math Club

Mission statement:

math Club provides an opportunity for students to interact and discuss their mathematical research. Our aim is to provide venues for students to
  1. share their research ideas in a relaxed, informal, and accessible way, and
  2. get to know each other through social functions.
All are welcome.


Jennie Osa (jennie.osa[at]

Vice President of Affairs:

Ewan Kummel (ewan[at]

Vice President of Engagement:

Tenchita Alzaga Elizondo (halzaga[at]

Vice President of Records:

Madilyn Marshall (

(View the Club Officer Hall of Fame.)

In Winter 2018, math Club meets Tuesdays at 2:30pm in University Pointe (PNT) 208. (View all quarters of Club.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Kristen Vroom, Portland State University
Building models of students’ use of sigma notation

Summation notation is a widely-used standard that can represent all kinds of sums. Despite its utility, the literature on this topic points to the notation being difficult for students. Our research project gives insight into how students think about summation notation and why it is so challenging. This report builds off of the first phase of our project, which proved the existence of students’ uncertainties with elements of the notation. This work considered survey data from 285 undergraduates and suggested that uncertainties are common amongst students. We also found that the act of encoding a sum in sigma notation is more cognitively demanding than interpreting a summation notation expression. In this talk we present models of students’ ways of thinking about summation notation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Matt Petersen, Portland State University
Theorizing Mathematical Silences

Contrary to the norm in every-day Anglo-English conversation (and presumably in students' collaborations) that silences longer than a second be avoided, preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that during their collaboration mathematicians spend lengthy periods of time in nearly motionless silence. How can we account for this seeming lack of interaction during mathematicians' collaborations? In what way can what seem to be lengthy pauses without interaction be part of mathematicians' collaborations? This talk will present examples of silence in mathematicians' and students' collaborations, and attempt to make sense of the some of these paradoxes surrounding mathematicians' collaborative silences.