SIAM News Blog

Association for Women in Mathematics Hosts Workshop at OP23

By Noemi Petra and Chrysoula Tsogka 

The 2023 SIAM Conference on Optimization (OP23) took place in Seattle, Wash., from May 31 to June 3. Throughout the first two days of the meeting, the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) hosted, sponsored, and endorsed a series of workshop sessions and events. Specifically, the Women in Inverse Problems (WIP) research network organized a comprehensive AWM Workshop that included a three-part minisymposium of research presentations, a mentoring luncheon, and a minisymposterium for graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients. Some of the slides and posters are available online.

During the poster session on the first day of the conference, graduate students presented their work and fostered meaningful interactions with attendees and external poster judges. The judges submitted detailed ratings for each poster, and the most highly ranked posters were later recognized during the AWM mentoring luncheon. The winning presenters and their poster titles are as follows:

  • First place: Tongtong Li (Dartmouth College), “Using Bayesian Spectral Reprojection to Resolve the Gibbs Phenomenon”
  • Second place: Jennifer Rangel Ambriz (University of California, Riverside), “Combined Modeling and Experimental Study of Shape Formation of the Drosophila Wing Imaginal Disc”
  • Third place: Rachael M. Alfant (Rice University), “Multistage Stochastic Mixed-integer Programming Using DSP” and Shraddha Verma (George Mason University), “Data Assimilation for Quantum Nv Diamond Spectroscopy.”

All of the poster presenters received funding from the Math Sciences Institutes Diversity Initiative to attend a one-week workshop or event of their choice at a participating mathematical sciences institute.

AWM and SIAM extend a special thanks to the poster judges: Harbir Antil (George Mason University), Andrea Arnold (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Daniela Calvetti (Case Western Reserve University), Drew Kouri (Sandia National Laboratories), Malena Sabate Landman (Emory University), Milagros Loreto (University of Washington Bothell), Alison Malcolm (Memorial University), Andreas Mang (University of Houston), Roummel Marcia (University of California, Merced), Shari Moskow (Drexel University), Mirjeta Pasha (Tufts University), Fatma Terzioglu (North Carolina State University), Umberto Villa (University of Texas at Austin), and Stefan Wild (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). 

“The posters not only covered algorithms and theory, but also multiple application areas in materials science, chemistry, fluid dynamics, robotics, and so forth,” judge Harbir Antil said. “It was encouraging to see the speakers taking extreme pride in sharing their ideas.”

Both the three-part AWM research minisymposium—entitled “Women in Inverse Problems”—and the mentoring luncheon occurred on the second day of OP23. The minisymposium, which focused on women's contributions to modern mathematical and computational aspects of inverse problems, featured a selection of junior and senior speakers from the WIP research network. During the luncheon, junior researchers had the opportunity to interact with their mentors and ask questions about job applications, the tenure process, research laboratories, industry versus academic careers, and work-life balance. All of the poster presenters, judges, workshop organizers, and minisymposium speakers attended the luncheon, along with Darla Kremer (executive director of AWM), Talitha Washington (president of AWM), and Suzanne Weekes (executive director of SIAM). “The luncheon proved to be an excellent opportunity for the students and poster judges to share their experiences and discuss career opportunities in academia, industry, and national labs,” Antil continued. “I firmly believe that this event will lead to several postdoctoral offers and new collaborations for these early-career researchers.”

We hope that the graduate student participants will continue to benefit from the connections that emerged from the luncheon, minisymposium sessions, and organic conversations throughout the conference. “I had a wonderful time meeting with nice people and sharing our research, work, and life experiences with each other,” poster winner Tongtong Li said of the entire AWM workshop. “The warm and belonging atmosphere was really enjoyable.”

Daniela Calvetti, who served as both an AWM minisymposium presenter and poster session judge, spoke about the value of these types of specialized workshops and events. “A sense of community, support, and professionality permeated throughout the entire session,” she said. “The importance of feeling part of a supportive community cannot be overemphasized, particularly because social distancing during the pandemic deprived younger women of in-person networking opportunities. The high quality of the presentations, audience engagement, and energy in the air filled me with hope that the community of women in mathematics is stronger than ever. It was a great way to remind everybody—and first of all, ourselves—how much women in mathematics count!” 

AWM’s presence at SIAM events is critical to increasing its visibility in the applied mathematics and computational science community, and we are grateful to the entire AWM SIAM Committee for planning and facilitating the array of AWM activities at OP23. The committee comprises the following individuals: Selenne Bañuelos (California State University Channel Islands), Katherine Benson (University of Wisconsin–Stout), Lorena Bociu (North Carolina State University), Daniela Ferrero (Texas State University), Mary Ann Horn (Case Western Reserve University), Malgorzata Peszynska (Oregon State University), Noemi Petra (University of California, Merced), and Chrysoula Tsogka (University of California, Merced).

Get Involved 

AWM is a network of mathematicians who support women in the mathematical sciences. Visit our website to learn more and become involved with our many research networks. If you don’t see your research field, consider starting a new network! 

If you attend SIAM conferences and are interested in serving as a graduate student mentor or poster judge, contact AWM SIAM Committee chair Lorena Bociu at [email protected] or [email protected]. If you are interested in developing or driving programming for future meetings, reach out to AWM executive director Darla Kremer at [email protected].

Acknowledgments: The 2023 AWM Workshop at OP23 was made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Division of Mathematical Sciences grant “Mathematical Connectivity through Research and Equity for Women” (NSF-DMS 2113506).

  Noemi Petra is an associate professor of applied mathematics in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced. She earned her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Petra’s research interests include large-scale Bayesian inverse problems governed by differential equations, uncertainty quantification in inference and prediction, and optimal experimental design. 
  Chrysoula Tsogka joined the Department of Applied Mathematics at UC Merced in July 2019, prior to which she was a faculty member at the University of Crete in Greece. She received her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from University Paris IX Dauphine in France. Tsogka’s research explores numerical methods for direct and inverse wave propagation problems and imaging in complex media. She is a member of the American Institute of Mathematics’ Scientific Research Board. 


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