SIAM News Blog

Virginia Commonwealth University SIAM Student Chapter Celebrates Successful Year of Activities

By Henry A. Ogu

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) SIAM Student Chapter maintains a strong and well-known presence within VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences. In fact, a respectable number of professors in the College are SIAM members who provide a wonderful source of information and inspiration for students. 

Both undergraduate and graduate students are involved with the VCU SIAM Student Chapter, with leadership from elected officers and a faculty advisor. Our chapter experienced a successful 2021/2022 academic year, which began with the election of a new president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer in September 2021.

Officers of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) SIAM Student Chapter visited Pinchbeck Elementary School in Henrico, Va., in March 2022 as part of the chapter’s annual volunteer program. Photo courtesy of the VCU SIAM Student Chapter.
In March 2022, the chapter embarked on an outreach visit to Pinchbeck Elementary School in Henrico, Va., as part of our annual volunteer program. During this visit, we taught the class how to make Möbius strips with paper, delivered informal motivational talks about mathematics, provided small gifts for the students, and conversed with students and teachers. These activities encouraged the students to engage in critical thinking, appreciate their education, and develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) — potentially helping them to imagine a career in applied mathematics or another STEM field. We hope to return to Pinchbeck for a follow-up visit and further volunteering sessions.

Our members also partake in a variety of intellectual development activities. They enrich their academic lives and research by organizing various mathematical and scientific-minded events, including screenings of educational films, mind-sharpening games, and discussions about different research activities or areas. VCU’s Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research host weekly seminars on biomathematics, analysis and linear algebra, and discrete mathematics/combinatorics. This platform affords students and faculty the opportunity to showcase their research and learn from each other. Members of the VCU SIAM Student Chapter took full advantage of these seminars last year by both listening to faculty talks and giving presentations to develop their own career goals.

Several Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) SIAM Student Chapter members pose at the 2022 Biology and Medicine Through Mathematics Conference, which took place at VCU in May 2022. Photo courtesy of the VCU SIAM Student Chapter.
In addition, students routinely attend national and international conferences in the mathematical sciences, including meetings by SIAM and the American Mathematical Society. Their participation in these events often includes going to student sessions, delivering poster presentations, and networking at career fairs. During the 2021/2022 school year, student chapter members also presented posters at the Biology and Medicine Through Mathematics Conference, which commenced at VCU in May. Additionally, I personally presented a paper on “Long-term Dynamics of the Kidney Disease Epidemic Among HIV-infected Individuals” [1] at the 47th Annual New York State Regional Graduate Mathematics Conference at Syracuse University in April. Several of our members even went to the 2022 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN22), which took place in Pittsburgh, Pa., this July. I received compensation from SIAM to attend AN22 as the VCU SIAM Student Chapter representative; in fact, every student chapter is eligible for funding to send a representative to the SIAM Annual Meeting. While there, I participated in the Student Chapter Breakfast with SIAM staff, leadership, and other chapter representatives to brainstorm ideas for future chapter engagement.

Our last formal activity of the 2021/2022 academic year was a picnic at Monroe Park on VCU’s campus. The student chapter officers organized this event, which featured food, drinks, games, interesting conversation, and the sharing of ideas and life experiences.

In conclusion, the VCU SIAM Student Chapter is doing quite well. The officers keep the chapter active by hosting enriching student-oriented programs and encouraging members to participate in SIAM conferences. Special thanks are owed to student members and our faculty advisor, who makes our chapter’s success possible.

[1] Gudaz, H., Ogu, H.A., & Schwartz, E.J. (2020). Long-term dynamics of the kidney disease epidemic among HIV-infected individuals. Spora: J. Biomath., 6(1), 52-60.

Henry A. Ogu is treasurer of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) SIAM Student Chapter. He is an applied mathematics Ph.D. student at VCU with a special focus on dynamical systems, biomathematics, and mathematical modeling with ordinary differential equations and partial differential equations. 
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