Department of Mathematical Sciences
Sonia Kovalevsky High-school and Middle-school Mathematics Day

2012 Sonia Kovalevsky High-school and Middle-school Mathematics Day

Sonia Kovalevsky The Department of Mathematical Sciences at George Mason University has obtained funds from the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) to host the Sonia Kovalevskaya Mathematics Day (SK GMU Day) on May 11, 2012. The goal of the SK GMU Day is to help motivate the next generation of middle and high-school girls to pursue careers in Mathematical Sciences. It will provide an unparalleled opportunity for local students to get acquainted with various aspects of mathematics-related careers, win prizes by participating in fun problem-solving activities and create potentially long-lasting networking contacts among current GMU undergraduate, graduate students and faculty that can help support them throughout their careers.

This event goes hand in hand with other outreach and educational activities that the Department is involved with, including Project IMPACT (Improving Mathematical Practices via Algebraic Connections and Technology in Elementary and Middle School Mathematics) of the COMPLETE Center, Mathematics and Technology for Talented Youth program, the Fairfax Math Circle, the Undergraduate Research in Computational Mathematics program and Multidisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

The day will be spend in fun-filled activities, including:

  1. A Math Competition As a first part of the program, the girls participating in the program will be engaged in a Mathematics problem solving competition. The papers will be graded and the winners of each grade level in each participating district will be identified and recognized at the end of the day.

  2. A Keynote Lecture
    Ms. Nichole Zimmerman, Applied Research Mathematician, NSA

    Cryptology: Past and Present
    The talk will cover the basics of cryptography. Basic terminology, historical information, and current topics will be discussed and illustrated with slides, including: (1) Simple substitution - Caesar cipher, cipher disk (Italy 1470, Civil War, WWI), Vigenere square (1586); (2) Simple transposition; (3) Combination of substitution and transposition; (4) The Enigma (WWII German cipher device); (5) Data Encryption Standard; and (6) public key cryptography.

  3. Student Workshops We will run two 50 minute workshops during the day. The students will be grouped and will have the opportunity to attend all workshops before the end of the day. Workshops will be chaired and run by GMU faculty and will focus on hands-on exploration of various mathematical topics and a glimpse into mathematical research areas suitable for middle- and high-school audience. The involved faculty will make these workshops engaging and stimulating for everyone involved.

  4. Teacher Workshops While the students are participating in the competition and student workshops, we will have breakout sessions for their teachers to attend. The topics will include "Improving Mathematical Practices in Teaching and Learning" and other pedagogical issues. All groups will come together for lunch which will be a networking opportunity and a chance for several local outreach groups to present their information to interested students.

  5. Career Panel Many dynamic young women from the DC area, including those that have received a degree in mathematics from our department and are pursuing academic and industrical careers, will participate in the Career Panel and will share valuable career and life experiences with the young audience. A diverse set of participants from all career levels will be gathered, including undergraduate, graduate students and faculty/scientific staff members in order to better showcase the variety of paths and experiences of women sharing scientific background.

  6. Awards Ceremony We plan to end the day with an awards ceremony where we will recognize the students who excelled at the competitions. Teachers who accompany the respective schools will receive a certificate of participation.

Application process

To apply, please complete the registration form below at this website by April 30, 2012.You can also submit these materials via email to skday AT, or via fax to (703) 993-1491. No hard copies please.


One-day long workshop, all expenses paid by the program.

Free lunch
with GMU outreach program displays.

Networking opportunity:
distinguished keynote speaker, many student and faculty participants.

Workshops on real-life mathematics connections
for both students and teachers.

Opportunity to win prizes
and enhance resume by participating in competitions.

Deadline: April 30, 2012