George Fox University, including the School of Natural Sciences and the Mathematics Department, is proud to host the 2023 Spring Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Section of the Mathematical Association of America. Our faculty and students are excited to support the section's activities which promote vigorous research and dynamic teaching and learning in our region. George Fox University is located in Newberg, OR.  The university’s 108-acre main campus also hosts graduate programs and features residence halls, the lush Hess Creek Canyon, and facilities for academics, athletics and performing arts. Please accept our warm welcome to Newberg; we hope you enjoy all we have planned as we continue in-person section meetings. Please e-mail Corban Harwood ([email protected]) if you have any questions regarding the meeting.


  • Themed and contributed sessions, student talks and poster session
  • Four plenary talks, including Friday talk open to the public
  • Mini-course (additional fee)
  • PNW Section NExT workshop for current/former fellows and invited guests
  • Social activities for undergraduates
  • Student pizza and activities Friday night
  • Saturday lunch and Saturday evening reception provided

Outline of Schedule (Link to PNWMAA_2023_GFU.pdf)

Friday 3/17
8:00am-2:45pm: Section NExT Session (Faculty Development Session for current and former Section NExT / Project NExT Fellows and invited guests)
3:00-5:30pm: Minicourse (see below for description and fee)
6:00-7:30pm: Activities & Pizza for Students (Undergraduate, Graduate, and High School Students). Held in Canyon Commons Dining Hall 103.
7:30-8:00pm: Check-in & Registration (Canyon Commons 101)
8:00-9:15pm: Welcome & Plenary Talk "Geometry of the Earth and Universe with The Simpsons and Futurama" by Sarah Greenwald (Open and free to the public). Held in Canyon Commons Dining Hall 101.
9:15-10:00pm: Dessert Reception (Canyon Commons 101)

Saturday 3/18
7:30-8:30am: Executive Committee Meeting (Hoover 104)
8:00-9:00am: Check-in & Registration (Hoover Atrium)
9:00-10:15am: Welcome & Plenary Talk “Beauty at the Heart of the Mathematics Classroom” by Matt DeLong (Hoover 105)
10:30am-12:30pm: Simultaneous Talk Sessions (see below for special session descriptions and rooms)
12:30-1:30pm: Lunch (pick up in Hoover Atrium)
1:00-2:00pm: Student Poster Session (Hoover Atrium)
1:30-2:05pm: Section Business Meeting (Hoover 103)
2:15-3:15pm: Plenary Talk “Students considering Non-Academic Careers? Help!” by Allen Butler (Hoover 105)
3:30-5:30pm Simultaneous Talk Sessions (see below for special session descriptions and rooms)
5:30-6:30pm: Reception (Canyon Commons 101)
6:30-6:45pm: Awards  (Canyon Commons 101)
6:45-7:45pm: Plenary Talk "Rubik’s Cube Games on Spheres" by Sarah Greenwald (Canyon Commons 101)

Plenary Speakers

Sarah Greenwald

"Geometry of the Earth and Universe with The Simpsons and Futurama" (Public Lecture)

"Rubik’s Cube Games on Spheres"

Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald, an MAA Polya Lecturer, is a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and a faculty affiliate of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University. Greenwald earned a PhD in Riemannian geometry from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in mathematics from Union College.

Investigating connections between mathematics and society, Greenwald has won awards for teaching, scholarship and service. These include an MAA Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member, an AWM Service Award, and College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year. As an AWM Fellow, Greenwald was cited for “creative and effective efforts to spark interest in mathematics among young people, especially girls… extensive contributions to advancing women in mathematics through writing, lectures and working with professional societies… and mentorship of students.” Recent work includes Fifty Years of Women in Mathematics: Reminiscences, History, and Visions for the Future of AWM, an AWM-Springer book edited by Janet L. Beery, Greenwald, and Cathy Kessel.

Friday Night Public Lecture: "Geometry of the Earth and Universe with The Simpsons and Futurama"

The quest to understand the precise geometry and shape of our universe began thousands of years ago when mathematicians and astronomers used mathematical models to try and explain their observations. Did you know that the animated shows "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" contain hundreds of humorous mathematical and scientific references? A few of these references connect to the geometry of spaces and we'll use them to explore some historical and current theories relating to the earth and universe during an interactive talk.

Popular culture can reveal, reflect, and even shape how society views mathematics, and with careful consideration of the benefits and challenges, these programs can be an ideal source of fun ways to introduce important concepts and to reduce math anxiety. For more information, check out

"Rubik’s Cube Games on Spheres"

We'll slice up basketballs in order to form new spaces like footballs and triangular pillows, and then look at the geometry of the resulting spaces, called orbifolds. Orbifolds furnish a natural starting point for the study of singular spaces and they are especially of interest to mathematicians and physicists. Diverse applications of orbifolds include connections to crystallography, string theory and music theory. Many results, such as those requiring local analysis, generalize easily to the orbifold setting, but most global results do not. Imagine a spherical Rubik's game where you can rotate spherical triangles on the surface of the sphere. This game exists and is called the Impossiball and we'll use it to help understand orbifolds as we look at examples and results related to the Euler characteristic and spectrum.

[Photo Credit: Chase S. Reynolds]

Matt DeLong

“Beauty at the heart of the mathematics classroom”

Dr. Matt DeLong is Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences at Marian University in Indianapolis. His Ph. D. is from the University of Michigan. Matt was awarded the Alder and Haimo awards for distinguished teaching from the MAA. He has served the MAA in various capacities including a decade on the leadership team of Project NExT, a recently concluded term as Chair of the Indiana Section, and currently as Chair of the Council on Meetings. Matt is also Academic Director of MathPath, an advanced summer program for middle-school students.

"Beauty at the heart of the mathematics classroom"

In an area of increasing skepticism about the value of higher education beyond mere career preparation and of accelerating demands on faculty time and energy, what truly motivates learners to learn and teachers to teach? I believe that ultimate motivation can be grounded in the transcendentals—beauty, truth, and goodness. Beauty, in particular, has played a central role in how I conceive of myself as a mathematician, educator, musician, and human being. In this talk I will share some of my own reflections on these topics and invite participants to explore their own.

Allen Butler

“Students considering Non-Academic Careers? – Help!”

Dr. Butler holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Texas Tech University and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1987). He has been employed at Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Inc. since 1987, serving as President and CEO from 2008 to 2021. Throughout his career, Dr. Butler has served as the principal investigator for Department of Defense R&D projects involving a variety of mathematical disciplines as applied to areas such as tracking, track correlation, data fusion, and search optimization. He has been involved in the development and implementation of optimal search techniques for a number of projects, including a research effort whose goal was the interdiction of narcotics smugglers in the Caribbean. Dr. Butler is a member of AMS, MAA, SIAM, IEEE, INFORMS, and a number of industry specific professional organizations.

Dr. Butler is an INFORMS Fellow and serves on the INFORMS Prize Committee for the “Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice”. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation and is a visiting lecturer for SIAM. And most importantly, he is the treasurer of the MAA.

"Students considering Non-Academic Careers? – Help!"

Most professors have spent their entire careers wandering academic halls. It’s no wonder they sometimes struggle with the task of advising students on non-academic careers. In this talk, we’ll look at ways to help such students. What advice can you give students about finding the right jobs? How can students best prepare themselves to be successful, both in the interview process and in their new career? Are internships really valuable and how does a student get one? What can students expect when they transition from the classroom to the “real world”?

Special Sessions, Student Talks, Student Posters, and Contributed Talks

Abstracts for all presentations are due Friday, February 17, 2023: a grace period has been extended until Friday, February 24, 2023 to accept abstracts for all sessions - especially for student talk and student poster sessions.
Please email Corban Harwood ([email protected]) with subject line “Abstract for PNW MAA 2023” and cc the Special Session organizer (see below) if you would like to present in their session.
All talks are 15 minutes with 5 minutes afterwards for Q&A and transition to the next speaker. If you are a student (undergraduate, graduate, or high school) please be sure to state so in your submission e-mail. Please include the following in the body of your email and fill out the LaTeX template (link below). Note, this .tex file is specifically formatted for typesetting the physical Conference Program. If you wish to see a PDF of your abstract, follow the updated directions in the template to uncomment specific header and ending lines. Please re-comment them before you submit the file so that it compiles into the Conference Program without error.

  • Type of abstract submission (Talk submitted to a Special Session, Student Talk, Student Poster, General Contributed Talk)
  • Title
  • Abstract (Limit 100 words)

LaTeX template for submission: PNWAbstractTemplate.tex

Special Sessions

The following themed Special Sessions are being organized for the meeting. Each are open to faculty, students, and non-academic participants which fit the theme provided by the organizers. Please contact the organizer(s) for further questions and cc them when you submit your abstract, if you are interested in being invited to present in their session.

Differential Geometry / Topology
Organizer: Christine Gunther ([email protected]), Pacific University

We invite talks from faculty and students in differential geometry or topology.

Algebra / Linear Algebra
Organizer: Pietro Paparella ([email protected]), University of Washington - Bothell

Talks are welcome from faculty and students concerning algebra, linear algebra, or matrix theory.

Applied Mathematics
Organizer: Diana Schepens ([email protected]), Whitworth University

We invite talks from faculty and students who are applying mathematics.  The topics may include, but are not limited to, mathematical applications using or from the areas of differential equations, numerical analysis, statistics, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Mentoring Undergraduate Research
Organizers: Katharine Shultis ([email protected]), Gonzaga University and Allison Henrich ([email protected]), Seattle University

Many of us are just beginning to think about how to do research with undergraduates, perhaps even with students who have little content knowledge beyond calculus. Others of us are seasoned undergraduate research mentors who are always trying to get new ideas for how to support students or mentor student research in different settings. Whether you are a novice research mentor or someone who is looking to build on your considerable experience, this session is for you. In this session, speakers will give advice on the nuts and bolts of how to get started, how to incorporate research projects in the classroom, and more.

Topics in Undergraduate Mathematics Education
Organizers: Sarah Kerrigan ([email protected]) and Nicole Enzinger ([email protected]), George Fox University.

This session focuses on presentations on the teaching and learning of mathematics at the postsecondary level. Presentations in various forms are welcome from research-based (quantitative or qualitative studies or theoretical discussions) to examples of pedagogical and curricular innovations used. We are open to a broad spectrum of topics, including but not restricted to: factors of student learning, equity in the classroom, teaching and learning of particular mathematics concepts, and effective classroom interventions.

Alternative Grading 
Organizers: Stuart Boersma ([email protected]) and Jean Marie Linhart ([email protected]), Central Washington University.

Alternative grading refers to those grading schemes which focus on measuring student learning and mastery of student learner outcomes, supports learning as an intrinsic value, and rewards student metacognition.  Some examples include Standards-Based Grading, Mastery Testing, Specifications Grading, Contract Grading, and Ungrading.  These forms of grading can promote equity, growth mindset, focus on feedback and improvement, and promote student success in subsequent courses.  This session invites talks by either faculty or students discussing their experiences with alternative grading schemes.  We expect faculty presentations to provide valuable resources for other instructors as well as thoughtful reflection on their courses.  We would like to have faculty encourage one of their students (or a group)  to submit an abstract to this session to share their experiences taking a class which implemented an alternative grading scheme.

Modeling in the Classroom
Organizer: David Hammond ([email protected]), Oregon Institute of Technology

Incorporating mathematical or statistical modeling in the classroom provides engaging experiences for students. Ideally, modeling can both teach students how to apply mathematics to describe and solve real world problems, and provide insight and motivation for the underlying content of the class. We invite talks by faculty to share modeling activities they have developed and used in their own classes. We also invite talks by students who have been introduced to modeling in a class setting, and then developed the work further on their own. Modeling activities across a broad spectrum of the mathematics curriculum, including differential equations, statistics, and numerical analysis, are welcomed. Presenters should endeavor to inspire members of the audience to implement modeling in their own classes. Discussion of how the presented activities played out in real classrooms, as well as any practical challenges or other pitfalls involved in implementing them, is also encouraged.

Student Talk Sessions

In addition to the special sessions, above, there will be a several sessions devoted to just student talks. In fact, half of the general program at past meetings over the last decade has been comprised of student talks; we encourage students to talk about their solutions to math competitions (e.g. COMAP, SCUDEM), senior thesis or capstone project, REU or other work!

Student Poster Session

There will be a session for student poster presentations. The level of original work is as described above for student talk sessions. There will be tables/stands for holding posters. Please describe the type and size of poster you will be bringing.

General Contributed Session

These sessions are available for accepted talks which do not fit a special session. They are open to faculty, students, and non-academic participants.

Hotel and Travel Information

Nearby Hotels (Distance to conference location on campus)
(0.7 miles from conference) Holiday Inn Express : Newberg - Wine Country, 501 Sitka Avenue, Newberg, OR, US. Direct booking link: George Fox University - PNW MAA Section Meeting (Conference reduced rate of $139/night extended til 2/24)

(0.8 miles from conference) Best Western: Newberg Inn, 2211 Portland Rd, Newberg, OR 97132

(1.2 miles from conference) Travelodge Suites by Wyndham Newberg, 2816 Portland Rd, Newberg, OR 97132

Travel to campus
George Fox University is located in Newberg, OR. Driving to campus on I-5 from the north, take the Tigard/Newberg exit (294) shortly after leaving Portland city limits. Stay on 99W until reaching Newberg and turn north (right) on Meridian Street. From the south, take the Donald/Aurora exit (278) north of Salem. Follow the signs to Newberg. Turn left on 99W and turn north (right) on Meridian Street. Other local information can be found on our campus map.


For these days, campus safety has opened up all parking lots for visitors. See the Parking map for locations nearest the conference buildings.

Contact the Organizers

For general questions, please contact Corban Harwood at [email protected]. See the MAA Section page and MAA Connect for information about events and current discussions in the PNW MAA community.
Conference Leadership
Hans Nordstrom, PNW MAA Section Chair (University of Portland)
Corban Harwood, Local Arrangements Chair (George Fox University)
along with the Department of Mathematics, Amanda Sue Harris, Administrative Assistant, and John Schmitt, Director of the School of Natural Sciences (George Fox University)
Abdulla Mamun, Program Chair (Gonzaga University)
Megan Buzby, Section NExT (University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau)
Kate Kearney, Newsletter Editor (Gonzaga University)
Ben Cote, Webmaster (Western Oregon University)

We look forward to welcoming you to Newberg!

Registration: 2023 PNW-MAA Meeting

Registration for the Pacific Northwest Section Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America, held at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon on March 17-18, 2023. The deadline for regular registration is Friday, March 3. After that date, all registration rates will go up by $10. There will be limited onsite registration and those registrants will pay an additional late charge. Please use this online registration form!

  • Reduced price for current members of the MAA

  • Reduced price for students (graduate, undergraduate, or high school)

  • Reduced price for students who have an accepted abstract to present at the conference.

  • Use for attending minicourse only or adding a guest boxed lunch

The registration fees will be used to help pay for food/beverage service, printing, and supplies for the meeting. Please RSVP for the catered events below so that we have accurate counts.

Friday 8-10pm
Registration opens at 7:30pm

Saturday at noon. Please comment below with any dietary restrictions.

Saturday 5:30-8:00pm

Optional Minicourse: Friday afternoon: 3:00-5:30pm on 3/17

  • Minicourse: Intro to R for Data Analysis

    Minicourse: Intro to R for Data Analysis

    Organizer: Heather Kitada Smalley, Albaugh Assistant Professor of Statistics, Willamette University.
    The goal of this course is to lay a functional foundation in the use of R, requiring no prior background in R, and illustrated mainly using topics encountered in an elementary statistics course. R's computational platform is geared toward working with multivariate data. As such, it extends easily to many tasks encountered in data analysis, statistical learning, and computational linear algebra. Some simple applications in these areas will also be presented.

    Price $15.00

Guest Lunch, 12:30pm Saturday 3/18

  • Boxed Lunch

    Boxed Lunch

    Box lunches are distributed 12:30-1:30pm on Saturday, 3/18

    Price $15.00


RegFox Event Registration Software