Tenth Annual Alice T. Schafer Prize

posted Jul 9, 2010, 6:07 PM by Glenna Buford

January 2000, Washington DC

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 Tenth Annual Alice T. Schafer Prize to an outstanding young woman mathematician: Mariana E. Campbell of the University of California, San Diego.

Additionally, five outstanding young women were recognized at the conclusion of the AWM Panel on Wednesday, January 19, 2000. AWM was pleased to recognize Sarah E. Dean, a senior mathematics major at Duke University and Beth Robinson, a senior mathematics major at Carleton College, who were nominated and selected as runners-up in the Schafer Prize competition. AWM was further pleased to recognize three outstanding women who were nominated and given an honorable mention in the Schafer Prize competition: Jaclyn Kohles, a junior mathematics major at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Fumei Lam, a senior mathematics major at the University of California at Berkeley; and Camillia Smith, a senior at Michigan State University who is spending a year in Paris while completing dual bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and English.


Citation: Mariana E. Campbell

Mariana E. Campbell is currently a senior at the University of California at San Diego. After distinguishing herself ("best in the class") as a junior in both undergraduate and graduate classes at UCSD, Ms. Campbell participated in the Mount Holyoke REU program where the faculty described her as "astonishing". Her output from that program is a paper "The Igusa local zeta function for the different reduction types of the special fiber of an elliptic curve" that is currently being revised for publication. As one of her recommenders wrote, "Mari is getting into current interesting and difficult research topics at a point in her career several years earlier than the typical student". Ms. Campbell gave a talk on this work at the Mathfest '99 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. She will also give a talk on this topic at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (Washington, D.C.) in the special session entitled: Research in Mathematics by Undergraduates on Saturday, January 22, 2000. In addition to being a fine mathematician, Ms. Campbell is a talented violinist. The consensus is that Ms. Campbell has "the drive, intellect, and creativity to become a leading mathematician". She is "remarkable" and "someone who will make a difference in the lives of those around her down the line".

Response from Campbell

I feel very honored to be awarded the Association for Women in Mathematics Alice T. Schafer Prize. I would like to thank the AWM for encouraging women to study mathematics and for continuing to recognize the achievements of women mathematicians at all stages of their careers. I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to my mentors: Harold Stark, Audrey Terras, Margaret Robinson, Peter Doyle, Mark Peterson, and Ron Evans for their generous support and for sharing their enthusiasm in mathematics.

I thank the participants of the Mount Holyoke College REU, Mark Peterson, and especially my advisor Margaret Robinson for a very exciting and productive summer. I also thank the UCSD math community for being an incredible source of stimulation, support, and encouragement.


Runner-Up: Sarah E. Dean

Sarah E. Dean is a senior mathematics major at Duke University. She is a recipient of the prestigious Barry W. Goldwater Scholarship and participated in the Director's Summer Program at the National Security Agency during the summer of 1998. Her mentor at NSA describes her as "one of the top two performers in this fantastically talented group of 22."

Her professors at Duke say that she "has taken nearly all the advanced undergraduate and most first and second year graduate courses at Duke" and is "one of the best undergraduates we have had at Duke University."

Response from Ms. Dean

I want to thank the Association for Women in Mathematics for honoring me, and especially for recognizing my school, Duke University. Duke's math faculty have been wonderfully supportive of me, and dedicated to teaching even outside of the classroom. I especially want to thank David Kraines, Bill Pardon, Greg Lawler, Chad Schoen, Robert Bryant, and my advisor Paul Aspinwall.


Runner-Up: Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson is a senior mathematics major at Carleton College. Beth is lauded by one of her professors as "the only person ever in my 12 years of teaching undergraduates to earn a perfect score on an exam" - as a sophomore in an upperdivision course. She participated in the St. Olaf Summer Mathematics Program for Women in 1998 and the REU at the University of Minnesota at Duluth in 1999. As a result, she authored two professional level publishable papers. Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year, Beth devotes long hours to tutoring in Carleton's Math Skills Center and still makes time for painting and folkdancing.

Response from Ms. Robinson

I would like to thank the AWM for naming me as a runner-up for the Alice T. Schafer Prize. It is a far greater honor than I ever expected to receive. I'd also like to thank Professor Stephen Kennedy for nominating me and for all his other help and encouragement.


Honorable Mention: Jacklyn A. Kohles

Jacklyn A. Kohles is currently a junior at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Ms. Kohles had performed brilliantly at UNL, with a 4.0 GPA in classes that include 11 senior level math classes and 3 graduate clases.In addition, she has participated in the Pennsylvania State University MASS program, the Budapest Semester in Mathematics, and an REU at Carlton College. Her work in the MASS program resulted in a paper on the classification of simultaneous t1 and t2 cores that is currently being revised so that it can be submitted for publication.

Ms. Kohles has "blossomed into a mature mathematician" with a "talent, drive, and enthusiasm for mathematics". She is a "gifted student who will become a gifted researcher".

Response from Ms. Kohles

Knowing two of the other honorees in this year's Alice T. Schafer Prize, I can tell that it is an excellent group of women, and I thank the AWM for including me in this group. I would like to thank all of the faculty and staff at Nebraska for their help and guidance. I would also like to thank all those involved in the Carleton/St. Olaf summer program, Penn State MASS program, and Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. These people and programs have benefited me immeasurably.


Honorable Mention: Fumei Lam

Fumei Lam is currently a senior at the University of California at Berkely. Ms. Lam has participated in REUs at the College of William and Mary and at Michigan Technological University as well as the Budapest Semester in Mathematics. Her work in the REUs resulted in two papers: "Completely Positive Matrices and Their Graphs" (joint with J.H. Drew and C.R. Johnson) and "Random Sidon Sequences" (joint with A.P. Godbole, L. Fidkowsi and D. Ying). In 1999 she was one of 17 math majors natioanlly to receive the prestigious Barry W. Goldwater Scholarship.

Ms. Lam is praised for her" creativity " and "singleminded purpose". Her prospects for success as a mathematician are "excellent".

Response from Ms. Lam

I would like to thank the Association for Women in Mathematics for awarding this prize. I am indebted to the math department at Berkeley and would like to express my appreciation to the many people who have guided and inspired me. I would especially like to thank Professors John Drew, Anant Godbole, Robin Hartshorne, Charles Johnson, Lior Pachter, and Alistair Sinclair.


Honorable Mention: Camillia Smith

Camillia Smith is a third-year senior at Michigan State University, spending a year in Paris while completing her B.S. in Mathematics and her B.A. in English. While still in high school, she biked two miles after running with the school's cross country team to take courses at Michigan State. Winner of the University's most prestigious Award, the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, she studied senior level mathematics during freshman year. A professor says that "she knew instinctively how to write lucid mathematical prose and her grasp of the idiom of proof was flawless." Participant in the REUs at the University of Minnesota at Duluth and at Michigan Technological University led to fine research papers. Cammie has a passion for mathematics and for classical music, being a violinist in the Michigan State orchestra.

Response from Ms. Smith

I am most grateful to the AWM for honoring me in the Schafer Prize competition. I would like to recognize my indebtedness to the following: my family; Joseph Gallian and Anant Godbole for their invaluable advice and research supervision; Robert Messer for his encouragement and Ruth Favro for her longstanding example; and above all, for its continued support, the faculty of the mathematics department at Michigan State, especially Jacob Plotkin, Susan Schuur, Jeanne Wald, and Edward Ingraham.