Remote Intern Program: Summer and Fall 2023

Lauren SiegelCommunity, Intern Experience, Making Math, Museum, remote intern, Written by Melissa WilkinsonLeave a Comment

This summer, 5 interns participated in MathHappens projects remotely from Las Vegas, the Chicago area, Knox County, IL, and Lake County, IL. In September, we started our fall cohort with 4 interns in Irving, TX, Edmond, OK, Knoxville,TN, and Appleton, WI. We have interns who are studying or have studied: math, math education, business, data science, economics, computer science, and math studio art.  The capstone experience is the outreach event.  Interns will find a location and plan and facilitate a learning experience in their own communities.  Please read this reflection by Thomas Jackson for an example of a very successful event.  Thomas created thematic tables and presented several original models that he designed.

The interns are sent a kit in the mail with a sampling of MH models and some supplies. The goal is to find a makerspace in their area, design and make a math model of their choice, and host an outreach event in their community. The interns check in with Melissa in Austin via Zoom and email several times over the course of their internship to discuss their progress and ideas for their project and outreach. Some interns come in knowing where they will likely host their event, and others spend time researching and looking for a good spot. For making models, some interns are affiliated with a school or university where they have access to a makerspace and/or laser cutter, while others use local libraries or makerspaces to make their models. Lastly, some interns come in with knowledge of CAD software, while others learn through this internship! As you can see, no two internships are alike, and the individual projects can be suited to one’s interests, talents, and available resources, all while helping to promote MathHappens’ mission.

Emily Arellano learned to use a 3d printer and a laser cutter to make 3 knots as well as a projection puzzle for her activity.  Read all the details in this reflection.

Emily Arellano showing her 3-D printed knots via Zoom.

One of our fall remote interns, Elyssa Pfluger, hosted an event on the campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, on November 2. She designed two models for her project: a proof of Ramsey’s theorem kind of in a “challenge form” (shown below) and a “proof without words” of the area of a dodecagon. She was inspired by math classes she took in college and some animated videos of the proof without words. She laser cut her Ramsey’s theorem model and presented it at a tutor recruiting event in her college town. You can read Elyssa’s full reflection here, but below are some quotes from what she wrote:

“…even though this internship was short and sweet, I gained a multitude of skills throughout it. I had never touched a laser cutter before this internship, so learning to create something was a bit of a challenge.”

“I had a lot of fun coming up with proofs that could be well-explained through visual models, as one of my favorite topics of study in college was Graph Theory, a subject where visual proofs are engrained and many papers on the subject come with illustrations. My favorite part of the internship was coming up with things to cut, but there was a learning curve in actually cutting them. After many hours and splinters though, I was able to successfully cut my Ramsey’s theorem model.”

Elyssa Pfluger’s Ramsey’s Theorem model and table at her event.
The remote internship is roughly a 20-hour (total) commitment over the course of 3-4 months and pays a stipend upon completion. If you or anyone you know is interested in a remote internship with MathHappens, you can fill out an interest form here.

Golden spiral pendants designed and cut by intern Steven Leonhart in Illinois.

This reflection was submitted by Solomon Podorovsky:

“The outstanding memory from my participation with Math Happens were the words a parent shared with me prior to my outreach: “my son loves math, but there are no math activities in the area for kids his age.” The opportunity for me to work with Math Happens and provide this service to my community in Wilmette fulfilled one of my truest passions. That is, to help students see math to be as beautiful and exciting as I see it. The contents of my outreach crescendoed with a course at my childhood library, helping students assemble their own Golden Spiral Models and teaching them the story behind this captivating mathematical phenomenon. What this really meant to me was showing these kids, grades 4-8, that math goes far beyond the tests they take in school. It is in business and engineering of course, but it is deeply engrained in the natural world as well. My hope is to have begun to show them that math is an ocean of possibility for them to explore should they choose this path. I’m very grateful for the help of Math Happens in making this amazing experience possible for me, and the students who I shared it with.” 

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