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Stories about...Illinois Geometry Lab

Uni High student Katya Sakhartova Uni High Students Experience Math Research During IGL’s Summer Program

June 25, 2020

This year’s IGL-Uni High Summer Program was virtually the same as last year’s…except that, due to COVID-19, it was done virtually—via Zoom instead of at Altgeld Hall. The idea behind the program was to introduce students from University Laboratory High School (Uni High) to math research, with the goal of demonstrating to 21 rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that math research, such as that done at Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL), is quite different from the math K–12 schools do in class. Mentored by Illinois Math graduate students or post docs who are part of IGL, the high schoolers not only discovered what research is like while addressing specific areas of mathematics, but networked with math PhD students, many of whom wanted to pay it forward. Plus, they learned a bit about what being a math graduate student at Illinois is like.

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Winter Math Carnival Adds Up to a Good Time for Local Families

February 12, 2020

Math can be fun! This was the idea behind the Winter Math Carnival held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on February 2nd from 2:00–5:00 pm. It drew around 150 families and 400–500 people overall—parents, grandparents, and a whole lot of kids having a good time. Sponsored by Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL), a key research/outreach program of Illinois’ Mathematics Department, the carnival featured a variety of hands-on, math-related activities and games that encouraged the youngsters to think. Plus, in addition to some goodies, kids had a chance to interact with math students who were eager to share their passion for what they do and how much fun math can be.

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The Illinois Geometry Lab Partners with Uni High to Expose Students to Research

June 28, 2019

For the second summer in a row, the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) in the Department of Mathematics partnered with University Laboratory High School (Uni High) to provide research projects for some of the school’s students. For four weeks from June 3rd through June 28th, 15 high schoolers visited Altgeld Hall to conduct math research, mentored by Illinois Math graduate students. The idea was to expose the younger students to math not traditionally taught in school and also to give them a taste of what math research is like. In addition, the younger students experienced another aspect of academia: they prepared presentations then presented their research at a final symposium on Thursday, June 27th.

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During Sonia Math Day, a participant writes down data as they participate in the Local Girls Make Strides In Mathematics During AWM’s Sonia Math Day

December 3, 2018

On Saturday, November 10, 2018, during Sonia Math Day, a number of math grad students from the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) put into practice the “Say what you know” idea, taken from the life philosophy of Sonya Kovalevsky. The annual event celebrates the life of Kovalesvsky, the greatest female mathematician prior to the twentieth century, and her impact—that women can succeed in and contribute to the field of mathematics. Benefitting from the AWM women’s wisdom (and that of some male students who support women in math), were five local girls who did some unique, math-related activities probably quite different from what they normally are exposed to in school. Plus, they not only met other local girls also interested in math, but networked with some role models during the event, women who are currently on a trajectory to careers in math.

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An IGL student (standing) looks upon as Central High students work on creating their knot.IGL Links Central High Students to the More Knotty Aspects of Mathematics

November 12, 2018

Everyone is familiar with knots. There are simple knots, such as those we master when we’re five-year-olds learning to tie our shoelaces. Then there are some not-quite-as-simple knots, such as those sailors use when tying rope. But on Thursday, November 1st, a team of Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) students visited Central High School’s AMSO club (Appplied Math and Science Outreach) to introduce the students to knot theory, with its even more complex mathematical knots and links, including Brunnian links. This unique learning opportunity was made possible thanks to the founder and President of the club, Anna Kinderman, who began the club in order to challenge her classmates in STEM, and who reached out to the IGL folks and organized the event.

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Jeremy TysonNew Math Department Chair Faces Challenges: Fostering Community, Math Pipeline Retention, and Making Space

October 10, 2018

In his 17th year at Illinois, first as a Professor, then as Interim Chair, and now the new Chair of Illinois’ Mathematics Department since August of 2018, Jeremy Tyson is pretty familiar with both his department’s achievements as well as the challenges it faces. As with most newly installed Heads, he has big plans for down the road. But before addressing areas that could use improvement, he first takes stock of the department’s strengths. For instance, he’s proud of the faculty’s work to date, and lauds their instructional expertise. “I am really impressed with all of my colleagues and the efforts that they put into their teaching and into their mentoring of students,” he shares. “There's a lot of good things going on in this department already.”

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Melinda LaniusLots of Local Kids (and Parents) Have Fun with Math at Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner

February 3, 2017

Hundreds of local adults and children converged on Altgeld Hall on Saturday, January 28th for Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner. As they participated in the numerous puzzles, games, riddles, magic tricks, and other hands-on activities, they discovered that math is more than just figures and formulas.According to Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, organized this year’s event, “Math is play!” So numerous volunteers from Illinois’ Department of Mathematics, Illinois Geometry Lab, and Association for Women in Mathematics spent the afternoon showing members of the community that play can indeed be math—and that it’s fun.

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Melinda LaniusMath Carnival: Gathering for Gardner to Show Kids—Math Is Play…and Fun!

January 20, 2017

“It’s flipping the switch. Every time we have this event, kids are like, ‘Wait, this counts as math?’ Because they’re having fun! – Melinda Lanius

The math folks in charge of the 2017 edition of the Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner have one goal in mind: trying to get kids to realize that math is more than just some dry formulas memorized in school, but it’s a creative, problem-solving process that’s fun. So from 2:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, January 28th, volunteers from the Department of Mathematics, IGL (Illinois Geometry Lab), and Association for Women in Mathematics will be on hand at Altgeld Hall to get the community, especially local kindergarten through middle school youngsters, engaged and playing with math. “That’s the spirit behind this—Math is play!” says Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, is organizing this year’s event..

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Illinois Math Women Seek to Keep Kids, Especially Girls, in the STEM Pipeline

June 3, 2016

Like most women in STEM, math Ph.D. students Michelle Delcourt, Melinda Lanius, and Claire Merriman, are articulate, born leaders, passionate about math, and committed to outreach. Also like most STEM women, they want to make a difference…specifically to recruit more young people, especially girls, into their field—mathematics. So all three are actively involved in the Illinois chapter of Association of Women in Math (AWM) and in math outreach, like that of the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) and several outreach events sponsored by AWM: Sonia Math Day, the Summer Illinois Math Camp, and GEMS.

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Left to right: Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, and Ph.D. students Maria Chavarriago, Brenda Andrade, and Ariana Bravo, all members of the SACNAS organization.Lt. Governor Campus Visit Aimed at Increasing Diversity in the STEM Pipeline

September 18, 2015

When Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti visited I-STEM on Wednesday, September 16th, she met with a number of like-minded Illinois folk regarding increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM. During the dialogue, administrators, educators, project directors, and students alike shared their passion for STEM education and outreach, conveying this message to the Lt. Governor: the STEM pipeline at Illinois is alive and well.
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Allison Rogala helps a student during a hands-on activity at Tap-In.Illinois Geometry Lab: Changing the Shape of Math Research...and Outreach

April 10, 2013

Armed with handfuls of brightly colored geometric shapes, three ambassadors from the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) have been dropping by Centennial High School's Tap-In after-school program on Thursdays to share their love of mathematics—specifically geometry—with the students.
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Ishan MurphyAnnual Gathering for Gardner Event Celebrates Recreational Mathematics

October 30, 2012

If Captain Jack Sparrow has 100 gold doubloons, how can he distribute them amongst his ship's crew so that he keeps the largest share and still keeps the crew happy enough to avoid walking the plank himself?
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