SIAM News Blog

SIAM Establishes the Math Modeling Teacher Support Fund

After nearly 35 years at SIAM, Michelle Montgomery, longtime MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge) Program Director, will retire later this year. Michelle started M3 Challenge 18 years ago in her role as SIAM Director of Marketing & Communications, which she held for 30+ years - until 2019, when she transitioned her focus solely to M3 Challenge. During Michelle's years at SIAM, she has been instrumental not only on marketing and communications but also on the growth of SIAM's education, outreach, and programmatic initiatives. If you share our feelings of deep gratitude for Michelle, we ask for your help in honoring her contributions to the applied math and computational science community.

Michelle’s involvement with M3 Challenge goes back to the very beginning, the summer of 2005. In fact, the Challenge’s origin story is truly remarkable. A corporate citizenship consultant on behalf of a foundation reached out to SIAM seeking to develop a program that would encourage high school students to study STEM disciplines, particularly applied mathematics. A colleague mentioned receiving the call to Michelle, saying she had told them that SIAM doesn’t have anything that fits the bill. When Michelle asked further questions, the colleague suggested she call the consultant back, and gave Michelle the crumpled phone message. Michelle called the number, and almost immediately began working on a proposal for the first M3 Challenge. The rest is history.

For more than 18 years, Michelle nurtured and grew the Challenge into a premier competition with a top-notch reputation. M3 Challenge wouldn’t exist without Michelle’s vision and commitment to providing high school students with opportunities to gain firsthand experience in math modeling. Her efforts have helped shape the next generation of applied mathematicians and computational scientists and emphasized the importance of acknowledging high school teachers as the professionals they are. 

In honor of Michelle’s retirement, SIAM has established the Math Modeling Teacher Support Fund. The fund will support teachers who want to bring math modeling to their students but may not have the resources to do so without philanthropic support. 

Help us celebrate Michelle and her many years of hard work and dedication by making a gift in her honor to the Math Modeling Teacher Support Fund.

Thank you for your consideration and for your help in continuing Michelle’s legacy at SIAM. We look forward to continuing M3 Challenge for many years to come under the direction of Karen Bliss, Senior Manager of Education and Outreach, who has worked with Michelle as an M3 Challenge problem developer and judge for more than 10 years. 

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