Your Chance to Participate

Do you have a student who is ready to give her first mathematical presentation?

Invite her to give a tak or a poster!

Spring 2015 SoCal-Nev Section Meeting

California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California
Saturday, March 14, 2015 (SUPER Pi Day!)
(Directions and Map)

Joint meeting with the
Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (PCUMC)

Register on-line!

The PCUMC has a beautiful website with all of the meeting information. in particular, on the PCUMC site you can register, find travel information, and a schedule of events and talks. Here are some highlights. I

Showcasing Students

The Southern California-Nevada Section of the MAA joins the PCUMC this Spring to showcase the work of our students. Student presenters choose between giving a talk or a poster. Student registration for this meeting is free.

Invited Addresses

Other Sessions

Fun and games

  • Origami icosahedron construction, in celebration of the MAA's Centennial
  • Pi recitation contest
  • And ... pie!

James Tanton

Mathematician at Large
Mathematical Association of America

Believing that mathematics really is accessible to all, James Tanton (PhD, Mathematics, Princeton 1994) is committed to sharing the delight and the beauty of the subject. He worked as a college professor for ten years, as a high-school teacher for ten years, and is now the MAA's Mathematician-at-Large, working to promote effective and joyful mathematics thinking, learning, and doing at all levels of the education spectrum. James regularly conducts professional development activities for teachers across the US, Canada, and overseas.

James is the author of SOLVE THIS: MATH ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS AND CLUBS (MAA, 2001), THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MATHEMATICS (Facts on File, 2005), MATHEMATICS GALORE! (MAA, 2012) and twelve self-published texts. He is the 2005 recipient of the Beckenbach Book Prize, the 2006 recipient of the Kidder Faculty Prize at St. Mark's School, and a 2010 recipient of a Raytheon Math Hero Award for excellence in school teaching.

He also publishes research and expository articles, and helps high school students pursue research projects and publish their own results too. James is also working on the MAA's Curriculum Inspirations project.

Weird Ways to Work With Pi
(And have you noticed that the spelling of "weird" is weird?)

Many a mathematical scholar has contemplated the meaning and mystery of the number pi: the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But I ask...Who said the concept of "pi" should apply only to circles? What is pi for a square? What is pi for a right triangle? What interesting non-circular problems can be solved with non-circular pi-values?

Let's get weird and quirky and let pi loose on all kinds of wild shapes!

Luke Anderson

University of Colorado
Luke Anderson is a leading voice in the celebration of Pi Day and the promotion of Pi's history as a tool to advance the widespread appreciation of math. He is the founder of, an internationally popular resource for stories, activities, music, and other creative and educational tributes to the number. For more than 15 years, Luke has engaged audiences of all ages (4 to 84) at Pi Day events around the country. His speaking venues have included the National Museum of Mathematics, Harvard University, colleges and universities in California, Colorado, and Minnesota, private corporations, and numerous K - 12 schools. He is a frequent contributor to Pi - related stories in the media, including CBS News and the Wall Street Journal. His efforts have been documented on NPR, in Newsweek, Bloomberg News, and various local TV and print outlets. After studying mathematics as an undergraduate and then starting out in investment banking, Luke moved into college administration. He has held finance and strategy roles at St. Olaf College, Harvard, and presently at the University of Colorado Boulder. Luke holds an Ed.M. degree from Harvard University.

The Lives of Pi

Who is Pi? Over the centuries, the number has attracted the attention not only of mathematicians, but also of politicians, physicians, theologians, and musicians - with mixed results. And Pi has also taken on many lives of its own across mathematics, many of which have nothing to do with geometry. On this most sacred of math holidays, let's pay tribute both to the people behind and the personalities of this endlessly fascinating figure.

Supervising Undergraduate Research

Are you interested in supervising undergraduates in research but don’t know where to start? Are you already a pro but would like to hear new tips and ideas to refresh your own style? In this panel we are bringing together several expert research supervisors from our Section who will share their experiences and perspectives on this very challenging and satisfying aspect of a mathematics faculty career. Our panelists come from a range of institutions and use different models for involving undergraduates in research.


Scott Annin
CSU Fullerton
Scott Annin received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley in 2002, right before joining the faculty at California State University, Fullerton. He has mentored nearly 20 undergraduate students in pure mathematics and considers his involvement with students in research a primary driving force in his scholarly agenda. His students, some of whom are now recent graduates of or current students in PhD programs, have presented research at AMS, MAA, and PCUMC conferences, and published articles in a wide range of research outlets. Annin is co-Director of an NSF grant to support underrepresented students at Fullerton in their pursuit of graduate school through such activities as undergraduate research.
Stephan Ramon Garcia
Pomona College
Stephan Ramon Garcia is associate professor of mathematics at Pomona College and the author of almost sixty research articles (many with undergraduates) in operator theory, complex analysis, linear algebra, and number theory. He is an editor of the journal Involve and he has also mentored faculty on supervising undergraduate research as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduate Faculty (REUF) program. He has received three NSF research grants and five teaching awards from three different institutions. He has been involved in the governance of the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) since 2008.
Rebecca Head
Bakersfield College
Rebecca Head is a Professor of Mathematics at Bakersfield College. She earned her M.S. in Mathematics at Cal State Northridge, but is still loyal to Colorado, where she grew up and earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado. This mixture of degrees explains why she especially enjoys applied mathematics and working with students on math projects. Rebecca has served as an advisor, judge, and supporter of the student poster projects at the MAA spring meetings since 1999.
Min-Lin Lo
CSU San Bernardino
Min-Lin Lo is associate professor at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). Since 2010, she has supervised the work of 4 to 5 CSUSB minority students per year on open problems with the support of MAA’s National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP). She is also co-PI of an NSF grant, Proactive Recruitment in Introductory Science and Mathematics (PRISM), for which she has mentored 4 to 6 freshmen and sophomores per year since 2011 in summer research projects. Lo obtained a new grant, Preparing Undergraduates through Mentoring towards PhDs – Undergraduate Research Groups (PUMP-URG), in 2014 to support two research students during the 2014-2015 academic year.
Sam Nelson
Claremont McKenna College
Sam Nelson received his PhD from Louisiana State University in 2002. Since then he has taught mathematics at Whittier College, The University of California at Riverside, Pomona College, and Claremont McKenna College, where he is an Associate Professor. He currently holds a Simons Foundation collaboration grant and is a coauthor of the soon-to-be-published first textbook on quandle theory. He has published over 50 original research articles, around 30 of which have undergraduate coauthors.

Career Opportunities in Mathematics


Kellie Byward
Attorney, San Bernardino County Public Defender
Kellie Byward is a criminal defense attorney in the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Kellie earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of California Hastings and was admitted to the California Bar in 2006. After clerking for a Judge in the San Francisco Law and Motion department, Kellie joined the Public Defender’s office as a trial attorney in 2007. Kellie has tried over fifty cases, including felony and misdemeanor jury trials and juvenile court trials. Every fall, Kellie coaches a high school mock trial team in Apple Valley. Kellie is currently working with other attorneys and a social worker in her office to create a support program for children with incarcerated parents.
Anne-Marie Delfosse
Math Content Architect, ALEKS
Anne-Marie Bone is a Math Content Architect for ALEKS at McGraw-Hill Education. She received her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles in June 2010. Shortly after graduating, she was hired as a Math Quality Control Specialist at ALEKS Corporation in Irvine. As a Math QC Specialist, she works to verify the mathematical correctness of math problems in ConnectMath for McGraw-Hill, and checks that the various new features of ALEKS worked efficiently. While working as a QC Specialist, she received my Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach in December 2014. In the midst of graduating she moved from the Quality Control Department to the Content Department at ALEKS, where she is now a Math Content Architect. Currently, she and her colleagues are working on writing new Geometry problems in order to meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards for Geometry.
Dena Lordi
Diamond Bar High School
Dena Lordi is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent and Young Adult Mathematics and is a member of the California Teacher Advisory Council. She currently works as a mathematics teacher and as the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, California. Dena has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from UC, San Diego. Outside of her 27 years of teaching, coaching, and advising at DBHS, her job experience also includes programming for the Peacekeeper Targeting Project at TRW Space and Defense Group, teaching statistics at Orange Coast College, and teaching a logic and verbal reasoning course for high school students at Xavier University in New Orleans. For the 1996 -1997 school year, Dena was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher at Tisand Technical College in eSikhawini, South Africa. In 2001, Dena was recognized as one of 12 Los Angeles County Teachers of the Year. Her current teaching load includes the IB course Theory of Knowledge. This is a seminar/writing course that requires students to makes connections between the disciplines. The concepts rely heavily on a theoretical understanding of mathematics as a way of knowing.
Enrique Schultz
Actuarial Consultant
Mercer Consulting
Enrique Schulz is part of Mercer Consulting as an Actuarial Associate at the Los Angeles office. He has been with Mercer since 2011 helping clients under the Employee Health and Benefits department. His role includes providing clients with actuarial and financial reports, forecasting liabilities, medical benefit plan management, among other human resource services. Prior to his employment at Mercer, Enrique worked for Towers Watson as a Retirement Actuarial Analyst where he learned key concepts about pension and retiree medical management consulting.
Kim Sacra
Actuarial Consultant
National Security Agency
In 2006, Kim started as a mathematician at the National Security Agency (NSA), the single largest employer of mathematicians in the United States. Its mission is to collect information from foreign signals and to prevent foreign adversaries from gaining access to national security information. Kim most recently served as the NSA Mathematics Hiring Manager. Previously, Kim worked as a Cryptographic Vulnerability Analyst, evaluating commercial cryptographic products and protocols. Prior to her job at NSA, Kim worked as a high school mathematics teacher in Baltimore County, Maryland. She earned her Bachelor's in Mathematics from Bucknell University in 2004, her Master's in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University in 2009, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. In addition to her position at NSA, Kim is currently an adjunct faculty member at Harford Community College.

Teaching Ideas Swap Session

Facilitators: Shawn McMurran and Gizem Karaali

No matter how green or experienced we are as faculty, getting new ideas from colleagues can enliven our classrooms and contribute to our professional growth. This session will offer the opportunity for faculty to network and share ideas for teaching and learning.

  • Do you have an idea that you would like to develop via brainstorming with colleagues?
  • Have you found or developed a great investigation that engages your class?
  • Are you looking for new ideas to help students understand a difficult concept?
  • Do you want to add to your successful lesson repository?
  • Are you wondering about potential pitfalls that you might want to avoid when introducing a particular topic?

Come join us! Bring a lesson to share, a story to tell, or just your enthusiasm for teaching. Depending on the number of participants and their interests, the group may split into smaller groups to discuss specific themes, courses, or approaches.