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2017 Field of Dreams Conference Review

Conference Information:

Date: November 3-5, 2017
Location: Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis
Agenda: 2017 Agenda

Conference Presentations:

Conference Review:

We are pleased to report another successful Field of Dreams Conference! This year’s conference was held at the Renaissance Airport Hotel, in St. Louis, Missouri. This year’s Field of Dreams was packed with activities and students and faculty were exposed to a wide variety of topics and sessions. Over 330 participants, including 181 Predoctoral Scholars, 22 PhD students, 118 faculty, and many other representatives, were in attendance from over 137 universities, colleges, and organizations nationwide.

A special mention to our Alliance Scholars who traveled all the way from Hawaii and Puerto Rico!

We were very excited with the new, full day schedule for Friday. Following our opening remarks, we were treated to this year’s Connections Lecture, with Professor Rachel Levy, of Harvey Mudd College, describing BIG opportunities for mathematicians (Business, Industry, and Government). The rest of the morning we heard panels about such careers, as well as a discussion of REUs. The afternoon started with our annual Fields of Success panel, where Alliance Ph.D.'s told us about their achievements to date. The rest of Friday afternoon was devoted to a very special event focusing on Hidden Figures, sponsored by Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Dr. Christine Darden (NASA, retired) who was featured in the book Hidden Figures, delivered a special keynote lecture on her life and experiences. This was followed by an insightful panel discussion featuring Dr. Darden, Dr. Wendy Okolo (NASA Ames Research Center) and Dr. Powtawche Valerino (Jet Propulsion Lab).

Saturday,Professor Bill Massey, Princeton, gave a talk about Communicating Mathematics, and we had our annual Math Sciences Lecture, delivered by Professor Joseph Teran, from UCLA, describing applications of mathematics to movie animation and virtual surgery. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were taken up with a wide variety of panels, as well as our “What Is…” talks, delivered by representatives of the NSF funded Mathematical Sciences Institutes. Saturday afternoon concluded with the annual Graduate Department and Career Fair, with over 50 tables featuring graduate programs, REUs, and career opportunities. Our student activities were capped by the banquet and keynote address by Garikai Campbell, who gave a stimulating view of the changing landscape of the role of mathematics in the world.

The conference leaves us feeling strong in our commitment to our goals and we will be working to build on the success of this event in the next year. We came away with a lot of good suggestions for improving our activities throughout the year, as well as ideas for conference activities.

Some of our speakers will be sharing some of their material with us and we will be posting those to the website soon. We are looking forward to next year’s conference and hope you’ll all be joining us there! We would like to thank everyone who helped prior and during the conference. We would like to give a special thank you to Mr. Miles Dietz for attending the conference and helping to make everything run smoothly. We would like to thank all our Partners/Members/Sponsors for making this conference our best one yet! Check out our Flickr site for photos from the 2017 Field of Dreams Conference. If you’d like to share your stories or photos from the conference send them to

We would love to hear everyone’s comments on the event and your suggestions for future Field of Dreams Conferences!