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21st Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics | January 25-27, 2019

The 21st Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM) will be held January 25-27, 2019. Conference activities on Friday will occur on the university’s city campus and on Saturday and Sunday at the Embassy Suites Lincoln Downtown Hotel (1040 P Street, 402-474-1111), a short walk in downtown Lincoln. The Conference is open to outstanding undergraduate women mathematicians at all stages of their careers. Students will have the opportunity to meet other women who share their interest in the mathematical sciences, and those who already have done research will be given an opportunity to present their results.

NCUWM's overall goal is to arm participants with knowledge, self-confidence and a network of peers to help them become successful mathematicians. We do this by providing role models, insider knowledge and an opportunity to present original research. Our focus is to encourage and mentor undergraduate women to pursue graduate study in mathematics and seek mathematical careers. Conference participants also will have a chance to learn about life in graduate school from the perspective of current women graduate students representing math departments from across the country.

Although we do not regard this conference as an appropriate venue for faculty representatives to recruit applicants for their graduate programs, we would like to encourage departments to contact us about sponsoring women graduate students from their programs at the conference.

Plenary Speakers

Christine Darden

Dr. Christine Darden

Christine Mann Darden, a native of Monroe, North Carolina, earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education from Hampton Institute (now University) in Hampton, Virginia; a Master of Science in applied mathematics from Virginia State College (now University); and a D.Sc. Degree in mechanical engineering from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Darden also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Management from Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston, MA. After nearly 40 years of service, Dr. Darden retired as a member of The Senior Executive Service in March 2007 from NASA Langley Research Center, where she was hired in 1967 as a Computer/Data Analyst in the Re-Entry Physics Branch. Her final assignment at Langley was as Director of the Office of Strategic Communications and Education (OSCE). In that position she was responsible for the Center’s external and internal communications, community outreach, governmental relations and educational outreach. Prior to the OSCE position, which Darden assumed in October 2004, Darden served as the Langley Assistant Director for Planning, responsible for the Langley strategic planning process, and oversight of the Center’s delivery on commitments. Darden also previously served as Director of the Aero Performing Center Program Management Office (APCPMO) where her office had oversight of NASA Langley’s work in Rotorcraft, Efficient Engine Technology, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Air Traffic Management. She also served as a Senior Program Manager in NASA's High Speed Research (HSR) Program Office, and for nearly 30 years as an internationally known researcher in high-speed aerodynamics and sonic boom research. NASA is planning in 2018 to issue an RFP for the build of a full-size supersonic low-boom x-plane to demonstrate both low-boom performance and supersonic efficiency, a continuation of the sonic boom work performed and/or led by Darden. She was recently included in the book, “Hidden Figures,” by author Margot Shetterly as one who stood on the shoulders of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, NASA “Human” Computers” who as members of the segregated West Computers contributed to the NASA Space Program in the early 1960s and who in 2016 were featured in the Twentieth Century movie of the same name. Daily Nebraskan article

Zhilan Feng

Dr. Zhilan Feng

Dr. Zhilan Feng studied mathematics at Jilin and Arizona State Universities, where she was a doctoral student of Horst Thieme. She was a post-doctoral and visiting fellow with Carlos Castillo-Chavez and Simon Levin at Cornell and Princeton Universities, respectively, before joining the faculty in the Department of Mathematics at Purdue University, where she became full professor in 2005. Her research includes mathematical modeling of ecology and epidemiology using ordinary, partial, and integro-differential equations. Many of her research projects had been partially supported by grants from NSF, CDC, James S. McDonnell Foundation, and Showalter Trust. She has supervised 15 Ph.D. students at Purdue University. She has co-authored two books and published more than 100 papers on mathematical biology and applied mathematics. She is currently an editor for Journal of Theoretical Biology, Mathematical Biosciences, Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics, and Journal of Biological Dynamics.

Dr. Margaret Holen

Dr. Margaret Holen

After earning a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University, Margaret Holen pursued a career in finance, primarily at Goldman Sachs as a partner with a focus on data and analytics. She worked across the firm’s business units and with its clients across many industries on systematic approaches to decision-making and risk management. Margaret gained extensive experience hiring, managing, and mentoring diverse technical teams. Currently, she serves as a lecturer in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton. She also works with start-up technology companies as an investor and advisor and serves as a trustee for non-profits, including the Math Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). She has most recently been focused on data science and machine learning, where her activities span teaching, research supervision, and investing.

Invited Guests

Dr. Maia AverettAssociate Professor of MathematicsMills College

Krystle HindsExecutive Assistant, Mathematics ResearchNational Security Agency

Dr. Carol MeyersMathematicianLawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Dr. Candice PriceAssistant Professor of MathematicsUniversity of San Diego

Dr. Alicia Prieto LangaricaAssociate Professor of MathematicsYoungstown State University

Tina SposatoStaff EngineerIntel

Dr. Emily WittAssistant Professor of MathematicsUniversity of Kansas

Application, Selection and Policies

We thank you for your interest in attending NCUWM. Students interested in attending the 2019 conference must complete an application between October 2 and 9, 2018. Students who are listed in applications as co-authors must complete an application if they are interested in attending the 2019 conference. Please note that the registration fee is $50 per person, for both students and faculty, to be paid by students once they are notified of acceptance. Selection of participants will be done according to the following policies:

  1. Attendees must be at least of sophomore standing and 19 years of age at the time of the conference. Individual students are now limited to one conference attendance as a non-presenter and two attendances in total.
  2. Each home institution will be limited to a maximum of four participants.
  3. Abstracts will be read by the organizing committee, which will select 48 for talks and as many for posters as can be accommodated. Preference will be given to original research, loosely defined as work that includes some mathematical results obtained by the student, possibly with collaborators. Applicants whose abstracts are selected for either a talk or a poster are presenters; all other student applicants are non-presenters.
  4. Selection of abstracts will be done primarily on merit, except that each home institution will be limited to a maximum of three talks and a total of four presenters.
  5. Students chosen as presenters will be accepted to the conference, provided they complete their registration (by paying the registration fee) by the given deadline.
  6. Non-presenters will be selected by institution rather than individual. If an institution has more applicants than the number of slots it is given, the students’ advisor(s) will be asked to select the students to represent their school. Students will identify an advisor in the application. If more than one professor from an institution is identified, every person named as an advisor at that school by its students will get the same email saying how many spots the school has to allocate and naming the specific students who have applied. Once the organizing committee has been given the selected names, we will issue instructions for completing their registration to the selected students.
  7. The top priority in selection of non-presenters will be to accept at least one student from each home institution (with presenters included in the count).
  8. The second priority in selection of non-presenters will be to accept a second student (counting presenters) from each home institution.
  9. If there is still space available, additional non-presenters will be selected through a lottery, subject to policies 2 and 6.

All students should anticipate being notified of their status by the end of October.

These policies were crafted to fit a wide range of institutional situations, but nobody can anticipate all possibilities. If you believe that your situation is sufficiently unusual that it warrants special consideration, please have your faculty advisor contact Glenn Ledder, NCUWM Co-Chair, at

Statement of Appropriate Conduct at NCUWM

To provide all participants – undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, speakers, panelists, staff, and volunteers – the opportunity to benefit from the event, NCUWM is committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion, or other group identity.

NCUWM seeks to provide an opportunity for diverse participants to learn, network, and enjoy the company of colleagues in an environment of mutual human respect. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and hold that environment for the benefit of all. Some behaviors are, therefore, specifically prohibited:

  • Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance, or other group status.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact.
  • Yelling at or threatening speakers (verbally or physically).

All participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all conference venues, including social events. Participants asked to stop a hostile or harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Conference participants seek to learn, network, and have fun. Please do so responsibly and with respect for the right of others to do likewise.

Please contact designated NCUWM staff (identified during the conference), or any member of the organizing committee whom you are comfortable with, if you believe you have been harassed or that a harassment problem exists. Any such reports will be investigated immediately and appropriate actions taken, but only if desired by the person who was harassed. Reports will ultimately be directed to the Title IX Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, and may consult with and engage other UNL staff, leaders and legal counsel as appropriate.

Learn more about how NCUWM can benefit you:

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Contact Info

Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics
UNL Department of Mathematics
203 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130
Phone: 402.472.9312
Fax: 402.472.9311
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