Josiah Shaffer, Dean Walck, and Patrick Balcacer attended the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Siena College in April.

Three Niagara University students attended the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference April 30, 2022, at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. They were accompanied by Dr. Joel Louwsma, associate professor of math. Two of the students and Dr. Louwsma also presented original research at the conference, which has been held annually since 1994 and is attended by students and faculty from institutions across New York state and New England.

The students, Patrick Balcacer, Josiah Shaffer, and Dean Walck, attended presentations and learned about career options for math majors at the conference, which is the oldest math conference designed specifically for undergraduates. Frank Morgan, Atwell Professor of Mathematics, emeritus, at Williams College, gave the plenary lecture. In addition, Shaffer gave a presentation on "Statistical Arguments," and Walck presented his work on "Lagrangians, Functionals, and How to Build a Model." Dr. Louwsma discussed “Divisibility Properties of Minors of Matrices."

The conference was “an incredible opportunity,” said Walck, who appreciated “the variety of passions demonstrated by peers across the region." Balcacer enjoyed “the chance to learn new aspects about math and meet new people who are interested in the same field as me," while Shaffer said he “learned many different new topics and concepts. I got advice from people in my job field along with learning from my peers from other schools, as well."

“The Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference is a great opportunity for students to present their work and interact with peers from other institutions,” Dr. Louwsma said. “Everything is at the right level for undergraduates, as the conference is specifically designed for them and most of the presentations are given by students. This was the first time the math department has taken students to a conference since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was wonderful to again have an in-person opportunity to connect students with their peers and the mathematical community beyond Niagara University.”

The trip was supported by Niagara University's Academic Innovation Fund.