Sonia Kovalevsky Day

Register for Sonia Kovalevsky Day on October 9

Sonia Kovalevsky was a 19th century mathematician, writer, and advocate for women's equality in the workplace. In honor of her enduring legacy, we invite young women to visit campus on Thursday, Oct. 9, for engaging mathematics talks and workshops. Young women will learn more about the vital role of mathematics in various careers, scholastic opportunities for women interested in STEM disciplines, and participate the fun side of mathematics through games and interactive workshops. The program additionally aims to assist teachers of these young women in promoting STEM disciplines at the junior high and high school levels.

This program aims to expand opportunities for young women interested in STEM careers through an educational outreach day at Augustana College. Young women will be exposed to various careers and STEM interest areas during planned presentations throughout the day. At the same time, participating secondary mathematics teachers will gain insight into new ways of explaining mathematics topics to their students. We have invited speakers to campus to give talks on STEM careers and mathematics topics. Talks will range from women in industry who use mathematics on a daily basis in her career. Speakers will talk about how he or she got to his or her profession, what types of STEM courses he or she took, and the practical nature of being fluent in mathematics topics for everyday life. The keynote talk this first year will be on the mathematics of the Rubik's cube. Another talk will focus on mathematical games, logic puzzles, and brain-teasers. The overlying goal of the program is to show young women the wide range of mathematics and the worthiness of serious post-secondary study.

Schedule of Events:

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration and light breakfast

9:00 a.m. Opening remarks

9:10-10:00 a.m. Dr. Joshua Lambert, "Applying Euler's Formula"

10:10-11:10 a.m. Panel of women in industry

11:20-12:20 p.m. Lunch in Morrison Commons

12:20-1:15 p.m. Campus tour

1:30-2:30 p.m. Keynote: Dr. Jim Coykendall, "The Mathematics of the Rubik's Cube"


Jim Coykendall, Clemson University

This talk will be a very hands on look at the mathematics of the Rubik's cube. We will briefly explore some of the mathematics that goes on (starting with counting the number of possible combinations possible) and explore the question: "OK how do we approach trying to solve this thing?"

In this talk, we will introduce some basic group theory (and the basics of computing in symmetric groups) to get down to the brass tacks of how one would go about figuring out how to solve the cube (without looking up a solution on the internet). This talk will be about solving problems and how to use your mathematical skills to figure out something new. A little bit of "practical math" will be introduced, but it will be pretty elementary. I cannot promise that you will walk out of the talk with the ability to solve the cube, but I can promise that you will walk out with the tools to solve it.

Joshua Lambert, Armstrong Atlantic State University

Applying Euler's Formula

Upon learning my childhood obsession of playing connect the dots could turn into a career choice, I immediately found myself immersed in the branch of mathematics known as graph theory. Just as Leonhard Euler noticed hundreds of years ago, this well known childhood pastime has profound implications in the world around us. In fact, Euler's formula helps us realize that some of our creations on paper can morph into a three dimensional solid where the vertices, edges, and faces of our newly found solid will always satisfy certain conditions. Join in on the fun on October 9th, as we will all have the ability to create some eye-popping solids and explore the relationships exposed in Euler's formula.


Susan Puumala, Sanford Research

Dr. Susan Puumala is an associate scientist at the Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention Research; assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine and an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine.  She received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, her M.S. in statistics from Iowa State University, and her B.S. in mathematics with a co-major in philosophy from Creighton University. Her research interests focus on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric epidemiology. Her main interests are in parental infertility and childhood outcomes, childhood cancer etiology, DNA methylation in disease development, and pediatric health disparities.

Stephanie Barichello, KDLT (Sioux Falls NBC affiliate)

Stephanie joined the KDLT weather team as the morning meteorologist in May of 2013. She grew up in Joliet, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago; where she graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy and went on to earn her bachelor's degree in broadcast meteorology from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana.

While at Valpo, she completed internships with WGN-TV's Tom Skilling, Lakeshore Public Television in Merrillville, IN, and spent a summer down in Atlanta, Georgia, working for The Weather Channel. She also recorded weather updates regularly for the school's television station, VUTV, and participated on one of Valpo's summer storm chases.

When she's not tracking storms or staring at the clouds, she spends her time Pinteresting and hanging out with friends. Besides the weather, she is very passionate about sports, especially volleyball, and has been an athlete since she was little. Being from Chicago, her favorite sports teams are the Blackhawks, the Bears, the Bulls, and the Cubs.