REU Program at the UW
Graduate Students Recognized at the Fourth Annual Graduate Awards Ceremony
The fourth annual Graduate Awards Ceremony, honoring outstanding graduate students in mathematics who received awards and fellowships during the past year, was held in the Mathematics Department lounge on November 13, 2003. Two Excellence in Teaching Awards and five Academic Excellence Awards were given. In addition to a certificate, each award includes a $1,000 supplementary academic stipend.
Mathematics students also received a number of fellowships and other awards, including two Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) fellowships, a McFarlan fellowship, six Vertical Integration Grant for Research and Education (VIGRE) fellowships, a Graduate Opportunity Research Assistantship, five Top Scholar Awards sponsored by the Graduate School, and two Microsoft Scholar Awards.
Academic Excellence Awards recognize outstanding performance in both core graduate mathematics courses and the Ph.D. qualifying exams. The Excellence in Teaching Award is given each fall to two of our Teaching Assistants for outstanding teaching performance in undergraduate mathematics courses. This year's Excellence Awards are funded by endowments created by Carl B. Allendoerfer, Z. William Birnbaum, and Edwin Hewitt, all of whom were distinguished mathematicians and members of the Department. Allendoerfer, who served as chair of this department from 1951 to 1962, is well-known for his research in differential geometry. Birnbaum served as an active and emeritus faculty member from 1939 until his death in 2000; he is widely recognized for his many contributions to both probability and statistics. Hewitt supervised 37 doctoral students during his forty-four years in the Department. He is best known for his fundamental contributions to analysis.
This year's Excellence in Teaching awardees are Chris Hanusa and Kelly Jabbusch. They were selected by the TA Advisory Committee from more than a dozen candidates. Chris Hanusa was nominated by Dr. Katia Vesztergombi for his work in one of our mathematical modeling classes, Math 381. Dr. Vesztergombi wrote that in ``a very complex course ... in every aspect of the class he was able to contribute.'' His student evaluations started about halfway between ``very good'' and ``excellent'' his first quarter at UW, and went up from there! Kelly Jabbusch was described by one of her supervisors as ``a model TA .... Her classes should be videotaped for demonstration to other TAs.'' Our business calculus courses, Math 111/112, have a student clientele which is often demanding and more critical of instructors than in other courses, which reduces the popularity of these courses among TAs. Kelly has specialized in teaching these courses for the last five quarters. Even with these students, Kelly keeps her student evaluations in the ``very good'' to ``excellent'' range.
Academic Excellence Awards were presented to Matthew Ballard, Ryan Card, Matias Courdurier, Luke Gutzwiller, and Jun Zhang. All but Zhang, who is a first-year student, are beginning their second year of study at the UW. Having recently completed the qualifying exam for the Ph.D., these students are now beginning to specialize. Ryan, Matt, and Zhang are all considering working on problems related to probability theory. Matias is currently torn between his competing interests in optimization and inverse scattering, while Luke wants to work in the representation theory of algebras.
David Maxwell, a fourth year student studying differential geometry, is this year's McFarlan fellow. The McFarlan fellowship program, which began in 1992, provides support for graduate students through a bequest given for this purpose by the late Professor Lee McFarlan of the Mathematics Department.
Two of our entering students, Joshua Kantor and Troy Winfree, were awarded Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation Fellowships this year, bringing to five the total number of ARCS fellowships currently held by mathematics students. Joshua Kantor, who graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University, received the Ruth B. Clayburgh ARCS Founders Fellowship. Troy Winfree, who received his B.S. degree from UC Santa Cruz, is the recipient of an ARCS Designated Fellowship. They join Matthew Ballard, who holds the Jane & James Hawkanson Fellowship, Ryan Card who has a Simpson Family Fellowship, and Matt Kahle who has the Andrew Gavin Gaudette Fellowship. The ARCS Foundation is a national organization of women who raise funds for fellowships in science, medicine and engineering. ARCS Fellowships are $15,000 awards, funded over three years at the level of $5,000 annually. ARCS Founders Fellowships are $30,000 awards, introduced this year to improve recruitment results in programs facing exceptional levels of national competition.
Microsoft Scholar Awards were given to two entering students, Zsuzsanna Dansco from the University of Hungary and Leo Tzou from the University of British Columbia. They join Ilgar Eroglu, a third year student in complex analysis, Kris Kissel, a fourth year student in geometric analysis, Pablo Shmerkin, a third year student studying fractal geometry, Matias Courdurier, Luke Gutzwiller, and David Maxwell, bringing the number of Microsoft Scholars to eight. These $20,000 awards, in the form of four yearly supplementary stipends of $5,000, are funded by a gift from the Microsoft Corporation.
Ursula Whitcher, who received her B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College, is the recipient of a Graduate Opportunity Research Assistantship, sponsored by the Graduate Opportunity and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP), for the purpose of bringing outstanding women and minority candidates to our Ph.D. program. The award provides support, without teaching duties, during three academic quarters.
Top Scholar Awards are $6,000 recruitment awards made available by the Graduate School to help with the recruitment of outstanding applicants. This year's recipients are Nathaniel Blair-Stahn (B.S., University of Arizona), Qiuying Lin (M.S., Xiamen University, Tiantian Luo (B.S., from Peking University, Beijing), Tak-Lun Koo (M.S., Boston College), and Jun Zhang (M.S., University of Utah).
Six Mathematics graduate students are VIGRE fellows this year. VIGRE fellowships are funded by a joint grant to the UW departments of Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, and Statistics from the VIGRE program of the National Science Foundation. Each award provides fellowship support, without teaching duties, during two academic quarters and the summer. This year's VIGRE fellows in the Department of Mathematics are Eric Bahuaud, a third-year student studying differential geometry; Matthew Blair, a second-year student studying hyperbolic partial differential equations; Anton Dochtermann, a third-year student in combinatorics; Matthew Kahle, a third-year student specializing in combinatorics; Travis Kopp, a first-year student interested in differential geometry, and Jason Swanson, a fourth-year student studying financial mathematics and stochastic partial differential equations.
Graduate students play a central role in all activities of our department: they share in the teaching of undergraduate courses, they are students in our graduate courses, and they are active participants in our research program. For the continued success of our program, it is vital that we continue to recruit from among the most talented students; these awards help us to compete successfully with other math graduate programs around the country. (See the article Good Times for the Graduate Program for a report on how well our recruiting has been going.)
[Note from the editor: your donations are crucial in helping to fund these awards. If you would like to help support our graduate program, visit our web site and click on ``Giving to Math.'' Also, we usually include photos from the awards ceremony in the newsletter, but the ceremony was held too late this year to do so.]