NU students and faculty at the Mathematical Association of America’s Seaway Section Meeting Nov. 1-2, 2019, from left: Megan Westbrook, Olivia Keller, Sheila Sullivan, Sara Vogel, Zachary Harris, Parfait Bizimana, Aaron Atwater, Dr. Joel Louwsma, and Dr. Michael Barg.

Seven students and two faculty members from Niagara University attended the Mathematical Association of America’s Seaway Section Meeting Nov. 1-2, 2019, at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.

Dr. Michael Barg, associate professor of mathematics, Dr. Joel Louwsma, assistant professor of mathematics, and students Aaron Atwater, Parfait Bizimana, Zachary Harris, Olivia Keller, Sheila Sullivan, Sara Vogel, and Megan Westbrook attended plenary lectures, a banquet, and a game night featuring a trivia contest and mathematical Pictionary with faculty and students from upstate New York and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The trip was funded through the Academic Innovation Fund.

The NU students did well at the games. The Pictionary contest ended in a tie between two teams, both of which included an NU student as a member (Olivia Keller and Megan Westbrook). In addition, Zachary Harris won a photo contest that was held during the conference and received a T-shirt featuring the new logo for the Seaway Section.

“Attending the MAA Seaway Section Meeting is a great way to meet faculty and students from other institutions and to connect with the larger mathematical community,” said Dr. Louwsma. “Attending conferences as a student opened my eyes to how much was happening in the mathematical community beyond my institution, and as a faculty member, I love taking students to these meetings. At Niagara University, we're fortunate to have great support that enables us to do these things.”

The students, who were math majors, education majors, or simply interested in the conference program, enjoyed all aspects of the meeting.

“As an education major, I appreciated the focus on teaching math rather than pure content,” said Westbrook.

Sullivan agreed. "I liked that it was a mixture of content-related student research and educational practices," she said.

Harris said he “liked seeing different applications of things I learned in math courses at NU,” while Keller said “It was fun to interact with other aspiring math students during the game show."

“The Seaway Section leadership has done a great job putting together programs that appeal to a variety of students,” said Dr. Louwsma. “There are sessions both about mathematics research and about the teaching of mathematics, and fun events mixed in to help keep the meeting interesting for everyone. The interactions that take place between those more interested in mathematics research and those more interested in mathematics education, and between faculty and students, are wonderful. Connections made at this meeting have the potential to pay dividends far into the future, as students move on to graduate programs or careers.”