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CUSAC administers a grant
program, the Diversity Initiative, which
encourages undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to
participate in the national meetings. The program, developed
several
years ago by Jean Bee Chan, awards small travel grants every year to
college and university faculty who bring women and students from ethnic
and racial minorities to the Joint Mathematics Meetings. The
committee
usually begins by contacting schools that are relatively close to the
meeting site, so that we can help as many students as possible.
In the
past two years, we have also worked closely with the NREUP program,
funding those students who have come to the meetings to present posters
or give talks about their summer research. Seven institutions were awarded grants for the San Antonio meetings:



The grants supported the travel of 27 students, 15 of whom submitted posters to the Undergraduate Poster Session ’ and some of whom won prizes there! For information about next year’s grants for the New Orleans meetings, contact Kay Somers of the Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters: somersk@moravian.edu. 

These students from the Rochester
Institute of Technology and supported by a Diversity Initiative grant
won one of the top prizes at the Undergraduate Student 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. Fewer than 20 posters were presented. Since then the session has grown in size to the event we see today largely owing to Mario Martelli (Claremont McKenna College), who organized it from 2000 to 2005. Many changes came with my first year as organizer. The submission of abstracts and collection of judge information is now done electronically. This would have been impossible 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 MAACUPM 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 go to Suzanne Lenhart (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) for arranging the prizes donated by the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Educational Advancement Foundation, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. I also would 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 from Towson University for their invaluable help in setting up the room and for their assistance in a variety of tasks on the day of the poster session. The tremendous enthusiasm from past and new judges was very much appreciated. A heartfelt thanks to all standby judges, whom I relied on to evaluate 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. 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 showing of students next year in New Orleans. Save the date and apply early. A list of this year’s prizewinners can be found at /students/undergrad/06winners.html. News for next year’s poster session will be found on the MAA website at . 


The MAA Contributed Paper
Session on ’Research and Other Mathematical Experiences for Students
outside the Classroomâ? was held on Friday, January 13, 2006, at the San
Antonio JMM. The session was jointly sponsored by the MAA
Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters and by the
CUPM Subcommittee on Undergraduate Research. Organizers
were: Kay Somers, Moravian College; Susan Morey, Texas State
University; Sivaram Narayan, Central Michigan University; and Jody
Sorensen, Grand Valley State University. Speakers described activities and student research projects and programs so that others would be encouraged to organize and run these types of events for their students. The sixteen talks described interdisciplinary seminars in mathematics and economics and interdisciplinary research experiences in mathematics and biology, as well as how to foster and advise undergraduate research projects at your home institution. Outsideoftheclassroom activities addressed included suggestions for celebrating ’Pi Day,â? descriptions of math club activities that engage students and alumni, a report on an ’Integration Bee,â? and tips for organizing and maintaining an undergraduate mathematics competition. 

Kay Somers introduces Steve Leonhardi at
the Contributed Paper Session. 
The Student Hospitality Center at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio was organized and hosted once again by Richard and Araceli Neal. More than 100 guests attended the special opening reception Thursday afternoon. Throughout the days of the JMM, many student visitors congregated and discussed the presentations, socialized, and enjoyed the free refreshments offered them. The students also enjoyed the challenge of trying to solve some of the many puzzles distributed among the tables of the center. The Student Hospitality Center is sponsored by the MAA Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters. It has become a place to keep up with the flow of the meeting, to leave messages, to meet others and talk, or just to relax between sessions. Please look for the Student Hospitality Center at the summer MathFest and the winter Joint Mathematics Meetings each year. 

Students thronged at the SHC reception. Richard Neal, Kay Somers, CUSAC President Betty Mayfield, and Araceli Neal are in the background. 
