Math student wins rare chance to intern at Scientific American

Ph.D. grad Evelyn Lamb wins coveted AMS-AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

Rice University mathematics graduate student Evelyn Lamb is counting the days until the start of her 10-week summer internship at Scientific American magazine in New York.

Lamb will begin work at Scientific American in mid-June thanks to a Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship from the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Lamb is one of a dozen AAAS mass media fellows chosen this year from more than 100 applicants. Only one AMS-AAAS mass media fellow is chosen each year.

Evelyn Lamb

Evelyn Lamb

Lamb, who defended her dissertation in December, will receive her doctorate at Rice May 12.

“I am very interested in math education and in helping people understand math at a variety of levels,” said Lamb. “I tutor at an elementary school right now and I have tutored middle school and high school students too. One thing I really enjoy about tutoring is making a personal connection with a student and learning how to communicate with them in a way that works best for them.

“Communicating with mass audience is very different,” she said. “I’m excited to learn about it, and I can’t imagine a better place to do that than Scientific American.”

Lamb said the internship will allow her to put both her scientific and creative abilities to use because AAAS interns get exposed not only to a broad range of scientific topics but also to new media like podcasts and online interactive media.

Lamb will also take advantage of the time in New York to explore another of her passions, music. As an undergraduate at Baylor University, she completed an interdisciplinary major that combined math, music theory and viola performance, and she continued playing viola at Rice, where she helped form a math graduate student string quartet.

“The rhythms and harmonies of music have an innate math that tickles part of a mathematician’s brain,” she said.

Lamb said the trip to New York will allow her to explore one of her latest musical interests — Sacred Harp singing.

“There’s an active group in New York, and one of the great things about Sacred Harp is that you can just show up and join in the singing.”

Lamb, a native Texan, plans for a career in academia. She lives in Chicago, where her husband, fellow Rice mathematics Ph.D. Jon Chaika ’10, is finishing a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Chicago. Lamb will begin her own postdoctoral appointment at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in fall 2013.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.