SWiM 2021


Coding Theory

Jingzhen Hu_photo

Instructor: Jingzhen Hu

Have you played the telephone game? The first player tells a message to the second player; the second player repeats the message to the third player, and so on. Usually, the message received by the last player differs from the original message as errors accumulate in the retellings. Have you seen some ancient books or paints in museums? Time has taken away some information while keeping these antiques. However, we trust the texts, the voices, and the videos sent/received through our cell phones and computers. We also trust the data stored in different electronic devices. Have you ever thought about the reasons for the things that we take for granted? We will explore the reasons that modern electronic devices have little probability to make mistakes.

Squeezing Shapes

Aygul Galimova photo

Instructor: Aygul Galimova

We’ll explore the field of topology, the study of shapes up to stretching and squeezing, comes into play here. Topology studies the properties of a geometric object that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, and bending, but no cutting. Topology comes up in the study of knots and objects, billiards and pool, and even breast cancer detection. This course will cover how to play tic-tac-toe on a donut, glue spaces to get new ones, orientation, knots, the rent-sharing problem, and a few applications. No prerequisites except curiosity.

Group Projects

Project 1: Squeezing Shapes

  • Borsuk Ulam and the Necklace Splitting Problem
  • Ham Sandwich Theorem

Project 2: Cryptography

  • Safe Sharing

Project 3

  • Hat Game
  • Sphere Packing

Speakers: Our speakers represent milestones in your math journey.


Christy Graves_photo

Christy Graves
Data Scientist, Massive Dynamics

Christy Graves is a Data Scientist at Massive Dynamics, a company that uses data science to help consumer packaged goods companies improve their performance. Her day-to-day work involves developing mathematical models of grocery sales as a function of an item’s discount and other characteristics, and using computer programming to fit the models to historical data. Before this position, Ms. Graves earned her PhD in Applied & Computational Mathematics from Princeton, and her BS in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Duke.

Alexis Sparko
Applied Research Mathematician,
U.S. Department of Defense

Alexis Sparko is an Applied Research Mathematician for the U.S. Department of Defense. Her work spans the disciplines of mathematics, cryptanalysis, software development, cybersecurity, machine learning, and data science. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Ms. Sparko first studied architecture and worked on projects in New York and Boston before returning to school to study mathematics. Ms. Sparko now lives in Durham with another mathematician and two fluffy cats.

Inmaculada Sorribes photo

Inmaculada Sorribes
Pharmacometrician Consultant, Certara

Inmaculada Sorribes is a Pharmacometrician Consultant at Certara. Pharmaceutical companies hire her company when they have a potential drug that’s at different stages of drug approval, usually phase 3. Using mathematical models she determines the efficacy and safety of these drugs. She is able to determine the appropriate dose and dose intervals and any drug interactions — for example whether or not you should eat while taking that medicine or what other medicines you should avoid while taking it. She also studies the dose scaling for other populations, for example children. In short, all the information that comes in drugs labels! With the results of her analyses pharmaceutical companies can seek approval from the FDA, or improve future clinical trials.

Dominique Ehrmann Photo

Dominique Ehrmann
Fabric Artist

Dominique is a self-taught fiber and other media artist. Quilting is the medium she uses to tell most of her stories. She knows the rules, patterns and techniques. She uses them as a means to transport, express, touch and reinvent. First a story emerges and then it starts building up, taking shape, growing in the three dimensions. She assembles it in her head, designs it to the last detail and once ready, she turns it into a sketch. Sketches become paper models, who then become patterns, she pushes back all limits and frontiers. Her artwork plays with the wind, defies gravity, invites exploration and interaction. Her work as been seen in Museums and other exhibition halls in Canada, France and USA. She is recognized to have rocked the boat in the quilting world.

Shreya Arya photo

Shreya Arya
Graduate Student, Department of Mathematics

Shreya Arya is a second year PhD student in Mathematics at Duke. She is interested in geometry, topology and more specifically its applications to computer science, biology and physics. Shreya grew up in Mumbai, India and was completely spoiled by the warm weather. She loves to teach math and make it accessible. In her spare time she likes to sing, cook and be outdoors. Shreya will talk about what it is like to be a graduate student in Mathematics.

Madeleine Mac Gagne_photo

Madeleine (Mac) Gagné
Recent Undergraduate Student

Madeleine “Mac” Gagné is a current Systems and Operations Research Intern for Northrop Grumman through the Brooke Owens Fellowship program and is a rising Operations Research PhD student at North Carolina State University. Her work spans areas of applied mathematics including operations research, game theory, decision analysis, causal inference, information systems, and optimization particularly as they apply to the worlds of emergency response and aerospace. Gagné is a recent graduate of Duke Mathematics through the university’s Program II department and started the department’s social mathematics club The Lyceum. She is also an aspiring pulp fiction author, and currently lives with her partner and their cat Elvira Mistress of the Dark in Washington D.C.

Camey VanSant

Camey VanSant
Assistant Director of Admissions at Duke University

Camey VanSant is Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke University and a Duke alumna (class of 2009). At this presentation, she’ll provide information on the undergraduate experience at Duke, including academic opportunities and student life. She’ll also offer an overview of the admissions and financial aid processes. Camey’s academic interests are in the humanities but she is always very excited to meet great math people!



Malindi Whyte Photo

Malindi Whyte
Undergraduate Student, Wake Forest University

Malindi Whyte is a rising undergraduate at Wake Forest University majoring in Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Economics with a minor in Computer Science. Along with being a TA for SWiM this summer she is tutoring student-athletes and participating in polymath JR, a mathematical research program through Williams. She is originally from Boston and in her spare time likes to hike, swim, and hang out with her dog.

Katherine Horn Photo

Katherine Horn
Undergraduate Student, Duke University

Katherine Horn is a sophomore at Duke University studying Mathematics and Linguistics. She adores math, most specifically teaching math and sharing her love of it, so she’s been tutoring online for the past year during covid. At Duke so far, she’s taken calculus and probability classes, and she’s excited to learn about and explore topology alongside you all! She loves talking about Duke and is even thinking about becoming a tour guide, so if you give her the chance she will go on and on about why she loves this school 🙂