Education and Outreach Program

Each year SAMSI conducts a variety of education and outreach workshops and activities. Two two-day workshops for undergraduates are held. These workshops are aimed at introducing students to the manner in which statistics and applied mathematics play fundamental roles in science, with a focus on topics related to current SAMSI research programs. Students also gain hands-on experience with some of the technologies and software commonly used by researchers in the field.

In mid-May, SAMSI sponsors a week-long interdisciplinary workshop for undergraduates. This workshop, with approximately 25 rising juniors and seniors chosen from a nationwide pool, provides students with an intensive introduction to research topics which can be furthered by the combined application of statistics and applied mathematics. As part of the workshop, students are divided into teams that, working under the supervision of more experienced researchers, collect and analyze their own physical data. The workshops are aimed at encouraging students to pursue graduate studies in the statistical and mathematical sciences. In parallel with activities aimed at students, about 30 faculty from primarily teaching colleges are invited to SAMSI during that week. The goal of these activities is to allow these faculty members to keep an active connection with current research themes in the mathematical sciences. The research themes studied by the students during the week are used as a vehicle for this. Some of the activities are held with both groups together, but most are conducted separately. It is expected that the faculty will gather material (modules) that they can incorporate into their teaching. Further, the presence of faculty from under- represented schools also encourages the participation of students from those institutions.

Each summer SAMSI sponsors the Industrial Mathematical and Statistical Modeling Workshop (IMSM) for graduate students. The objective of this workshop is to expose graduate students in mathematics, engineering, and statistics to challenging and exciting real-world problems. Students work in teams of five to seven individuals on projects presented by scientists from national laboratories, industry research centers and other non-academic institutions. Students learn to communicate with scientists outside of the student’s discipline, to allocate tasks among team members, and to disseminate results through both oral presentations and written reports. At the end of the workshop, each group presents its results to all participants. Further, each group has to write a technical report. These reports often result in scientific publications.

As part of its ongoing efforts to engage a diverse audience, SAMSI periodically hosts workshops targeted at groups that are underrepresented in statistics and applied mathematics. In 2006 SAMSI hosted the 12th Annual Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS). In 2007 SAMSI co-sponsored, along with NCSU, the Infinite Possibilities Conference, designed to promote, educate, encourage and support minority women interested in mathematics and statistics. In 2008 SAMSI hosted the Blackwell-Tapia Conference, promoting the interests and careers of African-American, Native American and Latino/Latina students and researchers pursuing careers in statistics and mathematics.

SAMSI is currently scheduled to organize the Workshop Celebrating Diversity in 2012. This annual event provides a forum for scientific interaction among a diverse group of participants focusing on the contributions of young, US, under-represented minorities and young women researchers. The speakers will be women and members of minority groups. The workshop will take place during SIAM’s Annual Meeting. In 2013, SAMSI will organize the Women in Mathematics Workshop. The workshop will highlight the research contributions of established women mathematicians and will provide early-career women the opportunity to interact with these role models. In 2014, SAMSI will be in charge of the Modern Math Workshop. This workshop is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). The workshop introduces students to topics in current mathematical research and aims at further encouraging them to apply to graduate programs in mathematics. In 2014, SAMSI will organize the Minority Professional Development Workshop. This workshop will follow the model of the Professional Development Workshop that was organized by the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) for the postdocs at NSF funded institutes. At that workshop postdocs work on grant proposals and job applications and are advised by faculty who frequently serve on NSF panels and hiring committees. Postdocs from the new "Alliance for Building Faculty Diversity in the Mathematical Sciences" will be attending the workshop. This is an alliance comprised of NSF Mathematical Sciences Institutes and seven major research universities with good records of mentoring minority graduate students. The alliance universities are (listed alphabetically): Arizona State University, Howard University, Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Arizona, the University of Iowa, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.