SIAM News Blog

SIAM Celebrates National Volunteer Month

April is Global Volunteer Month, an occasion to celebrate the dedicated individuals who offer their time in exchange for nothing more than making SIAM (and the world) a better place. We would like to recognize and thank our many volunteers, whether you are a review editor for a SIAM journal, organizing conferences, advising student chapters, managing committees, writing for SIAM News, sitting on the SIAM Board of Trustees, or something else. We thank you all for your hard work and dedication and know SIAM would be nothing without your help.

We reached out to a few SIAM volunteers to share when and why they got involved with SIAM, and how they feel the organization has grown during their involvement.


Raymond Chan, Chair Professor, Department of Mathematics, City University of Hong Kong

First SIAM volunteer role: Associate Editor, SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing

SIAM is an integral part of my research career. Through its journals, conferences, and committees, I've been able to meet many researchers and become known to many who might otherwise not have known my work. Many of them are now my collaborators or even my close friends. I therefore would like to contribute to SIAM whenever I can. Since SIAM is a big organization that needs many volunteers to help it function effectively to serve its members, I’ve had opportunities to serve on many leadership committees, conference organizing committees, and as an editor of SIAM journals. These are rewarding and fulfilling experiences that allowed me to witness first-hand SIAM's growth through these years.


Wesley Hamilton, Wylie Assistant Professor, University of Utah

First SIAM volunteer role: Student Chapter Founder/Secretary/Treasurer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

I’ve been a member of SIAM since 2017, when I helped found a SIAM Student Chapter at my graduate school. My first time volunteering for SIAM was in 2018 at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. I was then invited to join the SIAM Education Committee starting January 2019, and it’s a role I’ve continued to take part in since. I have organized several other initiatives that required volunteers since then, including math modeling workshops for high school students, a SIAM booth, and short talks at the 2021 National Math Festival.

For me volunteering is about sharing the joy of math with younger folk, especially applied math and the unexpected ways math can be used to answer real world questions. Moreover, it’s always exciting to find a colleague who is as passionate about outreach as I am and coordinating volunteer opportunities has introduced me to wonderful colleagues I would not otherwise have met.


Joseph Hart, Technical Staff Member, Department of Scientific Machine Learning, Sandia National Laboratories

First SIAM volunteer role: Student Chapter President, North Carolina State University (NCSU)

I volunteered to be a SIAM Student Chapter president having little knowledge about the society but expecting that it may be a good resume line. Little did I realize that serving the local student chapter at NCSU was the first of many great opportunities SIAM provided me. Throughout graduate school, I volunteered in various capacities including serving on the SIAM Education Committee, helping coordinate the SIAM booth at the USA Science and Engineering festival, and participating in professional development events at SIAM conferences. The networking, learning, and growth opportunities I had through volunteering with SIAM played a pivotal role in my progression through graduate school and into my early career. I continue to serve in whatever capacities I can, because I see the benefits of my service to the SIAM community as well as the benefits I have gained from the experiences. I view SIAM volunteer opportunities as a critical part of participating in the applied math community.


Bruce Hendrickson, Associate Director for Computing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

First SIAM volunteer role: Associate Editor, SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing

I have served in numerous volunteer roles for SIAM over the past three decades and consistently found my efforts to be rewarding and enjoyable. There are numerous ways to support SIAM and its community through volunteering. These include helping to run conferences, edit journals, and serve on a variety of committees focused on a broad range of topics. For me, the most important reason to engage in this service is to advance and shape the applied mathematics and computational science communities that I am committed to. But there are lots of personal benefits too. These activities are great ways to meet people and broaden your professional and personal network. Professional service is a core element of the academic value system and can help you advance your stature and career. And in serving SIAM, you will develop new perspectives, leadership attributes, and communication skills that can accelerate your career in domains well beyond SIAM.


Gerardo Hernandez-Duenas, Assistant Professor, Instituto de Matemáticas UNAM

First SIAM volunteer role: President and Founder, Mexico Section of SIAM

I have been a member of SIAM for several years. I have seen all the benefits that students and professors obtain in their academic development when they become members of this unique society. As a student, I found the annual meetings very helpful when networking and showing our work to other students and colleagues. When I moved to Mexico as a professor, I noticed that no SIAM sections or chapters were active in the country. I saw a big opportunity to contribute both to SIAM and to the mathematical community in Mexico through the activation of a section and/or chapter. The Mexico Section of SIAM started activities in 2018. It was an honor to lead the section until 2021, organizing successful annual meetings, parallel sessions, student competitions, video conferences, and summer schools among other events. In 2021 I was also very happy to help, together with Professor Raul Esquivel, with the creation of the first SIAM Student Chapter at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). By joining the chapter, students can find a prestigious society to be part of. Contributing to SIAM has been a rewarding experience and I plan to stay very active at SIAM for years to come.


Tulin Kaman, Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas

First SIAM volunteer role: Student Chapter Founder and Faculty Advisor, University of Arkansas

I joined SIAM when I was a Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University. After joining the faculty at the University of Arkansas, I established a SIAM Student Chapter with my students and have been serving as the faculty advisor since 2018. Later, I accepted an invitation to serve on the SIAM Membership Committee. During my Ph.D. and postdoc, I benefited from SIAM through conferences, networking, travel awards, etc. I always want to share these opportunities with other students who could benefit from SIAM and get the support they need for their future career. That is why I became actively involved in establishing new student chapters, not only at the University of Arkansas, but also at institutions in Switzerland, Turkey, and Japan. 


Tammy Kolda, Independent Consultant,

First volunteer role: Secretary, SIAM Activity Group on Linear Algebra

I've been passionate about SIAM since I was a student, inspired by role models such as Margaret Wright— who was elected the first female President of SIAM— when I was a graduate student. I have benefited in so many ways from my membership and service to SIAM, most especially by the amazing collegiality of other SIAM members also serving the society. As I have become more involved, it has been a true privilege to work with the excellent and dedicated SIAM staff in journals, conferences, membership, information technology, and more. Volunteering at SIAM has enabled me to do my small part to help promote the field of applied mathematics and encourage the next generation of amazing applied mathematicians. It has benefited me in countless ways, especially in developing my leadership skills.


Rachel Levy, Executive Director, Data Science Academy, North Carolina State University

First SIAM volunteer role: Founding Student Chapter President, North Carolina State University 

My first SIAM conference was an anniversary conference in Philly. I was a graduate student, and my advisor was eager for me to meet people in the SIAM community. I remember the strong sense of camaraderie and that people laughed together. I also remember the collaborative spirit in research discussions. It was inspiring to witness senior researchers seeking advice from each other. SIAM quickly became my primary professional society. Later, I served on the SIAM Education Committee and as its chair, as SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO) editor, and as Vice President for Education. My admiration for SIAM as an organization grew as I came to better understand all the work SIAM staff does behind the scenes. I encourage everyone to get involved as a volunteer to strengthen our community connections and our collective ability to advance industrial and applied math.


Elizabeth Williams, 3rd year Ph.D. student, Cardiff University

First SIAM volunteer role: Student Chapter President (current), Cardiff University

As soon as I started my Ph.D. at Cardiff University, I became fully immersed in the events that the SIAM-IMA Student Chapter held here at Cardiff. I feel very fortunate to now be President of the Cardiff University Student Chapter and provide opportunities for Ph.D. students in both an academic and social capacity. This amalgamation means not only do we have a strong network of students that provide support for each other, we have a community of different mathematics and computer science disciplines coming together. We hold many events for both postgraduate and undergraduate students throughout the year, providing the opportunity for students to share a glimpse into their work. I feel very fortunate to have the SIAM Student Chapter here at Cardiff, as it has brought mathematics Ph.D. students from different specialties together and really has created a community within the department. Personally, it has made my time at Cardiff thoroughly enjoyable.

From SIAM, thank you again to all of our amazing volunteers! Learn more about volunteering and getting involved.

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