The 2015 Annual Meeting

of the Illinois Section

of the Mathematical

Association of America

The 2015 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held March 27 and March 28, 2015 at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL.


Meeting Links

The links below will be activated as information becomes available. Please check them frequently.

Tentative Meeting Schedule

Faculty and Student Abstracts

Student Math Contest

Student Pizza Party -Friday, March 27 in HSC Lincoln Room

ISMAA Awards

Project NExT

Conference Workshop

Registration Information

Schedule of Plenary Speakers

Abstract Submission

Undergraduate Travel Awards

Lodging, Transportation and Parking

Dining Options in DeKalb

Campus Map


Plenary Talks

First Plenary Address(Friday afternoon):  John D’Angelo, University of Illinois

Title: From Pascal's Triangle to CR Geometry

Abstract: We begin by recalling several well-known elementary properties of Pascal's triangle. We then consider the binomial expansion from the point of view of roots of unity and group invariance. Doing so leads to an unexpectedly rich reinterpretation. Complex numbers intervene in several surprising ways. We discover other triangles of integers with remarkable number-theoretic properties and we connect the ideas to an easily stated problem problem about group-invariant mappings from spheres. The talk will be accessible to anyone familiar with roots of unity and not fearful of other complex numbers.

Second Plenary Address (after the banquet): Karen Saxe, Macalester College, AMS/AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow and 2nd Vice President of the MAA

Title: A Mathematical Adventure through the Census, Reapportionment, and Redistricting

Abstract: Every four years, we go to the polls to vote for a president, but how are our votes tallied to give the winner? In 1787, the Constitutional Convention established our rather unusual electoral college which necessitates an assignment of representatives to the states; how is this allocation done? After giving an introduction to congressional reapportionment and redistricting, I will explain how mathematics is currently used by the states to prevent and detect gerrymandering.  

Third Plenary Address (Sat. morning): Karen Saxe, Macalester College, AMS/AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow and 2nd Vice President of the MAA

Title: Measuring Inequality

Abstract: Whether a resource - such as income - is distributed evenly among members of a population is often an important political or economic question. The Occupy Movement has recently drawn more attention to the fact that income inequality in the United States is increasing. How can we measure this inequality? How can we decide whether the distribution of wealth in this country is becoming more or less equitable over time? How can we decide which country has the most equitable income distribution? This talk describes one tool, the Gini index, used to answer these questions.  

Fourth Plenary Address (Saturday afternoon): T. Christine Stevens, American Mathematical Society

Title: Singing Along With Math


Abstract: The opera singer Jerome Hines, who died in 2003, sang at the New York Metropolitan Opera for over forty years.  He was also a math major who retained a lifelong interest in mathematics.  In the 1950's he published several papers that were based on work that he had done as a student. I'll focus on the first of these papers, which describes a new method for finding the roots of an equation.  I'll also discuss Hines' mathematical background and why he kept working on mathematics, even after he became a successful opera singer.

Student Math Contest

You have a deck of 10 cards and on each card there is a single digit between 0 and 9, inclusive. The digit on the top card equals the number of cards which have a zero on them, and so forth until the digit on the last card is the number of cards with a nine on them. What are the digits, in order from top to bottom, on the cards?

Is this the sort of problem that intrigues you? Then you should consider competing in our Thirteenth Annual Student Mathematics Contest which will be held on the afternoon of Friday, March 27, 2015 during the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA at Northern Illinois University. The Contest is likely to have a minimum of four problems for the teams to consider. A team from a particular college is to consist of up to 3 undergraduate students. A college or university may enter more than one team. Team members may work together in solving the problems and will submit one team solution for each. Electronic computational devices (and slide rules and log tables and abacii) are not allowed. Competitors will have their conference registration fee waived.

Teams need not register until the day of the Contest. The participating teams will receive the results of the contest as soon as they become available. The Contest results will also be posted on the ISMAA website.


OUR (Outstanding Undergraduate Research) Awards - 2015

The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) Awards. Up to three awards will be given for papers authored and presented by undergraduate students at the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Working in collaboration with a faculty advisor, undergraduate students who wish to apply for the OUR Awards should submit the following materials electronically (either as a PDF or MS Word document):

1. a brief, one-page cover letter stating the nature of the project and identifying the researchers involved;

2. a complete, original research paper;

3. a letter of support from the faculty advisor which also describes the student’s contribution to the work.

Submissions may be emailed to Tim Comar, Awards Committee Chair, at Please include "OUR Awards" in the subject heading. Papers need not have been submitted for publication in a professional journal at the time of consideration, but must be complete manuscripts, even if only a subset of the research will be presented at the meeting. Applicants should make arrangements (see the ISMAA home page) to give a talk in the student session of the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Applicants will be evaluated both for quality of research and for quality of presentation.. The deadline for OUR Awards submissions is Friday, March 6, 2015.  

Questions? Email

OGRE (Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition) - 2015

The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE) Awards. These awards are designed for graduating or near graduating graduate students in mathematics who have an interest in academic careers at undergraduate teaching-oriented institutions. Candidates for the award will submit a written statement by March 6, 2015 and present a talk at the 2015 ISMAA Meeting at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL March 27-28, 2015 as described below.

The written statement should take the form and tone of research statement for a job application to an undergraduate teaching-oriented mathematics department.  The statement should include:

The written statement will be submitted as a PDF file by March 6, 2015 to Tim Comar, Awards Committee Chair, at Please include "OGRE Awards" in the subject heading.

The talk should contain the content above and should be directed to an audience of non-experts in the particular area of mathematics and to undergraduate students.  Candidates must be registered for the ISMAA meeting as well.

Questions? Email

Looking for ISMAA Awardees - 2015

The ISMAA Awards Committee has extended the deadline for the section Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards to February 27, 2015. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, held at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL March 27 – 28, 2015. We strongly encourage all members to take the time and nominate a colleague worthy of the awards.

For the guidelines on eligibility and nomination please visit the MAA Teaching Award web page. Questions about the ISMAA awards should be addressed to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair Tim Comar at (


ISMAA Project NExT Program - 2015

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program of the MAA. This program is designed to support new college faculty in their teaching, scholarly, and professional activities and to help these new faculty members to get involved in the mathematical community beyond their own institutions. The success of Project NExT on the national level has prompted a number of MAA sections to organize their own local versions of this program.

The Eighteenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at Northern Illinois University, March 27-28, 2015. Up to nine ISMAA Project NExT Fellows will be selected. Anyone within their first four years of teaching mathematics (after finishing a master's or doctoral degree) at any two or four-year college or university in Illinois is eligible, as well as any graduate students at universities in Illinois who are  completing their PhD this year and have a position in Illinois for the upcoming academic year. Newly selected ISMAA Project NExT Fellows' meeting registration, pre-conference workshop registration, opening banquet fees, and Friday and Saturday lunches at the annual meeting will be
paid for by the ISMAA for the current and next year’s ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The Fellows’ Program will begin on Friday morning (March 27, 2015), with the pre-conference workshop. The workshop is followed by an opening lunch during which new ISMAA NExT Fellows will have an opportunity to get to know one another as well as other sectional Fellows and national NExT Fellows. The ISMAA Project NExT program will conclude on the morning
of Saturday, March 28, 2015, preceding the closing address of the ISMAA meeting. The topic for the Saturday morning session will be determined by interest of the Fellows. At the meeting, we will match new ISMAA NExT Fellows with a Mentor. It is expected that each Mentor- Fellow pair will continue to communicate about professional development issues throughout the
following academic year.

Application materials for ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below.
For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program:

ISMAA Project NExT Application (MS Word)
ISMAA Project NExT Application (pdf)

Cindy Traub
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1653
Phone: 618-650-2356

The application deadline for the 2015 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is February 28, 2015.

Conference Workshop: Ellen Ziliak, Benedictine University

 Title: Blended and Online Learning ... in a Math Class?

Abstract: In this workshop we will discuss many of the issues to consider when deciding to implement a fully online or blended component to a math class.  Topics include platforms for screen casting and best practices for creating videos, interactive white boards, online discussion boards and how to start a discussion about mathematics.  The workshop will be interactive, with several brainstorming discussion activities, and exploration of various technologies.  Please bring an iPad if you own one. 


Undergraduate Travel Awards

Travel funds are available to support student attendance at the ISMAA meeting. Up to $50 per student is available for Illinois institutions to use in support of student travel, with a max of $200 per institution. Limited funds are available.

We ask that institutions which already provide full support not request these funds. Travel funds are not available to the hosting institution or to institutions within 50 miles of the meeting site. Travel awards are available for all students (secondary, undergraduate, or graduate); however, preference will be given to students presenting at the meeting.

The travel form is available as a Word document or as a PDF document. Please send completed forms electronically to Pat Kiihne ( by March 20, 2015.