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Contributed Paper Sessions

Contributed Paper Sessions with Themes (TCPS)

Click here to view full TCPS schedule and individual talks

Click here to view the MAA MathFest 2016 Abstract Book

TCPS #1: Fostering a Problem-Solving Culture for Students

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., Taft A

All of us have experienced what George Pólya describes as “the tension and triumph of discovery” that comes from solving a difficult problem. This is something numerous faculty endeavor to bring to their students. The purpose of this session is to share ideas for extracurricular activities involving problem-solving events that occur regularly. These can range from Problem of the Day/Week/Month to forming a Problem Solvers Group that meets often to an Annual Inter-Collegiate Problem Contest, and so on. Let us share what worked, what can be improved, and how you entice students to participate. Our desire is for inclusivity, so these events should be open to all students, not just your best math majors. Talks in this session address specifically the aspects of establishing and maintaining a practice of extracurricular problem solving among students and not single undergraduate research projects. We also want to know if these led to more student engagement such as GRE Study clusters, journal problem-solving groups, Putnam involvement, teams for the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, or something else.

J. Lyn Miller, Slippery Rock University
Ron Taylor, Berry College
Robert Vallin, Lamar University

TCPS #2: Undergraduate Research Activities in Mathematical and Computational Biology

Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m., Taft A

This session is dedicated to aspects of undergraduate research in mathematical and computational biology. First and foremost, this session would like to highlight research results of projects that either were conducted by undergraduates or were collaborations between undergraduates and their faculty mentors. Of particular interest are those collaborations that involve students and faculty from both mathematics and biology. Secondly, as many institutions have started undergraduate research programs in this area, frequently with the help of initial external funding, the session is interested in the process and logistics of starting a program and maintaining a program even after the initial funding expires. Important issues include faculty development and interdisciplinary collaboration, student preparation and selection, the structure of research programs, the acquisition of resources to support the program, and the subsequent achievements of students who participate in undergraduate research in mathematical and computational biology.

Timothy D. Comar, Benedictine University


TCPS #3: Programming in Mathematics Classes and Mathematics for Programming

Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m., Union A

This session invites participants to reflect upon their use of computer programming and/or computer algebra systems within their upper-level mathematics curriculum. Implementations using SAGE, Maple Mathematica or other programming/computer algebra environments are welcome. The purpose of this session is to explore the outcomes of different aspects of programming in mathematics education while providing tools and/or examples for anyone that is interested in incorporating more programming into their own curriculum. Presenters will describe the tools used, lessons developed, and examples of student outcomes.

Jacci White, Monika Kiss, and Brian CampSaint Leo University

TCPS #4: CAMP: Calculus Applied Mathematics Projects

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 3:55 p.m., Franklin A

Teaching mathematics includes not only helping students learn the material but also appreciating the utility and applicability of those skills in better understanding the world. One technique in achieving this appreciation is through the use of projects which also strengthens inquiry, collaboration, reasoning and communication. However, there are currently limited curricular materials readily available to instructors of single and multivariable calculus. We invite you to come CAMP with us by offering innovative applied mathematics project ideas that can be used in the Calculus sequence.

Ellen Swanson, Centre College
Emek Kose, St. Mary's College of Maryland

TCPS #5: Inviting All Students to Do Mathematics - Engaging Courses, Projects, and Activities for Liberal Arts Students

Part A: Thursday, August 4, 8:30 a.m. - 10:05 a.m., Union B
Part B: Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m., Union C
Part C: Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m., Union C

All students should have the opportunity to do mathematics in a meaningful way for the sheer fun of it. Such experiences, if well designed, improve students' effective thinking skills, increase their appreciation of the beauty and utility of mathematics, and prepare them to be mathematically-literate members of society. This session invites talks on how we can engage the liberal arts student through courses specifically designed for them. We welcome presentations on innovative course design, pedagogy, projects, or activities, as well as talks on tools used to assess such courses. Presentations should include a research basis for the design or pedagogical choices, a report on outcomes in student learning or attitude, or other evidence of success. Papers about programs demonstrating success engaging students who enter the course reluctant to engage in mathematics are especially encouraged. We also welcome talks on first year seminars or other experiences that engage first year students in doing mathematics as well as Honors courses in mathematics that incorporate the liberal arts.

Jennifer Nordstrom, Linfield College
Suzanne Doree, Augsburg College
Sarah Mabrouk, Framingham State University
Victor Piercey, Ferris State University

Curriculum Renewal Across the First Two Years (CRAFTY) Committee

TCPS #6: My Favorite Math Circle Problem

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 5:20 p.m., Franklin C

A math circle is an enrichment activity for K-12 students or their teachers, which brings them into direct contact with mathematically sophisticated leaders, fostering a passion and excitement for deep mathematics in the participants. Math circles combine significant discovery and excitement about mathematics through problem solving and exploration. Talks in this session will address a favorite problem or topic that was successful with a math circle audience.

Katherine Morrison, University of Northern Colorado
Philip Yasskin, Texas A&M University


​TCPS #7: Encouraging Early Career Teaching Innovation

Part A: Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Union A
Part B: Saturday, August 6, 9:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m., Union A

Faculty are eager to offer activities in the classroom that foster student success, but many are not formally trained in pedagogy. Junior faculty in particular may feel overwhelmed with adjusting to a new position, and the need to create an impressive tenure portfolio. This session will consist of presentations of effective and innovative tips, techniques, and tricks that experienced faculty members have used. Talks will address the reasoning behind, design, and implementation of their resource. While these activities may be whole course techniques, we also seek presentations on activities that can be dropped into an existing class to bolster student learning and reflection. Such activities may include exam wrappers, question stems, and IF-AT scratch off cards. Techniques do not have to be original to the presenter, but sources should be credited and proof of success (or failure and redesign) should be given.

We hope that this session will allow junior faculty in particular to be exposed to new, successful techniques that have been vetted by experienced faculty. We would also encourage presenters to be open to being contacted by attendees with questions about implementation, addressing any possible barriers to implementation, etc.‬

Susan Crook, Loras College
David Failing, Quincy University

TCPS #8: Formative Assessment Techniques for Undergraduate Math Courses

Part A: Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 4:35 p.m., Union B
Part B: Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 3:35 p.m., Union B

Recent trends indicate that formative assessment encourages a growth mindset, reduces test anxiety, and improves student gains in math classrooms. The purpose of this session is to disseminate new approaches to student evaluation that use assessment as a learning experience and help students overcome challenges that disproportionately affect students in math classes, including test anxiety, insufficient prerequisite knowledge, or lack of confidence. Examples of formative assessment include mastery-based testing schemes, feedback on rough drafts of student work, peer review of coursework, and oral exams. The focus of the session is on pedagogical rationales for formative assessment tools, their practical implementation, and their impact on the aforementioned challenges facing students. Speakers should talk about formative assessment techniques they use in these contexts, and provide evidence of how they encourage student success in math courses. In addition, speakers are encouraged to share their experiences and their advice for educators planning to incorporate formative assessment in their classes.

Jarod Hart, University of Kansas
Alyssa Armstrong, Wittenberg University
Katie Haymaker, Villanova University
Mike Janssen, Dordt College
Austin Mohr, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Jessica Stewart, Christopher Newport University
Jessica O'Shaughnessy, Shenandoah University
Amanda Harsy, Lewis University

TCPS #9: Novel Introductions to Non-Euclidean Geometry

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m., Union A

This session invites presenters to share interesting ways in which to introduce undergraduate students to non-Euclidean geometry. These “tastes” of geometry may be demonstrations, in-class activities, projects, proofs, or ways in which to guide undergraduates to explore and to learn about non-Euclidean geometries. but not those related to differential geometry or (low-level) graduate courses. Those discussing demonstrations or in-class activities are encouraged to share key portions. Presenters should discuss the facets of their approaches which highlight the differences between the geometry being explored and the Euclidean geometry with which undergraduates are familiar. Information regarding prerequisite topics and related areas with which students have difficulty should be discussed as should follow-up topics and problems, if any, experienced when using this approach. Presenters are invited to discuss how they have modified their approaches over time and to share information about successes, failures, and student reaction. Abstracts should include the type of geometry being examined, a brief description of the aspects of this geometry which are introduced, the theorem, if appropriate, the software or application, if any, which may be used, and what makes this approach a unique introduction to non-Euclidean geometry. Those whose presentations are dependent upon software or tablet explorations must provide their own laptop or tablet.

Sarah L. Mabrouk, Framingham State University

TCPS #10: Recreational Mathematics: Puzzles, Card Tricks, Games, Gambling, and Sports

Part A: Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 3:55 p.m., Taft C
Part B: Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Taft C

Puzzles, card tricks, board games, game shows, gambling, and sports provide an excellent laboratory for testing mathematical strategy, probability, and enumeration. The analysis of such diversions is fertile ground for the application of mathematical and statistical theory. Submissions to this session are encouraged that look at new problems as well as novel solutions to old problems. Submissions by undergraduates or examples of the use of the analysis in the undergraduate classroom are encouraged.

Paul R. Coe, Dominican University
Kristen Schemmerhorn, Concordia University Chicago
Sara B. Quinn, Dominican University

General Contributed Paper Sessions (GCPS)

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (August 4-6) Mornings and Afternoons, Union D & E

Click here to view full GCPS Schedule and Individual Talks

Click here to view the MAA MathFest 2016 Abstract Book

The general sessions accept abstracts of papers in all areas of mathematics, pedagogy, and the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Talks are scheduled in the following categories:

Linear & Abstract Algebra

Thursday, August 4, 8:30 a.m. - 10:10 a.m., Union E


Thursday, August 4, 8:30 a.m. - 10:25 a.m., Union D

Teaching Calculus

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Union E

Applied Mathematics

Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Union D

Teaching Introductory Level Mathematics and Assessment

Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. - 11:40 a.m., Union D

Graph Theory and Other Topics

Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. - 11:40 a.m., Union E

Teaching Advanced Level Mathematics

Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 5:10 p.m., Union E

Teaching Introductory Level Mathematics

Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Union D

History of Mathematics

Saturday, August 6, 8:30 a.m. - 11:40 a.m., Union E

Number Theory

Saturday, August 6, 8:30 a.m. - 11:40 a.m., Union D

Outreach and Other Topics

Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m., Union D

Probability, Statistics and Calculus

Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 4:40 p.m., Union E

Gizem Karaali, Pomona College
John Wilson, Centre College

Graduate Student Paper Session

Great Talks for a General Audience: Coached Presentations by Graduate Students

Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Madison

Presenters in this session must be graduate students. While many graduate students will be asked to give a lecture to an audience consisting of undergraduates and non-mathematicians (possibly as part of a job interview), most students do not have much experience talking to a non-research audience. This session gives graduate students the opportunity to give a 20-minute talk aimed at an undergraduate audience (speakers should assume the audience has been only exposed to calculus and possibly some linear algebra). Both the talks and abstracts should be designed to excite a wide range of undergraduates about mathematics. All participants in this session will receive private feedback on their presentations from an established faculty member and an undergraduate student. Contact a session organizer for help writing an abstract or preparing your talk for a general audience. Optional Q&A sessions with the organizers will be held at MathFest for presenters to receive feedback on their talks. Graduate student participants in this session should also attend the graduate student workshop (What’s the Story?).

James Freeman, Cornell College
Rachel Schwell, Central Connecticut State University
Aliza Steurer, Dominican University
May Mei, Denison University

MAA Committee on Graduate Students

Great Talks Q&A Session

Friday, August 5, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Trott (Columbus Convention Center)

Undergraduate Student Paper Sessions

Full program of MAA Student Paper Sessions and PME Student Paper Sessions

MAA Sessions

Thursday, August 4, 8:30 a.m. - 11:25 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m., Madison/Fayette/Clark/Champaign

Students who wish to present at the MAA Student Paper Sessions at MathFest 2016 must be sponsored by a faculty advisor familiar with the work to be presented. Some funding to cover costs (up to $750) for student presenters is available. At most one student from each institution or REU can receive full funding; additional such students may be funded at a lower rate. All presenters are expected to take full part in the meeting and attend indicated activities sponsored for students on all three days of the conference. Abstracts and student travel grant applications should be submitted at For additional information visit

Chasen Smith, Georgia Southern University
Theron Hitchman, University of Northern Iowa

Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) Sessions

Thursday, August 4, 2:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m., Knox/Marion/Morrow

Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m., Knox/Marion/Morrow

Pi Mu Epsilon student speakers must be nominated by their chapter advisors. Application forms for PME student speakers will be available by March 1, 2016 on the PME web site A PME student speaker who attends all the PME activities is eligible for transportation reimbursement up to $600, and additional speakers are eligible with a maximum $1200 reimbursement per chapter. PME speakers receive a free ticket to the PME Banquet with their conference registration fee. See the PME website for more details.

Contact Person:
Darci Kracht, Kent State University