Joliet, Ill. – University of St. Francis (USF) College of Arts & Sciences mathematics instructor Angela Antonou, Ph.D., has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The virtual event will take place on March 12-13.

Antonou’s presentation is titled, “Encouraging and Supporting Undergraduate Research”. 

“There are many challenges in engaging students in undergraduate mathematics research.  These challenges can be exacerbated by limitations experienced by faculty at smaller private institutions.  In my own experience, I learned to be diligent in seeking out potential topics for undergraduate research and to be flexible with the field to which this research would relate,” she said.

“Since many of our own students at University of St. Francis might not have the opportunity to complete their upper division courses (such as abstract algebra or real analysis) until their senior year, it was also important to seek out research activities that did not assume this background.  In this talk, I’ll share my own efforts to encourage students to participate in research activities (whether in small-scale or large-scale research experiences), which includes a discussion about topic identification and potential research formats, as well as successes and lessons learned,” she added.

Following the presentation, event participants will be invited to enter into breakout rooms based on specific sub-topics (identified on the registration form for the conference) where they can contribute their own experience to the conversation.

“This will be a deviation from traditional talks. I hope to use this as a chance for the mathematics community to collaborate with each other,” Antonou said.

As she prepares for the event, Antonou looks forward to the opportunities that this opportunity carries with it.

“I am very honored to have been invited to share my acquired knowledge and my experiences. What this opportunity really means to me, though, is more opportunity! With the new virtual format for many of these meetings, people are missing the connection they are used to from in-person meetings.  I am hoping that the collaborative element to the talk will open conversations and create new connections across institutions.  I also hope that this conversation might persist beyond the conference,” Antonou said.

Last fall, Antonou earned the Early Career Teaching Award through the Illinois Section of the MAA. Antonou, who has been an assistant professor with USF since 2014, will formally accept the award at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA.

Visit for more information on the event.

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