SIAM News Blog

SIAM Honors National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, an occasion to celebrate the dedicated individuals who selflessly offer their time and effort to make 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 all of our volunteers for your hard work and dedication, and know SIAM would be nothing without your help!

In honor of National Volunteer Month, SIAM will be spotlighting volunteers from our community, including Dr. Bubacarr Bah, Dr. Alex Pothen, and Dr. Evelyn Sander. Read more about their volunteer work below.

Bubacarr Bah, Associate Professor and Head of Data Science, The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

First SIAM volunteer role: Founding member of Oxford University SIAM Student Chapter

Dr. Bubacarr Bah received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the University of The Gambia and a master’s in mathematical modelling and scientific computing from the University of Oxford. He earned his Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics from the University of Edinburgh. Previously, he held postdoctoral fellowship positions at University of Texas in Austin and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. Currently, Dr. Bah is an associate professor and Head of Data Science in the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is also the German Research Chair in Mathematics of Data Science at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which is a senior researcher position with an adjunct senior lecturer position within the division of applied mathematics at Stellenbosch University. 

“I joined SIAM as a founding member of the University of Oxford SIAM Student Chapter and then co-founded the University of Edinburgh SIAM Student Chapter. Subsequently, I was the vice president and president of the Edinburgh student chapter. During that time, I represented the chapter at the Business Meeting of the 2010 SIAM Annual Meeting. Since then, I have remained an active SIAM member. In 2015, I received a SIAM Travel Award to attend the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics in Beijing. In 2021, I co-organized the first Gene Golub SIAM Summer School in Africa, which was also the first hybrid format of the school, at AIMS. Currently, I am a member of the SIAM Diversity Advisory Committee.”

Listen to the video below to hear what volunteering means to Dr. Bah and his advice to anyone looking to become SIAM volunteers.

Alex Pothen, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Purdue University

First SIAM volunteer role: Founding Chair of SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms

Dr. Alex Pothen is a professor of computer science at Purdue University and his research interests are in combinatorial scientific computing, graph algorithms, parallel computing, and bioinformatics algorithms. He has been a member of SIAM since 1984, and is a 2018 SIAM Fellow and received the 2021 George Polya Prize in Applied Combinatorics. Dr. Pothen currently serves as a member of the SIAM Committee on Science Policy, the Committee on SIAM Activity Groups, and SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing. He previously served as the founding Chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms.

Listen to the video below to hear Dr. Pothen's perspective on volunteering within SIAM and his advice to anyone looking to become SIAM volunteers.

Evelyn Sander, Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, George Mason University

First SIAM volunteer role: Editor of DSWeb Tutorials Section, SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems

Dr. Evelyn Sander is a professor in the department of mathematical sciences at George Mason University, working in the fields of dynamical systems and mathematical design and visualization. She has graduated five Ph.D. students and regularly mentors undergraduate researchers. Dr. Sander currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems and as a member of the SIAM Council. She previously served as Section Editor of SIAM Review Research Spotlights and the Editor-in-Chief of DSWeb Magazine. 

"I have been volunteering for SIAM for about 20 years, starting as the editor of the DSWeb Tutorials Section, the website for the SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems. Little by little, I have worked my way up to being Editor-in-Chief for a SIAM journal and serving on the SIAM Council. While these activities take quite a bit of my time, I feel that my work directly contributes to the vitality of applied mathematics. It is a great pleasure to be able to see positive changes as the result of these efforts. As an example, when co-organizing the 2019 SIAM Conference on Applied Dynamical Systems, we wanted to assure that new researchers feel welcome, considering the large size of the conference. We added a mentoring session and an icebreaker session, both of which continue to be very popular. 

My advice to those who are interested in volunteering for SIAM, is to attend conferences, participate in minisymposia, and organize or co-organize your own minisymposia. Talk to as many people as you can and tell people who are already involved that you are interested in being involved. Furthermore, be willing to volunteer in any capacity with enthusiasm, even the smaller positions. Over time, you will get the opportunity to contribute to larger roles."

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