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ANNOUNCEMENT: In light of COVID-19 related recommendations for reducing travel, we have decided to cancel the ISMAA Section meeting this year. If you have already registered for the event, we will be contacting you shortly about a refund.

The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA

The One Hundredth Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America will be held March 13-14, 2020 at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

Meeting Highlights

This year’s conference will include:

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Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

March 12, 2020

Meeting Schedule

Friday, March 13, 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020

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Plenary Talks

Dr. Edward Kim
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Opening Plenary, 1:15pm - 2:30pm on Friday, March 13th
What does Minesweeper have to do with mathematical proofs?

I have a love-hate relationship with the game of Minesweeper. The game has had negative and positive influences on me as a mathematician. The game almost kept me from becoming a mathematician, yet simultaneously helped turn me into the mathematician I am today. Oddly enough (and amusingly enough), the game has had influences on how I think about proofs, both as a researcher and as a faculty member who regular teaches our foundations/bridges/proofs course.

Through understanding my students' struggles in abstract algebra and combining this with my own experiences when I was starting to become a mathematician, I desired to revisit the concepts of a foundations course from an intuitive lens. Removing esoteric descriptions of proof by cases gave way to Minesweeper. Reformatting syllogisms for visual clarity allowed students to quickly grapple with the task of proof.

In the most surprising twist, my student plunge into proving a type of theorem which never seems to appear in typical foundations courses, but are extremely typical of theorems they are expected to prove in abstract algebra and real analysis. Moreover, they thoroughly enjoy proving this type of theorem: more than once, I have had students make special requests that a theorem of this type is placed on an exam because they are so fun. Ask a question type that prepares them more thoroughly for algebra and analysis while simultaneously keeping them entertained? That's a win-win!

Dr. Arden Warner
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Evening Plenary, 7:45pm - 8:45pm on Friday, March 13th
Discovery Mathematics - How mathematics is used in my world of Particle Accelerator Science and New Technology Development.

How often have your math students asked the question "when will I ever need to use this in the real-world?" Modeling, or mimicking, the physical world often starts out by applying some basic principles in physics that uses mathematics as a tool to discovery. This presentation will describe some applications of mathematics applied to very understandable observations that lead to either discovery or invention. Some interesting video examples will be included.

Arden is a founding partner of Natural Science, LLC and the visionary behind the concept of using electromagnetic forces to remediate oil spills in our oceans and waterways. As Principal Scientist of Natural Science, LLC, Arden proved his concept in laboratory settings, envisioned the prototype, and assembled the team of investors, engineers, and scientists to build the company’s first product, E-MOPTM Electromagnetic Oil Spill Remediation Technology.

Arden is also an Accelerator Physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, working to advance the science of the Particle Accelerators used in particle physics. He is a frequently published author and public speaker on a range of scientific topics. Arden Completed his undergraduate studies at The City University of New York -City College and Columbia University in Physics and Electrical Engineering respectively before completing his Graduate work in Physics at Stony Brook University.

Dr. J. Alan Alewine
McKendree University
Morning Plenary, 8:30am - 9:30am on Saturday, March 14th
Something for Everyone

In the spirit of inclusivity, this presentation will appeal to students and instructors alike. Included is a teaching tidbit, an interesting proof of a well- known result, and musings on ``being in the middle''.

About the Author: Alan Alewine hails from South Carolina, where he attended Furman University as an undergraduate. He completed his graduate work in analysis at Vanderbilt University and has been a faculty member at McKendree University since 2002. He has also been an associate provost since 2014 and admits he loves the administrative work! He is wild about roller coasters, having visited 11 amusement parks in 2019. (Steel Vengeance is his favorite coaster.)

James Sellers
University of Minnesota Duluth
Closing Plenary, 12:00pm - 1:15pm on Saturday, March 14th
Revisiting What Euler and the Bernoullis Knew About Convergent Infinite Series

All too often in first-year calculus classes, conversations about infinite series stop with discussions about convergence or divergence. Such interactions are, unfortunately, not often illuminating or intriguing. Interestingly enough, Jacob and Johann Bernoulli and Leonhard Euler (and their contemporaries in the early 18th century) knew quite a bit about how to find the exact values of numerous families of convergent infinite series. In this talk, I will show two sets of exact results in this vein. The talk will be accessible to anyone interested in mathematics.

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Session Abstracts

Abstracts for the Contributed Talks is available in PDF format. This file also contains abstracts for the Plenary Talks and the biographies of the Panelists for the Preparation for Industrail Careers in Mathematical Sciences panel scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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Conference Workshop

The pre-conference workshop, titled Raising Calculus to the Surface, will be presented from 8:30am to 11:45am, on Friday March 13th by Aaron Wangberg of Winona State University.

Multivariable calculus introduces a multitude of new concepts built upon single variable calculus ideas. The Raising Calculus to the Surface project (NSF DUE-#1246094) created small group activities, dry-erasable physical manipulatives (surfaces, contour maps), and measurement tools to help students discover these concepts and investigate relationships prior to a formal introduction via lecture. In this hands-on workshop, we'll explore the geometric relationships behind such concepts as level curves, derivatives and gradient vector, constrained optimization, and integration - and see how student ideas can be harnessed to drive course content. This session is appropriate for instructors and students!

Dr. Aaron Wangberg returned to the midwest after earning his PhD in mathematics from Oregon State University. While a graduate student, he saw the impact students could have on the classroom when they were able to propose and discuss new mathematical content. The materials developed for 'Raising Calculus to the Surface' and 'Raising Physics to the Surface', a sister project, have been shared with instructors at over 60 institutions. Outside of mathematics, Aaron enjoys camping, hiking, and canoeing with his wife, Robyn, and their three kids.

Early registration is required for this workshop.

A flyer describing the workshop is available and is suitable for posting on departmental bulletin boards.

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The banquet will be held Friday evening starting at 7:00pm in San Daminao Hall of the Mother House. A reception with cash bar will be held before the banquet beginning at 6:00pm.

Following the banquet at approximately 7:45pm will be a talk by Arden Warner, a physicist with his company Natural Science who also works at Fermi Lab. Note that there should be sufficient room for students and others not attending the banquet to attend the talk.

The cost of the dinner is $30.00. Banquet tickets must be purchased in advance. The meal will be served buffet style. The menu includes house salad, vegetarian lasagna, beef stroganoff, rotisserie chicken, oven-roasted potatoes, fresh green beans, and an apple crisp or double chocolate layer cake.

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Student Activities

A number of activities of particular interest to Mathematics Students are scheduled including a mathematics contest Friday afternoon, a Friday evening Pizza Party, a game hour, and sessions for Student Presentations on both Friday and Saturday. A limited number of travel grants may be available for students traveling more than 50 miles to the meeting.

Mathematics 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 Seventeenth Annual Student Mathematics Contest which will be held on the afternoon of Friday, March 13, 2020 at 5:00-6:15 in the Executive Conference Room of Tower Hall during the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA at the University of St. Francis. 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.

Student Presentations

For information on presenting a paper, see the Call for Student Presenters.

Pizza Party

There will be a Pizza Party for students attending the meeting at 6:15pm on Friday, March 13, 2020 immediately after the Student Mathematics Contest. Following the Pizza Party, students are invited to attend plenary speaker Arden Warner's talk following the banquet in San Damiano Hall of the Mother House at approximately 7:45pm.

Game Hour

AfterMath (the USF math club) will sponsor a game hour following the Friday evening plenary. Snacks and various games (including SET, UNO, Codenames, and more) will be provided. Everyone is welcome to bring other games to share as well. The game hour will be held in the Executive Conference Room (room C316 in Donovan Hall), which is where the student contest and pizza party will also be held. The game hour will begin at approximately 9 p.m.

Travel Grants

Travel funds are available to support student attendance at the Illinois Section meeting at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. 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, ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer, at by March 6, 2020.

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A mention of the group name "ISMAA" will get you a room with a queen sized bed on Friday March 13th for $89 plus tax for the first 20 who reserve a room at the Hampton Inn (3555 Mall Loop Drive, Joliet IL 60431).

We also recommend staying at the Home2 Suites by Hilton (4095 Hennepin Drive, Joliet IL 60431).

Both of these hotels are about 15 minutes away from campus, near each other and restaurants, and right off of I-55.

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Dining Options

There are lots of dining options near campus and the hotels. Here are some of the highlights.

Barolo Ristorante (8 min. from USF)
Address: 2765 Black Rd, Joliet, IL 60435
Description: Italian cucina serving traditional fare, steaks & flavored martinis in an elegant, old-school space.
Hours: Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:00am - 2:00pm, Dinner: Monday - Thursday 4:00pm - 9:00pm; Friday - Saturday 4:00pm - 10:00pm
La Mex (10 min. from USF)
Address: 3157 W Jefferson St, Joliet, IL 60435
Description: Festive Mexican cantina with traditional dishes, margaritas & mariachi music in colorful digs.
Hours: Thursday 11:00am - 10:30pm; Friday and Saturday 11:00am - 11:00pm
Som Za Thai (8 min. from USF)
Address: 2781 Black Rd, Joliet, IL 60435 Description: From six years of experience in the Thai kitchen, Chef Wimol has created the tasty Thai and Asian dishes to the Chicagoan's table. Curries, Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Fried Rice, and so on that many dishes was renowned for its Thai-fusion style food. Now, Joliet City, Som Za Kitchen would like to represent not only Thai food but also Asian foods, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc.
Hours: 11:00am- 9:00pm
Portillo's Hot Dogs (16 min. from USF)
Address: 1155 Brook Forest Ave, Shorewood, IL 60431
Description: Chicago-born chain for hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches & more, plus beer & wine, in retro digs.
Hours: Thursday 10:30 am - 12:00 am; Friday and Saturday 10:30 am - 1:00 am
Hamburgerseria (10 min. from USF)
Address: - 1015 Essington Rd, Joliet, IL 60435
Description: Casual counter-serve joint in a strip mall supplying specialty burgers & sides, plus espresso & tea.
Hours: 11 am - 9 pm
OMG Pho (14 min. from USF)
Address: 201 Vertin Blvd, Shorewood, IL 60404
Asian Express (14 min. from USF)
Address: 319 Vertin Blvd Shorewood, IL 60404

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ISMAA Project NExT

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program 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 some MAA sections, including the Illinois section, to organize their own local versions of this program, called Section NExT.

The Twenty-second Annual ISMAA Section NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA Annual Meeting at University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL on March 13-14, 2020. 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 Section NExT Fellows will have their meeting registration, pre-conference workshop registration, banquet fees, and Friday lunch paid for by the ISMAA for the current and next year's ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The Section NExT Program will begin on Friday morning (March 13, 2020), with the pre-conference workshop. This year's workshop Raising Calculus to the Surface is being run by Aaron Wangberg of Winona State University. 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 Section NExT Fellows and national NExT Fellows. The ISMAA Section NExT program will conclude on the morning of Saturday, March 14, 2020, preceding the closing address of the ISMAA meeting. The topic for the Saturday morning round table discussion will be determined by interest of the Fellows.

Please send your application to Emily Olson at Application materials for ISMAA Section NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below.

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

For further information, please contact the Coordinator for the ISMAA Section NExT Program:

Emily Olson
Department of Mathematics and Computational Sciences
Millikin University, Decatur, IL

The application deadline for the 2020 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is Friday, February 21, 2020.

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Business Meeting

The annual business meeting of the section will be held on Friday, March 13, 2020, at 5:00pm in San Damiano Hall of the Mother House. The agenda includes approval of the minutes of the 2019 meeting and election of board members. A copy of the unapproved minutes of the 2019 meeting is available for review.

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Meeting Location

Regional Map and Campus Maps

The Maps & Directions link from the Visit USF page shows regional and USF Main Campus maps.


We recommend you use Taylor Street Lots North and South for parking (or Mother House Lot if they are full). Expect an extra 15-30 minutes for traffic than what typical navigation systems predict.

Meeting Room Locations

Three of the plenary talks will be in Sexton Auditorium of Tower Hall (Building 11 on the Main Campus Map). The Friday afternoon business meeting, Friday evening banquet and plenary speaker are all in San Damiano Hall of the Mother House (Building 1 on the Main Campus Map). The breakout sessions will be held in the Library Building 13 on the Main Campus Map).

Registration will be in the Library. The Friday Morning workshop will also be in the Library (Room G2).

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Registration Information

You may register online or with the mail-in form. Payment with a credit card is available only with the online option.

The regular registration fee is $45.00 ($40.00 if paid by February 28, 2020). The fee is $10.00 for retirees and students. The banquet fee is $30.00 and the workshop fee is $20.00. Registration no later than February 28, 2020 is required for the banquet and Friday morning workshop.

Note that all levels of ISMAA Institutional Sponsor include unlimited free registration for undergraduate students. In addition ISMAA Sponsors at the sustaining or speaker sponorship levels include up to three faculty registrations to the annual meeting.

Online Registration

Early online registraton is available through EventBrite at; however, please consider the following before you start online registration.

  1. Decide whether you'll be attending the Friday morning workshop and/or the Friday evening banquet.
  2. Make sure you know if your institution is an ISMAA Institutional Sponsor. A sponsor at the sustaining or speaker sponsor level gets three free faculty registrations.
  3. Note that EventBrite charges a fee per ticket that is added to your conference costs. You should choose the ticket that represents all the paid parts of the conference you plan to participate in. For instance, a faculty member at an ISMAA institutional sponsor (at sustaining or speaker sponsor level) who wants to attend the banquet but not the Friday morning workshop should chose the ticket Faculty Reg. Institutional Sponsor & Banquet. A student speaker who also wants to attend the banquet should choose Student (Speaker or Contest) and Banquet.
  4. Registration through EventBrite works only for those paying by credit card. If you prefer to pay by check (or prefer to avoid the extra fee charged by EventBrite), please use the mail-in registration form.

Mail-in Registration

To register by mail, please print the Early Registration Form, fill it out, and send it with your check for payment, made payable to ISMAA, to Pat Kiihne, ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer. The address is:

Pat Kiihne
Illinois College
1101 West College Avenue
Jacksonville, Illinois 62650

The form should arrive by February 28, 2020. (If you mail the form after February 22, 2020 and want a banquet ticket, please email Professor Kiihne at so that she can make sure that a banquet ticket is set aside for you.)

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