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San Antonio 2006: The Undergraduate Poster Session

San Antonio 2006: The Undergraduate Poster Session

By Diana Thomas

All of the winners from the undergraduate poster session.

This year's poster session was a tremendous success, with over 130 posters presented and judged by 140 professional mathematicians. The poster session was well attended and continues to attract a large audience at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

I attended my first poster session as an advisor in 1998; there were fewer than 20 posters presented. It has grown in size to the event we see today largely due to the efforts of the organizer, Mario Martelli. Many changes came with my first year as organizer of the session. The submission of abstracts and judge information was electronicized. This could not have been done without the time and effort of Hal Nesbitt, Program Coordinator of the MAA. During this transition, I received much needed support from Suzanne Lenhart, the Chair of the MAA-CUPM Subcommittee on Undergraduate Research, Betty Mayfield, Chair of the MAA Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters (CUSAC) and Michael Pearson, Director of Programs and Services of the MAA.

A lot of time and effort goes into the poster session, from evaluating student abstracts to assigning judges to posters. Special thanks goes to Suzanne Lenhart (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) for arranging the prizes donated by the American Mathematical Society, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Educational Advancement Foundation and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. I would also like to thank Mike O'Leary (Towson University) for assigning judges to posters. I'd like to also thank the students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Towson University who helped set up and assist us in variety of jobs on the day of the poster session.

The tremendous enthusiasm from past and new judges was very much appreciated. Of special note were the standby judges, on whom I relied to judge posters on a variety of topics. Because of the large number of poster presentations, we required many new judges. Past judges helped spread the word to recruit new judges. As usual, Project NeXT came through with new recruits. Aparna Higgins was especially diligent in obtaining judges at the last hour. Thanks to all of you who do this wonderful service and I hope to count on you next year!

Finally, the poster session would not be as successful as it is if it were not for the students and their advisors. Many past judges and attendees commented on the exceptional quality of posters and their corresponding presentations this year. Of special note was Truman State University with two prize winners, Kensey L. Riley and Bach Quang Ha.

I hope to see the same large turnout of students next year in New Orleans. Save the date and apply early. A list of this year's poster session prize winners can be found at /students/undergrad/06winners.html. News for next year's poster session will be posted on the MAA website: .

Diana Thomas is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. Visit her home page at

News Date: 
Wednesday, March 8, 2006