The 12th annual Northwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium (NUMS) was planned to take place on Saturday, April 18, 2020, in conjunction with the 3rd annual Pacific Inland Mathematics Undergraduate Conference (PiMUC), at Seattle Pacific University in Washington. And then COVID-19 happened. As national and international conferences (not just in mathematics) around the world were being cancelled, opportunities for students to present their work were evaporating. The NUMS steering committee, along with the PiMUC organizers, were determined to hold the line. A last minute effort (only a month before the meeting date) was started to move the entire meeting online to a virtual venue via Zoom.
NUMS and PiMUC are regional mathematics conferences providing a venue for undergraduate students in the Pacific Northwest to present mathematical research and projects, including REUs, senior projects, COMAP solutions, etc.
The Oregon State University Math Club, the Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) Oregon Beta Chapter, the OSU student chapters of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) organized the first annual NUMS meeting at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis on Saturday, May 9, 2009. There were 33 attendees including 17 speakers filling two parallel sessions. The local venue served as an effective training opportunity for the national stage; several of the first NUMS participants went on to present at MathFest 2009 in Portland. In fact, two of the six 2009 Pi Mu Epsilon Presentation Prize winners were NUMS participants! Subsequent NUMS meetings have been held throughout Oregon and Washington including at Willamette University, Linfield College, Reed College, University of Washington, Tacoma, Western Washington University, Lewis and Clark College, among others. The conference series has been supported by the National Science Foundation and PME.
PiMUC was first hosted at Gonzaga University in 2018. Many of the universities and colleges in the Pacific Inland Region are isolated. The conference goal is to provide an opportunity for these students to meet each other, show off their hard work, and bond over their love of Mathematics.