MAA logo
Illinois Section
Illinois Section

Home Announcements Awards
Governance Meetings Newletters
Section NExT History
Institutional Sponsors

Board of Education Community College Board
Board of Higher Education

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America will be held March 15-16, 2024 at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Meeting Highlights

This year's conference will include:

Please check back soon. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

[ Top ]

Meeting Schedule

The conference will take place on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. The pre-conference workshop will be held on the morning of Friday, March 15. Talks will take place that afternoon and the following morning, with the final plenary concluding at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. The detailed meeting schedule and abstracts are available in PDF format:

Below is an overview of the meeting schedule.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Saturday, March 16, 2024

[ Top ]

Plenary Talks

Meghan Goldfarb
State Farm
Opening Plenary, 1:00pm - 1:50pm on Friday, March 15
Do You Know Where Your Data Comes From?

Models and AI are increasingly being used across the business world for automation and decision making as well as within our personal lives. Two critical components of these models include the statistical model and the data the model was built using. Improper assumptions about data can result in models that don't deliver the intended outcome, or models that aren't implementable. Understanding your data architecture — or how the data you use for analytics is captured, managed within the system, and transformed — is critical to properly using that data for analytics and predictive models. This interactive session will introduce some common statistical models and AI used in the insurance industry, and discuss the impact data architecture and technology has on these models. Next time you build or use a statistical model or AI — it will leave you asking — do I know where my data comes from?

Edray Goins
Pomona College
Evening Plenary, 7:00pm - 8:00pm on Friday, March 15
A Dream Deferred: 50 Years of Blacks in Mathematics

In 1934, Walter Richard Talbot earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh; he was the fourth African American to earn a doctorate in mathematics. His dissertation research was in the field of geometric group theory, where he was interested in computing fundamental domains of action by the symmetric group on certain complex vector spaces. Unfortunately, opportunities for African Americans during that time to continue their research were severely limited. "When I entered the college teaching scene, it was 1934," Talbot is quoted as saying. "It was 35 years later before I had a chance to start existing in the national activities of the mathematical bodies." Concerned with the exclusion of African Americans at various national meetings, Talbot helped to found the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) in 1969.

In this talk, we take a tour of the mathematics done by African and African Americans over the past 50 years since the founding of NAM, weaving in personal stories and questions for reflection for the next 50 years.

Michael Maltenfort
Northwestern University
Morning Plenary, 8:30am - 9:30am on Saturday, March 16
Multiple Definitions of the Generalized Stirling Numbers

There is not always one best definition of a mathematical object. For example, an ellipse can be defined as a conic section or by specifying the sum of the distances from given foci. Both definitions are useful, and in this spirit we will look at definitions of a single combinatorial object, the generalized Stirling numbers. We will discuss two new definitions, published in 2020, and see the interplay between the definitions. Time permitting, we will discuss both the original 1998 definition by Hsu and Shiue and also some related in-progress work. No prior knowledge is required, and this talk should be accessible to all.

Candice Price
Smith College
Closing Plenary, 12:00pm - 1:00pm on Saturday, March 16
Using Mathematics to Unlock Biological Mysteries

Mathematical modeling is an effective resource for biologists — it provides ways to simplify, study and understand the complex systems common in biology and biochemistry. Many mathematical tools can be applied to biological problems, some traditional and some more novel, all innovative. This presentation will review some of the mathematical tools that I use to study biological questions including knot theory applied to DNA-protein interactions and using social networks to study evolutionary success.

[ Top ]

Conference Workshop

This year's pre-conference workshop, titled "Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Our Departments", will be led by Edray Goins from Pomona College at 10:30am - 11:30am on Friday, March 15. Dr. Goins's abstract can be found below:

In April 2021, the PBS Newshour ran a story with the headline "Even as colleges pledge to improve, share of engineering graduates who are Black declines". Indeed, there is a dearth of Black students in our mathematics classrooms. A 2018 study by the Pew Research Center found that Black students earned just 7 percent of STEM bachelor's degrees. Unfortunately, this is an issue for our faculty as well. A 2017 report in Inside Higher Ed states that there has been an increase over time in the diversity of senior and junior faculty members in the STEM fields — except black faculty. A New York Times article, titled "For a Black Mathematician, What It's Like to Be the 'Only One'", quoted that there are just a dozen black mathematicians among nearly 2,000 tenured faculty members in the nation's top 50 math departments.

What can we as faculty members do to make our mathematics departments more welcoming and diverse for Black students and faculty alike? These are daunting problems, and many with an interest in presenting solutions do not even have tenure! In this interactive presentation, we present some practices that even tenure-track faculty can engage in to showcase how #BlackLivesMatter — from increasing the number of pathways for majors, to building community by conducting research with students, and having hard conversations within hiring committees.

Please note that advance registration is required for participation in this workshop. Please select this option when completing your conference registration. The registration fee for the workshop includes lunch.

[ Top ]

Registration Information

We will be using the MAA site to register online for the conference. You do not need to be an MAA member to register. If you don't have an MAA account, you can set up a free MAA account solely for registration purposes.

Before you register, you should check whether your institution is or will be an institutional sponsor. Note that if you are a Section NExT fellow or a plenary speaker, once you do your complimentary registration, you do not need to sign up for the banquet or the workshop. The Section will plan on you doing both. (Please let Pat Kiihne ( know if that's not the case.)

Early registration (by March 1) is $40 for faculty, the workshop is $20, and the banquet is $30. On-site registration is $45. Student registration is $10. Banquet tickets must be ordered by March 1. Online registration (credit card payment only) is available here:

If you prefer to pay by check, please mail the registration form (Word file or PDF) with a check to Pat Kiihne, ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer, Illinois College, 1101 West College Avenue, Jacksonville, IL 62650 by March 1. If you are mailing in your registration and ordering a banquet ticket close to the March 1 deadline, please email Pat Kiihne ( so a banquet ticket can be saved for you.

Please note that all conference participants are expected to adhere to the following MAA policies:

If you have any questions concerning registration, please contact Pat Kiihne (

[ Top ]

Student Travel Support

Travel funds are available to support student attendance at the ISMAA meeting at Bradley University. Up to $75 per student is available for Illinois institutions to use in support of student travel, with a max of $300 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.

To apply for travel funds, please fill out the Student Travel form (Word file or PDF). Please send completed forms electronically to Pat Kiihne ( by March 11, 2024.

[ Top ]

Call for Presenters

Parallel sessions of contributed talks are planned for Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 at the ISMAA Annual Meeting. Students and faculty are invited to propose a presentation on a topic dealing with mathematics or the teaching and learning of mathematics by clicking on the Abstract Submission link below. We expect talks to be 15-20 minutes long, depending on the number of submissions.

Abstract Submission Form

Individuals interested in presenting should submit an abstract (at most one paragraph) with the name(s) of the author(s) by February 28, 2024 via the link above. Please note that this form does NOT register you for the 2024 ISMAA Annual Meeting.

Questions or special needs may be directed to Program Committee chair, Steve Cohen, at

[ Top ]

Award Nominations

A number of awards may be presented at the meeting. Those awards may include the Early Career Teaching Award, the Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) Award, and the Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE) Award. However, in order to be able to make those awards, the Awards Committee needs your help to identify deserving candidates. Additional information on the requirements of each award, as well as the nomination process, can be found on the Awards page.

Nominations for the Early Career Teaching, Distinguished Service, and Distinguished Teaching awards are due by February 28, 2024.

Nominations for the Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) and Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE) awards are due by March 1, 2024.

Questions should be addressed to the Awards Committee chair, Tim Comar (

[ Top ]

Section NExT

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 some MAA sections, including the Illinois section, to organize their own local versions of this program, called Section NExT.

The annual ISMAA Section NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA Annual Meeting, this year held at the Bradley University in Peoria on March 15-16, 2024. 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 2024 and 2025 ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The Section NExT Program will begin on Friday morning (March 15, 2024), with the pre-conference workshop. This year's workshop "Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Our Departments" will be led by Edray Goins from Pomona College from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 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 16, 2024, 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 Section NExT Application (MS Word)
ISMAA Section 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 2024 ISMAA Section NExT Fellows is Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

[ Top ]

Business Meeting

The annual business meeting of the section will be held at 4:30pm - 5:30pm on Friday, March 15. The location will be made available closer to the conference date.

The business meeting agenda includes approval of the minutes of the 2023 business meeting and the election of board members. A copy of the unapproved minutes of the 2023 business meeting is available for review.

The section must also vote on the proposed changes to the Joint Articulation Guide that ISMAA maintains together with IMACC (Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges). These changes are primarily to the section concerning Differential Equations. If you wish to review the changes before the business meeting, here are the links to the current guide and the suggested edits.

[ Top ]

Local Information


Hotel Information

[ Top ]