CUMC 2014 - Carleton University

2nd - 5th July

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q: When will the event be?

A: The CUMC will be held from July 2nd to July 5th 2014 at Carleton University. The Closing Banquet will be held on Saturday July 5th 2014.

Q: Who is organizing it?

A: The CUMC is completely organised by a volunteer committee of Carleton University students who are members of the Carleton University Mathematics and Statistics Society (CUMathSoc). This organizing committee works under the aegis of the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) through Studc, the CMS Student Committee, which provides direction, guidance, and support.

Q: How can I get funding for my CUMC expenses?

A: Start by contacting your student society. It is possible that they are making arrangements for students who want to attend the conference. If you are doing research during the summer, talk about the event with your supervisor. They often have funding for this type of gathering.

You can also try asking your home department, faculty, or any other department with which you are affiliated. You can bring up the CUMC, show them our website, and our poster. You can not only explain your situation and how the conference will benefit you, but you can also bring up the fact that you would be representing your university in a community of mathematicians from all around Canada. In fact, this is how most attendees manage to come to CUMC each year. Indeed, most departments and faculties have a specific fund for conferences and other such events. It would also be to your advantage to prepare a talk, so that your funding sources can really see how much you yourself are investing in the conference, and how well you will represent your university.

Q: Will the other attendees be better than me at mathematics?

A: CUMC is for all undergraduate students that are interested in mathematics and related fields. The conference is not a competition; it is an occasion for math lovers from all across Canada and beyond to get together. We strongly encourage students from all levels to attend. It's not about the other attendees being better at math than you (or not), it's about meeting them!

Q: I can't attend the whole conference. Should I still attend part of it?

A: The registration fee is fixed, regardless of how many days of the conference you attend. However, accommodations will be less expensive if you do not attend the whole conference. If you can be there for most of the conference, then you should come, because the programming will be stimulating. Don’t forget about everything else that's not on the schedule; you’ll have many opportunities to meet and mingle with students from across the country, and all of them will love mathematics as much as you do. In that respect, the conference is still a worthwhile expense, given that it will be an incredible experience.

Q: Can you help me with travel expenses?

A: We have an Air Canada discount code available for conference attendees! Enter the discount code HDAWAJ61 when you search for flights.

Q: What if I have any other questions?

A: Our website has plenty of information. Take your time to visit the different pages to find out more about our event. On the off chance that you still haven't found an answer to one of your questions, email us at: planning@cumc2014.ca

Questions Concerning Talks

Q: I want to give a talk. What should I talk about?

A: Speak about something you find interesting. If your subject has captivated you, chances are it will do the same to your audience. Obviously, it is better if there is a link with mathematics, but that link can be tenuous. Do not forget that one of the values of the event is diversity. As such, we hope that students will speak about a large variety of subjects. What you talk about can be inspired by something you enjoyed in one of your classes, something you read recently, a problem that's puzzling you, a research question, a problem that prevents you from sleeping, or anything else that interests you in math!

If you think your talk will only be accessible to students that are quite knowledgeable in a specific domain, you can stipulate suggested background knowledge in your abstract. This way, people who attend your talk will not be surprised by your content. However, it is best to assume that your audience does not have all of the prerequisites. After all, CUMC is all about discoveries.

Q: How do I submit the abstract for my talk?

A: Abstract submissions are now open! The deadline to submit your abstract has been moved to June 20th! Specifically, it must be submitted before 11:55 pm on June 20th, 2014. However, please submit your abstract as soon as possible, to help with scheduling.

Q: There is a subject that I find interesting, but I'm no expert at it. Should I talk about it?

A: Absolutely! Preparing your talk will be a great occasion for you to learn about the subject. Make sure, though, to prepare far enough in advance to feel comfortable with your subject. This way, you will feel more confident in front of your audience. Consider that if you’re not an expert in your field, members of your audience probably aren’t either. Attendees will appreciate discovering your understanding of the topic and why it interests you.

Q: What's the length of a talk? How long should my talk be?

A: You have got two choices: 20 or 45 minutes. If you don't know which length to choose, we suggest that you make it 20 minutes. We believe that a 20 minute talk is an ideal length, especially if it is your first talk. One mistake students make during their first talk is to present a little to much mechanical detail without discussing the big ideas behind their work. A 20 minute time limit will force you to think of ways to present your material in a concise and engaging manner, which your audience will appreciate. If you feel like you will still have a lot to say after 20 minutes, remember that after your talk, those people that were interested by your talk will probably speak with you about it to learn more.

Once the schedule is set, you will have an allotted time in the schedule that will correspond to the length you asked. To meet organizational needs, we ask that you respect those time limits so that everyone has the opportunity to present their talk. Do not forget to practice before your talk to make sure it does fit during in the allotted time. We have to maintain a strict schedule; talks that exceed their allotted time will have to be stopped by organizers.

Q: How can I tell how long my talk is?

A: The only way to be sure is to practice your talk. Practice by yourself and time your talk. Then, when you are more confident with the presentation, practice in front of an audience; family, fellow students, and your Math Society are all great supportive audiences. This way, you will know how much time you need, where you're losing time, and what you need to cut.

Q: Which language should my talk be in? English or French?

A: You should present your talk in whichever language you are most comfortable with. You can also try to speak one language and have your slides in the other, and accept questions in both languages. At any rate, we advise you to stipulate the language(s) of your talk and slides in your abstract. This way, you invite people whose first language is not yours to still come and attend your talk.

Q: I'm very nervous; this is the first time I give a talk. What should I do about it?

A: Relax, take it easy! There are many good answers to this question. Above all, keep in mind that even if your talk is not perfect, it's not the end of the world. By trying to be a charismatic presenter, you will be able to ensure that your audience will remain engaged your talk, and as a result they will enjoy it regardless of any small mistakes.

However, there are a few mistakes that are easy to avoid. In general, being well-prepared is the best way to be at ease in front of an audience. Good preparation will allow you to avoid mistakes due to being nervous. We cannot stress this enough: you cannot be too prepared. In preparing, ask someone to watch your talk, and get their feedback. Once you arrive at the university, make sure to check out the classroom in which you will be presenting your talk. The organizers will be happy to answer your questions you have once you are there. If you have any other questions, contact us!

Q: There are two talks I'd like to attend that are given at the same time.

A: If this happens, there are two things you could do. You could ask one of your friends to attend the other talk and take some notes, or you could talk to the speaker and ask them to give you notes or other references that will allow you to learn more on the subject.

Q: There is a talk that seems very interesting to me, but I haven't got all the prerequisites. Should I still attend it?

A: Often, one can manage to get the big picture of a talk without understanding all of the minute details. If you find the subject interesting, go for it! In the worst case, you will at least be more motivated to learn about the topic after the talk. Go ahead and talk to the speaker after their talk. That way, they will be able to explain some finer points you might not have understood at first.

FAQ for Potential Sponsors

A: The CUMC is one of the largest mathematics conference in North America specifically for undergraduate students and is an incredible opportunity for students to develop the skills of research and presentation in an academic forum. We anticipate over 200 students from across Canada attending with over 150 students giving presentations of between 20 and 45 minutes. We also will feature keynote addresses from 4-6 prominent mathematicians or representatives from related fields and industries.

As you are no doubt aware, putting on a conference of this size is an immense task. The organisation, logistics and expenses are significant. The support of sponsors allows us to keep the individual students’ costs lower and allows maximum participation.

The event gives you access to 200 of the best and most motivated students and offers you an opportunity to promote your research centre, university department or business.

Q: What is the Recruitment Fair?

A: We have scheduled a period where all student attendees will be available to meet with participating graduate schools and employers to promote their options for future studies or employment. The pricing for this event has been kept very reasonable.

Q: What if I have any other questions related to finances?

For any questions related to finances, we invite you to contact finance@cumc2014.ca.