August 2 Day 512: Going for Gold

For me, today was the first day (of six) for MathFest 2021 activities with a meeting of the MAA Congress and a welcome to the 2021 Gold Project NExT Fellows.

Congress started on the meeting platform HopIn. It seems great for curating sessions and broadcasting presentations but I believe in active engagement (whether in the classroom or the boardroom) and it didn’t match my experience with Zoom. I adapted my breakout room techniques and was the first major presentation of the meeting. Suffice it to say that given more time, it could have worked. But everyone needed greater familiarity with the technology–including me.

Moving between “sessions” caused sound problems–either heavy reverb (when two or more HopIn tabs were open) or no sound at all (requiring reloading or sometimes closing the session tab and reopening). Plus it was hard to know when people had returned to the main session. I’m optimistic that HopIn will deliver a dynamite conference experience when the scientific MathFest program starts on Wednesday.

My welcome to the 2021 Golds was far more successful. I closed by asking the participants to sketch an EMOJI in a Desmos activity to show how they felt. Responses were anonymized with names of important mathematicians. I was pleased to see that names Alexander Diaz-Lopez and Pamela Harris appeared. I was so hoping that Alicia Prieto Langarica’s name would appear too because she was actually in attendance and that would be cool. (It would be even cooler if she was assigned her own name as her anonymized name. What are the odds?)

I know she was there because she tweeted about it.

The cover image comes from the MAA 2019 Impact Report and features Alexander Diaz-Lopez taking a selfie with Pamela Harris and Alicia Prieto Langarica at the MathFest 2019 Award Session. The award session will look a little different this year (and we will be honoring Alexander who is following in the footsteps of Pamela and Alicia.)

(The MAA 2020 Impact Report is also available for those that are interested. )

Tomorrow’s another day of pre-meeting meetings and yes, I’m looking forward to it.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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