Keynote Speakers



Dr. Allison Henrich ( is an Associate Professor at Seattle University who has a keen interest in studying knots from a mathematical perspective with collaborators. In fact, her favorite collaborators have been undergraduates, both students at Seattle U and students who come to Seattle during the summer for the Seattle University Mathematics Early Research (SUMmER) REU program that she co-directs. To date, Professor Henrich has collaborated with 28 undergraduate researchers, and she looks forward to working with many more students to push the boundaries of mathematical knowledge even further!

Title: “It’s all fun and games until someone becomes a mathematician”

Abstract: As former MAA President Francis Su recently reminded us, PLAY is essential for human flourishing. Whether you are a poet or a scientist, a grandparent or a child, play can powerfully enrich your life. For mathematicians, play is essential for building intuition. For undergraduates, play can inspire a desire to get involved in mathematical research. The world of knots provides fertile ground for understanding these connections. Playing games on knot diagrams can give us intuition about knotty structures, while learning about the theory of knots can reveal the “magic” behind rope tricks and excite us to learn more.


Dr. Emilie Purvine ( completed her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Rutgers University, New Jersey, in May of 2011 with a focus on experimental mathematics, graph theory, and combinatorics. After graduate school Emilie joined the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on semantic knowledge systems and graph theory and became a Research Scientist at PNNL in November of 2012. Her current work focuses on applications of graph theory, discrete mathematics, and topology to cyber security, power grid, and information fusion.

Title:  “My path through graphs, topology, and a career at a national laboratory

Abstract:  As a mathematician at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory I get the opportunity to work on many different types of applications from computational chemistry to cyber network analysis and many things in between. Luckily, though these applications may seem very different, we can use similar structures to study them -- namely graphs. The structure of objects and relationships between objects is ubiquitous in the world. But whether the objects are molecules, computers, generators in a power grid, or people the structure of relationships between objects can be understood as a graph. In this talk I will describe my own career path through a number of application areas and how I used graphs to understand the system. My work has also branched beyond graphs into topology. I will discuss this more recent work and how a topological perspective has broadened my understanding of some applications.