Eleventh Annual Alice T. Schafer Prize
January 2001, New Orleans LA
In 1990, the Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) established the annual Alice T. Schafer Prize for excellence in mathematics by an undergraduate woman. The prize is named for former AWM president and one of its founding members, Alice T. Schafer (Professor Emerita from Wellesley College), who has contributed a great deal to women in mathematics throughout her career. The criteria for selection include, but is not limited to, the quality of the nominees' performance in mathematics courses and special programs, an exhibition of real interest in mathematics, the ability to do independent work, and if applicable, performance in mathematical competitions.
AWM is pleased to present the Eleventh Annual Alice T. Schafer Prize to an outstanding young woman mathematician: Jaclyn (Kohles) Anderson of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
In addition to the Schafer Prize winner, AWM is pleased to recognize Sami Assaf, a senior who is a double major in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Suzanne S. Sindi, a senior mathematics major and President's Scholar at California State University, Fullerton, who were nominated and selected as runners-up in the Schafer Prize competition. AWM is further pleased to recognize two outstanding women who were nominated and given an honorable mention in the Schafer Prize competition: Alice Chan, a senior who is a double major in mathematics and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley and Crystal Hoyt, a senior mathematics major at Texas A&M University.
Schafer Prize Winner: Jaclyn (Kohles) Anderson
Jaclyn (Kohles) Anderson is a senior mathematics major at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). During her senior year of high school she placed first out of almost 1,200 students in the UNL Math Day competition. The summer after her freshman year she participated in the Carleton/St. Olaf Colleges Summer Mathematics Program for Women Undergraduates, and during her sophomore year she participated in the Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS) program at Pennsylvania State University during the fall semester and the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program in the spring. Her work in the MASS program led to a paper entitled "Partitions which are simultaneously t1- and t2-core," which has been submitted to the journal Discrete Mathematics, and which her MASS mentor describes as "a very fine result in combinatorics."
Jaclyn has recently completed an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in the representation theory of commutative local rings, and her advisor expects that her paper "Use of Gröbner bases in integer programming" will eventually be published. He describes it as "a remarkable piece of work." In addition to her research, she has taken many graduate level courses & served as a teaching assistant for UNL's honors calculus courses. Last year she received an honorable mention for the Schafer Prize. According to her professors, her work "far surpassed that of the rest of the students," including the graduate students. They describe her as "the most talented under-graduate I have encountered in my 33 years of college teaching" & "a bona fide star" with "impressive talent, drive & enthusiasm for mathematics." They agree that she "will be much sought after by graduate schools across the country."
Response from Anderson
I am extremely honored that the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has awarded me the Alice T. Schafer Prize. This award recognizes the achievements of women at the start of their mathematics careers and thereby supports their future mathematical endeavors. Many of my accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of the mathematics faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I would like to thank Drs. Jim Lewis and Gordon Woodward who have encouraged me from day one. I would also like to thank Drs. Roger Wiegand, Sylvia Wiegand, and David Logan who said wonderful things about me in their nomination. These professors and the rest of the UNL mathematics faculty have made my undergraduate experience something far beyond what I could have ever imagined as a freshman. Finally, I would like to thank everyone involved in the Carleton/St. Olaf Summer Program, the Penn State MASS program, and the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics; you have all positively influenced my mathematics career.
Runner-up: Sami Assaf
Sami Assaf is a senior mathematics and philosophy major at the University of Notre Dame. One recommender says she "is the 'best' undergraduate student that I have ever taught." Her results from the Williams College REU program, on the Hermite problem in number theory, will be part of a research paper. She has written many expository papers on advanced undergraduate material, including one which won Notre Dame's Taliaferro Competition in the History of Mathematics. She is currently taking four graduate mathematics courses and is expected to be "courted by many of the nation's best graduate mathematics programs later this academic year."
Response from Assaf
It is a great honor for me to be recognized as a runner-up for the Alice T. Schafer Prize for undergraduate women in mathematics. I would like to thank the Association for Women in Mathematics for establishing this prize and for recognizing me among the outstanding women mathematicians who have received this honor. I would also like to thank Dr. Peter Cholak for first recognizing and nurturing my ability in mathematics and for clearing the way for me to develop my ability, Dr. Frank Connolly for his encouragement and support both as a teacher and as a mentor, and also Sean Borman without whose encouragement I would not have become a math major.
Runner-up: Suzanne S. Sindi
Suzanne S. Sindi is a senior mathematics major and President's Scholar at California State University, Fullerton. She has excelled academically, both in her coursework and in two substantial research projects. Her results from the Cornell University REU program, on a model of chromosome size evolution, have been submitted for publication; her research at Cal State Fullerton on bifurcation for one-parameter families of scalar maps has already been published. In addition, Suzanne has won numerous awards, including Honorable Mention in the Mathematical Modeling Competition. Her nominations speak of her "exceptionally strong mathematical ability and professional promise."
Response from Sindi
I feel greatly honored to have been named as a runner-up for the Alice T. Schafer Prize by the Association for Women in Mathematics. I would like to express my gratitude to the wonderful mathematics department at Cal State Fullerton and to Mario Martelli, Stephen Goode, Ernie Solheid and Richard Durrett for their support. These professors have inspired me tremendously. I would also like to thank my family and those involved with the Cornell REU program.
Honorable Mention: Alice Chan
Alice Chan is a senior who is a double major in mathematics and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. One recommender writes "I consider Alice to be one of the strongest two or three students I have ever had." Her nominations also speak of her "lively interest in mathematics" and her "mature and wide ranging intellectual curiosity." Alice has presented her research on Konane ("Hawaian checkers") at an MSRI workshop on Combinatorial Games and submitted it for publication. Her results are now "the strongest known on one-dimensional Konane." In addition to her research accomplishments, Alice has excelled in her coursework at Berkeley and is currently taking a graduate course, Introduction to Topology & Analysis.
Response from Alice Chan
I would like to thank the Association for Women in Mathematics honoring me. It is a most welcomed surprise and I cannot fully express my gratitude. I would also like to thank Professors Keith Miller, Charles Pugh, Richard Borcherds, Tom Hadfield and especially Elwyn Berlekamp for their help and encouragement.
Honorable Mention: Crystal Hoyt
Crystal Hoyt is a senior mathematics major at Texas A&M;University. She studied representations of solvable Lie super-algebras as part of a REU program at Texas A&M and then in a graduate course; her results were of publishable quality. She is currently taking two graduate courses, in Algebra and Combinatorics. When the department discussed the Schafer Prize, "five different faculty members... independently suggested Crystal as a potential nominee."
Response from Crystal Hoyt
I want to thank the Association for Women in Mathematics for this honor. I would like to thank the faculty of the Texas A&M Mathematics Department for their dedication to the education of their students, and especially Professor Jon McCammond for guiding and inspiring me.