education.

We particularly encourage students to submit talk proposals. If you are working within your university, preparing for a career as an educator, or participating in community work, and would like to share your equity-related field experiences and concerns, we would love to hear from you! Other topics illustrating interplay of mathematics, equity, and society are equally welcome. The session will consist of several presentations and will conclude with a discussion.

Incorporating Data Science in the Undergraduate Curriculum, Xiaoyue Luo (Linfield)

Data science is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand disciplines. Many universities and colleges now have programs dedicated to data science education. This session invites presentations to showcase where data science topics can be incorporated to mathematics courses and programs, such as data science majors, minors, tracks, certificates, online pro- grams, summer programs and boot camps. We encourage presentations on curriculum plans, external resources, internship opportunities and job connections. We seek presentations on designing courses and programs for students with different interests and backgrounds.

Saturday Social and Hors d'Oeuvres

A social hour with no-host bar and hors d'ouevres in the Bauccio Board Room (or outdoors, weather permitting) followed by section awards ceremony and evening address.

Student Activities

Our math club will be hosting a student social and other events. More information about the time location will be posted soon.


Online registration is open and run through EventBright. The deadline for regular registration is Friday, March 29. After that date, all registration rates will go up by $10, and student speakers will no longer have access to free registration. There will be limited onsite registration and those registrants will pay an additional late charge. Please use the online registration!

Hotel and Travel Information

The organizers have arranged room rates at The Fairfield Inn and Suites and The Courtyard Portland North Harbour. Rooms are available at both hotels at a reduced base rate of $139 and $149, respectively, on a first-come basis. A direct link to book at either of these Marriot properties at the conference rate is available here. There are a number of recently constructed boutique hotels nearer campus, as well as a number of hotels in the Rose Quarter and Downtown Portland.

The University of Portland is located in North Portland a few miles west of the airport. For those driving to the meeting along the I-5 corridor, use Oregon exit 304 and turn westbound on Rosa Parks BLVD. This becomes N. Willamette BLVD and the main parking lot is a left turn prior to Portsmouth AVE. Parking is available in the main lot for free on Saturday. For those participating in the Project NExT program, parking is best available behind the LP Tennis Courts. Please see the Campus Map for specific locations.


The NExT program for Friday, April 12, will be held in the Hall of Fame Room in the Chiles Center, 8:00-2:30. Details will be distributed via the section NExT’s listserve.


A full program (.pdf) will be available here prior to the meeting.