WIMS 2016


GIIM was proud to host the first annual Women in Math and Statistics Conference (WIMS)! It was held at Harvard University, Maxwell Dworkin, on April 2, 2016. Next year’s conference is planned for early April–check our main WIMS page for updates!

For directions to Maxwell Dworkin, see here.


WIMS hopes to connect women undergraduates interested in math and statistics in the Boston area. Our mission is to provide you with the opportunity to connect with leading women mathematicians working in both academia and industry and to interact with your peers. For our first year, we had an exciting agenda of speakers, panels, and workshops laid out. All genders welcome!


Tickets are completely free and include:

  • Free catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as refreshments throughout the day.
  • Three keynote talks from leading women mathematicians in academia and industry.
  • A panel on the pros and cons of various careers in math-related areas.
  • A panel on the gender gap in undergraduate math.
  • Workshops targeting topics like confidence, how to reduce the gender gap, and other issues women face in math.
  • A poster session with research by undergraduates in math and related areas.
  • The opportunity to connect with and socialize with women math students in universities around the Boston area.

See the Facebook event here.


Registration and Breakfast 9:15 am
Welcome and Keynote #1
Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe with Mathematics
Prof. Priya Natarajan, Yale University
10:00 am
Gender Gap Panel 11:10 am
Lunch 12:10 pm
Keynote #2
Higher-Dimensional Reciprocity Laws
Dr. Ana Caraiani, Princeton University
1:10 pm
Careers in Math Panel 2:10 pm
Breakout Sessions
See below for topics, speakers, and rooms.
3:20 pm
Keynote #3
A Keynote Mash-up: Diversity, Thriving, and Statistical Careers
Prof. Dalene Stangl, Duke University
4:20 pm
Poster Session 5:30 pm
Dinner 6:30 pm

Keynote Speakers

First Keynote: Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe with Mathematics

Abstract: I will focus on Einstein’s Field Equations and show how pretty much everything we know about the universe today and its mysterious components are predicted by it. Starting from the expansion of the universe to the existence of dark matter, dark energy and black holes – all these enigmatic entities that are real and have been observed fall out of these amazing equations.

The slides from the talk are now available here.

Priyamvada Natarajan is a theoretical astrophysicist who works on exotica in the universe – dark matter, dark energy and black holes. A professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale, she also holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship at the Dark Cosmology Center at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. With undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics from MIT, she obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge and was the first woman astrophysicist to be elected a fellow of Trinity College. Recipient of many awards and honors in recognition of her original contributions to two key problems in cosmology – mapping dark matter and understanding the formation and growth history of black holes in the universe – she is also deeply invested in the public understanding of science. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and her first book titled Mapping the Heavens is due out on April 27, 2016.

Second Keynote: Higher-Dimensional Reciprocity Laws

Abstract: I will describe how reciprocity laws occur in number theory, from the classical setting of quadratic reciprocity, to the modularity of elliptic curves (which led to the proof of Fermat’s last theorem), and ending with our state-of-the-art understanding of reciprocity laws for arithmetic hyperbolic 3-manifolds.

Ana Caraiani is a mathematician working on the Langlands program, at the interface of number theory, representation theory and algebraic geometry. She is particularly interested in geometric aspects of the Langlands program, studying related moduli problems, and also in congruences and p-adic phenomena. Ana has been a Veblen Research Instructor at Princeton and the Institute for Advanced Study since 2013. Previously, she spent a year as an L. E. Dickson Instructor at the University of Chicago. She was awarded an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in 2012. She received a Ph.D. in math from Harvard in 2012 and an AB summa cum laudae in math from Princeton in 2007.

Third Keynote: A Keynote Mash-up: Diversity, Thriving, and Statistical Careers

Abstract: This talk will share my thoughts on three aspects of our culture: diversity in a thumbs-up/thumbs-down counting culture, women thriving in male-aligned work cultures, and the luck of being a statistician in today’s data-driven culture. The talk will also discuss turning work from a game of Truth OR Dare to a game of Truth AND Dare. Finally, the talk will discuss why and how the conference “Celebrating Women in Statistics and Data Science: Know Your Power” came about and why its first round was so successful.

Professor Dalene Stangl obtained her Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University. She has been with Duke University since 1992 during which time she has given dozens of talks and short courses promoting the teaching and use of Bayesian methods primarily in health-related fields. She also served as Director of the Institute for Statistics and Decision Sciences and Associate Chair for the Department of Statistical Science. She won ASA’s Youden Award for her research on multi-center clinical trials and several awards for outstanding teaching. She has served on panels for NIH, NSF, and NAS. She has chaired the ASA Bayesian Statistical Science Section, served as an editor for JASA, TAS, Bayesian Analysis, and Chance. She has co-edited two books Bayesian Biostatistics and Meta-Analysis in Medicine and Health Policy. She currently serves as Chair of the ASA Committee on Women in Statistics and Program Chair for ASA Section on Statistics Education. She led the executive committee that organized the conference Celebrating Women in Statistics and Data Science held first in May of 2014 and to be held again in October of 2016.


Gender Gap Panel

Our moderator is Professor Iris Bohnet. Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy, is a behavioral economist at Harvard Kennedy School, combining insights from economics and psychology to improve decision-making in organizations and society, often with a gender or cross-cultural perspective. Her most recent research examines behavioral design to de-bias how we live, learn and work. Professor Bohnet served as the academic dean of the Kennedy School and is the director of its Women and Public Policy Program.
Rediet Abebe is a Ph.D. student in computer science at Cornell University. She completed a B.A. in Math and M.S. in Applied Math at Harvard in 2013 and 2015 respectively. She also holds an MA in mathematics from the University of Cambridge. She is interested in problems at the interface of computer science and mathematics, broadly falling under the realm of network science and economics and computation. She has also been heavily involved in outreach programs for women and other underrepresented minorities including through Girls’ Angle, Inc, which she has been volunteering for since her freshman year in 2009! She was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is also passionate about making more resources available to students interested in mathematical sciences in her home country.
Melody Chan is a tenure-track assistant professor at Brown University who got her undergrad degree from Yale in 2005. From 2012 to 2015 she was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the mathematics department at Harvard. She got her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2012, advised by Bernd Sturmfels. She is interested in combinatorial algebraic geometry, particularly: algebraic curves and their moduli, graph theory, and tropical geometry.
Elisenda (Eli) Grigsby is an associate professor at Boston College, where she does research in low-dimensional topology. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard, her graduate work at UC, Berkeley, and she was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Columbia before arriving at Boston College in 2009. In 2014, she was the inaugural winner of the AWM-Birman Research Prize in Geometry and Topology and this year she won the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. In her spare time she blogs at elioop.blogspot.com.

Careers in Math Panel

In-Young Cho is a trader at Jane Street on the domestic ETFs desk. She graduated from Harvard in 2015, concentrating in Applied Math/Economics with a secondary in computer science. At an undergraduate, she was involved with the Applied Math society and the Economics Association, and played in various musical groups on campus.
Kate Jenkins is Chief Mapping Architect at Akamai Technologies, the global leader in Internet content delivery services. She helps design the algorithms that determine the flow of traffic on Akamai’s worldwide network, directing 1/4 to 1/3 of the world’s web traffic daily. Kate majored in math at Stanford University, worked as a computer games 3D graphics programmer for a few years, then attended Cornell University for graduate studies in Applied Math. She enjoys developing cool technology to solve interesting problems that matter, and encouraging others to do the same.
Andrea R. Nahmod is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her broad interests are in two interrelated fields: nonlinear Fourier and harmonic analysis, and the theory of partial differential equations modeling wave propagation phenomena in nature. Nahmod holds a PhD degree in Mathematics from Yale University. In 2015 Nahmod was named Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in recognition of her contributions to nonlinear Fourier analysis, harmonic analysis, and partial differential equations, as well as service to the mathematical community.
Kavita Ramanan is a professor at the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University. Her previous appointments include professor at the mathematical sciences department of Carnegie Mellon University and Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs. Her research lies in the area of probability theory, stochastic processes and their applications, including large deviations, Markov random fields, stochastic analysis and applications to stochastic networks. She is the faculty sponsor of the AWM student chapter at Brown and also runs a math outreach group at Brown called the Math CoOp.

Breakout Sessions

Rediet Adebe – Intersectionality (Maxwell Dworkin G125)
Ana Caraiani – Graduate School (Maxwell Dworkin 123)
Melody Chan – Communities of Women in Math (Maxwell Dworkin 223)
Elisenda Grisgby – Confidence (Maxwell Dworkin 323)
Kate Jenkins – Personal Anecdotes (Pierce 100F)
Priya Natarajan – Generating Institutional Change for Gender Equality (Pierce 320)


Harvard University Math Department
Harvard University Statistics Department