Post by Sarah Fleming ’17 and Nina Pande ’17

Last Saturday, we attended WIMIN15, a conference sponsored by the Center for Women in Mathematics at Smith College. We heard two invited speakers, Linda Chen of Swarthmore College and Mariel Vazquez of University of California at Davis. Chen gave the Alice Dickinson Lecture in Mathematics, “Enumerative Geometry, Combinatorics, and Algebra,” explaining Schubert’s enumerative calculus through connections to algebra and representation theory. Vazquez gave a talk titled “DNA Unlinking in Bacterial Cells” in which she detailed the study of DNA replication and recombination using techniques from knot theory and low-dimensional topology. Both talks were fascinating and introduced unfamiliar areas and applications of math.

In addition to the invited talks, we attended several student talks on topics ranging from climate modeling of winter storm Juno to the study of orbits in representation theory, and in the afternoon, we gave a talk on the research we did this summer with Professor Susan Loepp as a part of SMALL. There was also a short panel on the experience of applying to and being in graduate school with six speakers, all women currently in graduate school: Saray Bray (Tufts), Heidi Goodson (UMN), Siddhi Krishna (Boston College), Elizabeth Sheridan-Rossi (UCT), Emily Gunawan (UMN), and Eva Goedhart (Smith College). The speakers shared general advice as well as anecdotes about the process and the mentors who helped them along the way. Overall, the conference was a great experience, and we would definitely recommend it to any students interested in math research or graduate school!

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