Modern Math Workshop @SACNAS Conference Oct. 28-29, Grad & Undergrad Students, Plenary lecture by @UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski

Students are invited to attend the Modern Math Workshop at the upcoming SACNAS Conference at the Gaylord Hotel National Harbor at the end of October. Funding has been allocated for those who are accepted to attend this workshop.

Description from

As part of the Mathematical Sciences Collaborative Diversity Initiatives, nine mathematics institutes are pleased to host their annual SACNAS pre-conference event, the 2015 Modern Math Workshop (MMW). The Modern Math Workshop is intended to encourage minority undergraduates to pursue careers in the mathematical sciences and to assist undergraduates, graduate students and recent PhD’s in building their research networks.

The Modern Math Workshop is part of the SACNAS National Conference and the MMW begins with registration at noon on Wednesday, October 28 and ends at noon on Thursday, October 29.

The Modern Math Workshop presents 2 mini-courses for undergraduates and talks related to the research programs at the math institutes that would be of interest to graduate students and early career researchers. The workshop culminates on Thursday, Oct. 29 with a plenary lecture by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

Plenary Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 29:

“Rethinking the Culture of STEM Education in America: Promoting Student Success and Minority Achievement”

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, UMBC

11 AM, National Harbor 2 – Level 3, Gaylord Hotel



Step 1: Email: , and CC with the subject line: “Modern Math Workshop via PROMISE website.” Give your name, school, department, contact email address and phone, undergraduate or graduate status. If you are an undergraduate student, discuss which course you would like to attend, and whether or not you intend to attend Thursday’s segment and President Hrabowski’s talk.

Step 2: See the comment section at the bottom of this page, and post a) name, b) school, c) department. We will cross-check with the PROMISE email for other details.

You will receive additional instructions from the MMW team. They have a limited amount of funding, but will fund as many undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and early-career faculty as possible.



Mini-courses for Undergrads:

1) Harshad Numbers and Sage Programming 

A Harshad number is a positive integer that is divisible by the sum of its digits. The word “Harshad” comes from the Sanskrit harsa (joy) + da (give), meaning joy-giver, which was defined by the Indian mathematician D.R. Kaprekar. All one digit numbers are Harshad numbers and it is fairly simple to determine which two digit numbers are Harshad. In 1994, H. Grundman generalized the concept to b-Harshad (or b-Niven) numbers. Simply put, for b > 1, a b-Harshad number is a positive integer that is divisible by the sum of the digits of its base b expansion. The mini-course will provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to learn about Harshad numbers and how to compute some of their properties using the freely available mathematical program Sage. No prior programing experience is required. Prerequisite: An undergraduate algebra or number theory course. 

2) An Introduction to the Theory of Sandpiles

The sandpile model developed by Bak, Tang, and Wiesenfeld in 1987 is a mathematical model first used to exemplify the concept of self-organized criticality (SOC). SOC is a property of certain dynamical systems that naturally evolve toward critical states and it is considered to be one of the mechanisms by which complexity arises in nature. The abelian sandpile model 8.5.15 introduced by Dhar in 1990 is a special class of sandpile model defined on a combinatorial graph whose dynamic structure is encoded in a finite abelian group known as the sandpile group. This algebraic structure has played a central role in the study of diverse properties of the abelian sandpile model. Moreover, the sandpile group has also been an important object of study in several distinct areas of mathematics, including algebraic combinatorics, algebraic, tropical and arithmetic geometry, the theory of computation, and the study of pattern formation. In this mini-course, we will give an introduction to the theory of sandpiles. In particular, we will study the interactions between the combinatorics of the graph, the algebraic information of the sandpile group and the dynamics of the abelian sandpile model. Prerequisite: One undergraduate course in linear algebra.


If you plan to attend activities after President Hrabowski’s talk, at the SACNAS Conference – which begins on Thurs., Oct. 29 – you will need to register for the SACNAS Conference and pay the SACNAS registration fee, which is $275 for one day and goes up to $440 (see Note: Acceptance to the Modern Math Workshop provides funding for you to attend the workshop on Wednesday and Thursday. If you want to attend other activities at SACNAS, you will have to register for SACNAS directly and secure another source of funding. The MMW pays accepted applicants’ registration for the Wednesday and Thursday Modern Math Institute only. 

Update: 10/14/15, sent from MSRI:

To recap, the Modern Math Workshop (MMW) will be held on Oct. 28-29 (Wed.-Thursday) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in the Washington, DC area.  For a map and Gaylord National parking details, go to

When you arrive on Wednesday, please register in-person between 12-1 pm on Wed., Oct. 28 at the Registration Table in front of National Harbor Rm. 3 (on level 3, see the attached layout) and sign-in to confirm your presence and pick-up your nametag (you will have one waiting for you if you register online).  Wearing your nametag will act as your “ticket” for access to the MMW activities on both days of the Workshop.

For more information about the Workshop, see  To see the activities at the SACNAS National Conference, go to

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) –, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull;

13 thoughts on “Modern Math Workshop @SACNAS Conference Oct. 28-29, Grad & Undergrad Students, Plenary lecture by @UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski

  1. Dear Participants,

    If you are coming from UMBC or the surrounding region and would like to ride the bus, please send an email to with the subject “Bus for Modern Math Workshop” In the email, please include your name, school, and telephone. I will be sending you an email confirming that you have reserved a seat on the bus.

    Where to meet:

    Commons Circle, in front of the Commons Building (UMBC), PLEASE arrive there on time. The bus will use the same spot to drop and pick up the group.

    When to meet:

    Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 at 11:00 am. We will be departing from the Gaylord at 7:00 pm sharp.

    Thursday, October 29th, 2015 we will meet at 7:45 am. We will be departing from the Gaylord at 12:00 pm.

    PLEASE remember to follow the instructions to get a seat on the bus.



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