SIAM Student Chapter Leaders Graduate and Pass the Reins

by David Keyes and Maja Vuksic

Columbia’s student chapter of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) is one of the few such chapters worldwide run by undergraduates. SIAM is an international organization of over 10,000 members, including mathematicians, computer scientists, and scientists and engineers whose interests and responsibilities lay primarily in mathematical modeling and the analytical and computational techniques that support modeling. They reside in academia, industry, and government laboratories. Columbia’s student chapter owes its undergraduate focus to its founding President, Pearl Flath, then a Rabi scholar, and now a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas-Austin in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Science. Flath founded the Columbia chapter in Fall 2004. (Upon joining Texas and finding it without a SIAM student chapter, she founded another one there!)

The graduating executive board members are all APAM seniors: Tian Xie, James Gambino, Pranita Suvarna, Kristie Sarkar, Paul Tsuji and Nicholas Kavoussi. As they launch promising careers, with initial venues ranging from Manhattan financial firms to doctoral studies at Princeton, new officers take the reins: Jivan Kurinec, Michael Lo, and Maja Vuksic. Maja will represent Columbia at the Annual Meeting of the Society in San Diego in July, to brainstorm with other chapter leaders about how the chapter can best serve both its members and the student body at Columbia. CU-SIAM currently serves by organizing student-led tutoring and lectures from external speakers designed to provide insight on careers not otherwise modeled on the campus, e.g., in mathematical consulting or industry. This year, for instance, CU-SIAM hosted a talk by Dr. William Browning, the founder and CEO of Applied Mathematics, Inc. This talk was very well attended and stimulated a few of the students to consider careers in naval science. On the tutoring side, our MATLAB help room is designed to supplement for various undergraduate classes, as many students expressed a desire for extra instruction in this interactive mathematical language and graphic toolkit.

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