AMS Education and Science Policy Activities at the Joint Mathematics Meetings

Each year at the JMM, the AMS Office of Government Relations organizes four events. I look forward to greeting you at all of them.

We host the Congressional Fellowship Session on Friday, January 17, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm in the Colorado CC, Room 203. This one-year fellowship provides a public policy learning experience, demonstrates the value of science-government interaction and brings a technical background and external perspective to the decision-making process in Congress. Learn more about this program and speak with current and former AMS Fellows. Panelists this year are the current AMS Congressional Fellow Lucia Simonelli, who is serving in the Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Jennifer Pearl (PhD mathematician and Director of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science). You can read about this fellowship (and other DC-based opportunities for PhD mathematicians and students) in the right-hand column “Learn how we support mathematics in DC” on the AMS Government Relations website. Application deadline for the 2020-21 AMS Congressional Fellowship is February 15, 2020.

Our office, which since the summer of 2019 includes the AMS Department of Education, works with two of the AMS policy committees—the Committee on Education and the Committee on Science Policy. Each of these holds a session at the JMM each year.

This year the Committee on Education panel discussion (Thursday, January 16, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm in the Colorado CC, Room 203) is titled “Next Steps: Mathematics Departments and the Explosive Growth of Computational and Quantitative Offerings in Higher Education.” Katherine Stevenson (California State University, Northridge) and Katherine Kinnaird (Smith College) designed and will lead the discussion. They will be joined by panelists Henry Adams, (Colorado State University) and Mario Banuelos (California State University, Fresno). Here is the description:

New computational and quantitative majors, minors, specializations, and certificates are flourishing in all sectors of American higher education. Examples include Certificates in Computational Intelligence and Linguistics, Bachelors degrees in Data Science, and Masters degrees in Financial Engineering. This reflects the increasing demand for quantitative competence in the workplace. What is certain is that student demand for these quantitative offerings is robust and departments that offer them typically seek and sometimes receive an increased number of faculty lines to respond to that demand.

There is little research on the role that mathematics departments play in these new computational and quantitative offerings. This panel explores current departmental practices worthy of attention in shaping computational and quantitative education writ large across the curriculum, and is a follow-up to the fall mini-conference hosted by the AMS Committee on Education. During this session, we will explore the role of mathematics in these computational courses and programs, practical ideas for implementing new modules in your existing courses, as well as methods for building new computational and quantitative courses in your department.

The Committee on Science Policy panel discussion (Friday, January 17, 2:30 pm — 4:00 pm in the Colorado CC, Room 203) is titled “A Call to Action – Grassroots Advocacy for Our Profession”. Francis Su (Harvey Mudd College) will moderate. Panelists include:

  • Kira Hamman, Penn State University
  • Anthony Várilly-Alvarado, Rice University
  • James Ricci, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at U.S. Department of Energy
  • State Director of Constituent Affairs, Office of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet

Here is the description:

Why is advocacy important? What are various ways that you, as a mathematician, can be an effective advocate for issues that affect our profession and our communities? How can you leverage your mathematical training in such endeavors? Four panelists, who have experience in various arenas, will share their perspectives.

 We also organize and host the annual workshop for department chairs and other department leaders, held in the same location as and just prior to the JMM. You have missed signing up for 2020, but please keep in mind for 2021.




About Karen Saxe

Karen Saxe is Director of the AMS Office of Government Relations which works to connect the mathematics community with Washington decision-makers who affect mathematics research and education. Over many years she has contributed much time to the AMS, MAA, and AWM, including service as vice president of the MAA and in policy and advocacy work with all three. She was the 2013-2014 AMS Congressional Fellow, working for Senator Al Franken on education issues, with focus on higher education and STEM education. In Minnesota she has served on the Citizens Redistricting Commission following the 2010 census and serves on the Common Cause Minnesota Redistricting Leadership Circle. She has three children and, when not at work especially enjoys being with them and reading, hiking and sharing good food and wine and beer with family and friends.
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