Beyond the chalkboard: Topology through outreach

Organized by Sarah Blackwell, Tye Lidman, and Hannah Schwartz.

Participant list here; Youtube Playlist here.

Live Events

This is the calendar of live events for the Beyond the chalkboard: topology through outreach topic group, as well as the plenary talks. All events are posted in Eastern Time.


Orsola Capovilla-Searle: Reflections on participating in outreach and service as a graduate student in mathematics

Abstract: I will talk about some of the outreach programs I've participated in, some of graduate student conferences I have helped organize. I hope to invite more graduate students to participate in outreach and service and to bring up questions that may be of use. I will also briefly talk about how I have started incorporating math into painting, which is one of my hobbies.

Nick Castro: (My Experience in) Outreach as an Academic

I discuss some of my previous outreach and mentoring experiences throughout my academic career, from research summer camps with high school students to teaching basic arithmetic and algebra to people experiencing homelessness.There is nothing inherently related to topology in these experiences other than the fact that I am a topologist. Hopefully some of my experiences sheds some light on what kind of outreach/mentoring programs would be of interest to you.

Sherry Gong: My experiences in STEM outreach

Abstract: Just me talking about some girls' math programs, Puerto Rican math competitions, and BEAM, a program for middle schoolers from underserved communities with an interest in mathematics.

Siddhi Krishna: Teaching at BEAM

BEAM is a 3-week residential summer program for rising 8th graders; all students attend under-resourced schools in low-income communities in NYC and LA. BEAM students are tremendously mathematically talented and curious, though potentially missing some foundational skills typically learned in middle school. 

As a three time faculty member, I have designed two "low floor, high ceiling" courses (each 18 hours) for middle schoolers -- one in "Cryptography", the other in "Knot Theory"; neither course is lecture based. In Part 1 of this talk, I'll say a bit about the BEAM program and the design of my cryptography course; in Part 2, I'll describe the knot theory course. My goal with these talks is to showcase the curriculum design and philosophy, provide examples of the typical classroom activities, and demonstrate student understanding with sample student work. Hopefully, you'll be able to take away some techniques/exercises/activities that you can implement in your own classroom! 

Justin Lanier: The End of Outreach

This is a talk in two parts. The first part is “Personal, Past, and Present”. I will share some of my own experiences in mathematical outreach. These have come both as an outreach-ee and as an outreach-er. These experiences have shaped my understanding of what math outreach is and what it can be. Some of these experiences have come in the past few years, as my focus has turned to outreach and community building within the math research enterprise, including through the SUBgroups program for first-year math grad students and the paraDIGMS initiative to build a community of practice for math grad program leaders.

The second part is “Future and Open Problems”. I will discuss some ways I hope to build upon my past work in math outreach, and I’ll also describe some big-but-tractable math outreach problems that we can all aim to work on together. (Saying these out loud in public is an important first step!) Throughout, I will ask us to take seriously what the end of math outreach is: what are the goals of outreach? What would we like the math research profession and its relationship with the wider public to look like in 20 or 50 years? And can we conceive of a future where math “outreach”, as a special category of activities, will no longer be needed?

Parts of the work I will speak about are joint with Marissa Loving, Matthew Ando, and Bianca Viray.

Ziva Meyer: The Multi-Punctured Cylinder

Abstract: Using a topological euphemism for the so-called "Leaky Career Pipeline," this talk examines various stages where women might leave mathematics and advertises a few programs that aim to make mathematics a more inclusive community.

Raffaella Mulas: Why and how shall we popularize mathematics?

Abstract: Why and how shall we popularize mathematics? - Raffaella Mulas asks these questions and talks about her own experience.

Steve Trettel: Giving Talks (I) and Making Animations (II)

Abstract: Two independent talks.  The first gives some personal opinions on how to start planning talks for a general audience, from grade school through non-mathematician adults.  I focus a bit on the younger age groups by giving two examples of talks on topological invariants I've given.  The second is an interactive first lesson in using javascript to produce quality animations for talks or classes.  It is designed for complete beginners, and comes with download-able example code and instructions for editing it to get you started.