Gaining a network of peers to advance their careers in mathematics, four William Smith students recently attended the 18th annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Casey Coffey ’17, Jacque Kane ’18, Tess Lohr ’18 and Haley Okun ’18 attended the conference, which was open to outstanding undergraduate women mathematicians. Erika King, associate professor of mathematics chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, helped the students prepare for the conference and obtain funds from the William Smith Deans Office, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Metzger Family Foundation Funds, and the NCUWM.
“The Nebraska Conference gives undergraduate women the opportunity to connect with other women of similar interests, to talk to current graduate students and to faculty at graduate institutions,” says King. “Although our classrooms at HWS tend to be well balanced between men and women, it is still inspirational for our William Smith students to experience being in a room full of women excited about mathematics.”
At the conference, the students attended multiple research presentations given by undergraduate and graduate students from across the country.
“While there I gained important and beneficial information regarding opportunities for women in mathematics both during and after my undergraduate education,” says Lohr, who recently landed a summer analyst internship with Credit Suisse. “My favorite part of the conference was coming together with hundreds of other students and faculty who share the same passion for mathematics as myself.”
The conference focused on encouraging and mentoring undergraduate women to pursue graduate study in mathematics and seek mathematical careers. For Coffey, who calls the conference “one of the most valuable experiences” of her undergraduate education, attending left her with a better sense of her career goals.
“The conference exposed me to so many professionals from different fields who were eager and willing to explain their careers and give advice,” Coffey says. “It was inspiring to hear from so many women, both students and professionals, and to see all of their accomplishments and the things they were able to achieve using math.”