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2015 Infinite Possibilities Conference comes to campus

2015 Infinite Possibilities Conference on campus

African-American, Hispanic/Latina, and Native American women have been historically underrepresented in the mathematical and statistical sciences. In 2012, less than 2% of the doctoral degrees in the field were awarded to American women from underrepresented minority groups. The Departments of Statistics and Mathematics are proud to co-host the 5th Infinite Possibilities Conference (IPC) March 1-3, 2015, together with OSU and with Building Diversity in Science—a nonprofit organization that encourages diverse students to enter STEM disciplines.

Registration is now open. Click here to register.

With a mission of educating and empowering women, IPC is a national conference that strives to create new frontiers by building on the undaunted spirit of women in the mathematical and statistical sciences. This conference is made possible in part by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency and Oregon State University.

"IPC was a pivotal moment for my deciding to pursue a doctoral degree. It not only gave me experience in presenting my work, but it also inspired and motivated me to continue my research to complete my master's and discover my reasons for earning a PhD.” - Graduate student, IPC participant

IPC selected OSU to host its 2015 conference site because of the University and the College’s strong commitment to enhancing diversity and promoting excellence among women in mathematics and statistics. As OSU President Ed Ray puts it, “Excellence through unity in diversity.”

The conference attracts underrepresented minority women in these fields, including junior faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Attendees have the unique opportunity to interact with established women mathematicians and statisticians within a professional conference environment.

An undergraduate majoring in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics who attended IPC has this to say about the innovative conference:

“While there a smattering of workshops and conferences created to address race/ethnicity or gender in the context of mathematics, IPC is the only program specially designed to address both.”

This year’s conference highlights include:

  • Professional development workshop series
  • Panel discussion on graduate studies in mathematics and statistics
  • Research talks given by professionals
  • Student poster sessions
  • Special activities for high school students
  • Roundtable discussions on experiences with mathematics and statistics
  • Dr. Etta Z. Falconer Award banquet highlighting individual recipient's achievements in mathematics and statistics

Conference speakers and agenda

All sessions will be held in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center at Oregon State University. Click here for the conference flyer.


March 1

A special short course in biostatistics will be held March 1. This event is organized by the Mathematical Biosciences Institute.

March 3

The Dr. Etta Z. Falconer Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday evening, March 3.

Invited Banquet Speaker

Dr. Deborah Jackson, National Science Foundation

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Erika Camacho, Arizona State University

Dr. Talithia Williams, Harvey Mudd College

Special Workshop

Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore, National Center for Faculty Diversity

A PhD candidate in biostatistics who attended a past conference remarked, “I came back from IPC rejuvenated, re-encouraged and with a renewed confidence in completing my dissertation.” A professor who attended the conference called the conference “an educational experience that helped me grow as a mentor.”

The College of Science’s new Vernier Program for Mentoring and Diversity in Science will lend support to the conference, augmenting dollars from federal agencies and industry. The program focuses on building leadership in science among women, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation college students with strong potential.

IPC strives to increase and support diversity in the mathematics and statistics communities by creating a paradigm shift in the way people think about a mathematician or statistician and the roles they play in society. The conference addresses a need among participants by offering workshops that specifically address race/ethnicity or gender within the context of mathematics and statistics.

In the book How College Works, authors Daniel Chambliss and Christopher Takacs, examine the importance of students’ social networks (who they know and how well), the campus community as a whole and what it means to “belong” to it as well as clusters of students or “micro-communities” that form around particular organizations, dorms, and sports. They found that students with a few close friends, a faculty mentor and a broader network of acquaintances were far more likely to have a rewarding college experience. Notably, these students also tended to be more academically engaged, especially when they developed a mentoring relationship with a professor.

In short, “We don’t earn a degree. We have experiences.”

Join us and experience Science@OSU and its commitment to advance harmony, excellence and diversity. Visit IPC online to learn more or get involved.