SIAM News Blog

Thank You for Staying Engaged in 2020

By Becky M. Kerner

Figure 1. SIAM-branded Zoom backgrounds are available for download and use by all members.
As for most people, 2020 has been a whirlwind for SIAM staff. From virtual committee meetings and staff retirement celebrations to the first-ever SIAM-branded Zoom backgrounds (see Figure 1), SIAM faced many changes in all of its departments this year, including Conferences, Development, Membership, and Publications. The Marketing team has worked to assist each department as we collectively tackled unique questions, while also thinking critically and creatively about how SIAM—as your professional society—can best respond to and support our community during these unforeseen circumstances. Here are some of the ways in which we have addressed new challenges and opportunities and kept up community engagement throughout this unusual year.

Online Community

This February, we are launching our new online member community: SIAM Engage! At its outset, the site will have individual community pages for SIAM committees and activity groups, as well as a member directory and lots of lively dialogue. Over time, SIAM Engage will likely grow to include discussion pages for more subgroups of our community, such as geographic sections, industry members, and student chapters. The purpose of this platform is to give our members an online space for easy collaboration and communication. Log into Engage and get active!

Video Engagement 

In 2020, the videos on our YouTube channel were viewed upwards of 190,000 times, amounting to an impressive 6,100+ hours of watch time to date — a more than 35 percent increase from 2019. We are also currently working on an informational video about the mathematical elements of vaccine development, which will depict the lifesaving impact of our community’s work. This forthcoming video will be publicly available in the near future. Subscribe to SIAM’s YouTube channel to stay up to date with the latest content.

Public Relations

One of our goals at SIAM is to promote coverage of applied mathematics and computational science in mainstream media. Last year, we capitalized on our community’s participation in the COVID-19 conversation and active research contributions on everything from testing to symptom monitoring, vaccines, supply chain management, and more. We distributed many press releases this year that landed coverage twice in Forbes one article considered mathematical and statistical methods when addressing how to reopen the U.S., and the other highlighted an infectious disease model to forecast the U.S. election. Our community’s work was also featured in California Business Journal, NPR, and Radio Health Journal, among other outlets. In fact, SIAM and the names of our members have been cited in well over 160 U.S.-based news articles in 2020, a more than 45 percent increase from the previous year.

Social Media

Do you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube? We now have a combined 56,000 followers on these channels, all of whom are remaining up to date with SIAM happenings and general math in the news. We are also thrilled to see that our monthly Unwrapped e-newsletter was opened more than 100,000 times in 2020 — a 33 percent increase from the year prior. Thank you for staying engaged within our community!

SIAM Websites

Based on feedback from volunteers and members—much of which was derived from last year’s website survey—we are in the midst of a significant upgrade to, the goal of which is to simplify and professionalize the website and better integrate the entire suite of SIAM sites for ease of use. We will go live with these updates in 2021, so keep an eye out. As a teaser, you’ll see updates to the Epubs website and SIAM News as part of this overarching project.

The ongoing pandemic has brought many things to light, not least of which is mathematics’ vital role in solving some of the biggest challenges that the world is facing. Our members were more involved than ever in 2020, and applied mathematics and computational science have been at the forefront of some of the most crucial conversations around the globe. Thank you to the SIAM community for the important work you continue to do—especially under difficult circumstances this year—which allows us to communicate the value and critical applications of mathematics to a broader audience. Cheers to a healthy and productive year ahead!

Becky M. Kerner is the Director of Marketing and Communications at SIAM. 
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