Women’s History Month, Promoting Women in Mathematics

March is Women’s History Month.

Each week in March, the JCW honors successful women in mathematics.

March 2022 Women Honored:

Maria

Dr. Maria Andersen

Dr. Maria Andersen teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City Utah and is the General Manager and CPO of Coursetune. She is a neo-generalist with degrees in biology, math, chemistry, business, and educational leadership who has spent most of her career teaching at the college level and developing digital products for learning. For ten years she taught mathematics full-time at Muskegon Community College while serving in many roles within MichMATYC, AMATYC, and the broader math community. Dr. Andersen’s life mission has been to improve learning and assessment in Higher Education.

Marsha Berger

Marsha Berger

Marsha Berger is a pioneer in the fields of computational fluid dynamics, adaptive numerical methods, and high-performance parallel computing. Her current work focuses on developing stable finite volume methods for embedded boundary meshes.  Her work is used at NASA to simulate large scale fluid flows around complicated geometries using cut-cell meshes. She is part of the team that created Cart3D, a NASA code that is used extensively for aerodynamic simulations.  Cart3D received the NASA 2002 Software of the Year Award, and was instrumental in understanding the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster.   She also works on modeling tsunamis and other geophysical flows, as part of the GeoClaw open source software project.

Berger is currently both a group leader in the Center for Computational Mathematics (CCM) at the Flatiron Institute and a Silver Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Courant Institute at New York University.  She was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Faculty Award for Women, the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, and the 2019 Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics.  Berger has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Naiomi Cameron

Naiomi Cameron

Naiomi Cameron is an innovative, conscientious, and vibrant leader in the mathematics community. She is a full professor at Spelman College with a research program specializing in enumerative and algebraic combinatorics. 

She served as Vice President of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) from 2019-2022 and Chair of the NAM Program Committee. As such, she was responsible for organizing and implementing high-quality programming for NAM members, underrepresented minority students and professionals in the mathematical sciences, and the broader mathematics community. Encouraged by the mission of NAM, Naiomi successfully maintained the continuity of NAM’s signature programming throughout the pandemic including NAM MATHFest, NAM Faculty Conference for Research and Teaching Excellence (FCRTE), the NAM Haynes-Granville-Browne Session of Presentations by Recent Doctoral Recipients at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM), and has been actively involved in a host of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. As Director of the Mathematics Research and Mentoring Program (Math RaMP) at Spelman College, she supports undergraduate research experiences aimed at promoting graduate study in the mathematical sciences. As Co-Director and 2020 On-Site Director of the African Diaspora Joint Mathematics Workshop (ADJOINT), she helps to foster in-person research collaborations between U.S. mathematicians, especially those from the African Diaspora.

Naiomi inspires the next generation of mathematicians through invited research talks and student mentoring opportunities made available by grants awarded to advance her research and scholarly activities. Currently, she serves as the vice-chair of the Department of Mathematics and in Fall 2022, she will lead the Department as chair.

Moon Duchin

Dr. Moon Duchin

The Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (JCW) honors Dr. Moon Duchin, Professor of Tufts University, Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, for her work in geometric group theory, Teichmüller theory, and gerrymandering.  She is also Senior Fellow in the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University and serves as the founding director of the interdisciplinary program in Science, Technology, and Society.  Duchin recently spent time as a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study While at Radcliffe, she focused on “Political Geometry: The Mathematics of Redistricting”.  Her work now involves applying tools from geometric group theory and data analysis to an analysis of gerrymandering.  She has served as an advisor to Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania in assessing redistricting maps and recently supplied candidates for redistricting maps for the State of Alabama.  Throughout her career, Duchin has been interested and active in finding solutions to challenges pertaining to gender and LGBTQ+ issues.  

Ranthony Edmonds

Ranthony Edmonds

Ranthony Ashley Clark Edmonds is an NSF MPS Ascending Postdoctoral Researcher at The Ohio State University. Her research interests include commutative ring theory, applied algebraic topology, and mathematics education. She earned a PhD in Mathematics in 2018 from the University of Iowa, an MS in Mathematical Sciences from Eastern Kentucky University in 2013, and a BA in English and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky in 2011. 

As an undergraduate, Dr. Edmonds often felt like an ‘accidental mathematician.’ Originally a pre-med major, she switched her major to math by enrolling in Calc 1 as a second semester junior. Due to her late entrance into the major, she struggled to find community with her peers, felt isolated as the only Black female in her math courses, and often worked alone. Through active mentorship and persistence in her graduate programs, she was able to create a network to help her combat the idea that she does not belong. 

Now, Dr. Edmonds is driven to help build community in mathematics. She has a passion for using storytelling and hidden narratives in STEM to enact her career mission: to increase access to mathematics through community engaged scholarship. In 2019 she co-created the first service-learning course in the Department of Mathematics at The Ohio State University entitled, ‘Intersections of Mathematics and Society: Hidden Figures.’ In 2021 she was awarded a Racial Justice Grant as the PI of the project “Hidden Figures Revealed: Dynamic History and Narratives of Black Mathematicians from The Ohio State University,” which is the first comprehensive study of black mathematicians at a single US institution.

When she is not ‘mathing’ Dr. Edmonds enjoys strength training, cycling, and hiking. She is also an avid indoor gardener with an average of 10 plants in every room in her house. She is married to a photographer and videographer named Joshua and together they love to cook and take care of their black cat named Neon.

Olivia Prosper

Olivia Prosper

Olivia Prosper is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior to her time at Knoxville, Prosper was an assistant professor at University of Kentucky, Lexington.  She did a postdoc at Dartmouth College and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Her research interests lie at the interface between mathematics and biology, with much of her work focused on developing and analyzing mathematical models of infectious disease dynamics to better understand the interplay between different types of heterogeneities affecting disease dynamics and disease control measures. Her current work related to this topic focuses on three main topics: (1) linking within-host pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to population-level vector-borne disease transmission and the implications for the spread of drug resistant pathogens (supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)), (2) modeling the generation of within-vector parasite diversity and the subsequent spread of genetically distinct parasite populations, and (3) understanding population-level dynamics arising from heterogeneity in spatial transmission patterns and host movement.  Her contributions to COVID-19 modeling have been published in Science and Nature.

Prosper is also interested in problems related to model identifiability. Often there is a mismatch between the data available and the data needed to determine reliable estimates of model parameters. In 2021, Prosper was awarded an NSF CAREER award to design methodologies to bridge this gap.

Susan Murphy

Susan Murphy

Susan Murphy is best known for her work to improve medical care, particularly for people facing chronic or relapsing health conditions. She translates statistical theory into powerful tools for evaluating and tailoring complex medical therapies in order to provide personalized and effective treatment for conditions, such as depression, substance use, and obesity, that take a high toll on individuals and communities and for which treatment is currently often insufficient or simply unavailable. Her work focuses on designing and evaluating systems for providing treatment. While the standard clinical trial paradigm simply tests and compares “one shot” treatments in a defined population, Murphy’s Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) offered a way to learn how best to dynamically adapt treatment to each individual’s response over time.  Further, to help improve treatments delivered by smartphones and wearables, she developed the micro-randomized trial (MRT); this trial provides data that researchers can use to decide whether and when supportive suggestions, tips and reminders are most useful to individuals.  Murphy’s lab is engaged in various clinical trials using real-time algorithms to learn and optimize the delivery of digital interventions.

Murphy earned her BS in Mathematics from Louisiana State University and her PhD in Statistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her academic career at Pennsylvania State University, then moved to the University of Michigan, and finally to Harvard, where she is Mallinckrodt Professor of Statistics and of Computer Science and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. For her work on trial designs and analytics, she was awarded a McArthur Fellowship in 2013, elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2014 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Talithia Williams

Talithia Williams

Statistician Talithia Williams is an innovative, award-winning college professor, a co-host of the PBS NOVA series NOVA Wonders and a speaker whose popular TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data”, extols the value of statistics in quantifying personal health information. She demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways to excite students, parents, educators and the larger community about STEM education and its possibilities.  In 2022, Williams was awarded the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award for bringing mathematics and statistics into the homes and hands of millions through her work as a TV host, renowned speaker and author.  In 2015, she won the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member, which honors faculty members whose teaching is effective and extraordinary, and extends its influence beyond the classroom.  It is this excellence that attracted the attention of online educational company The Great Courses, which selected Williams to produce “Learning Statistics: Concepts and Applications in R,” a series of lectures in which she provides tools to understand and analyze statistical data. She is the author of “Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics”, a full-color book highlighting the influence of women in the mathematical sciences in the last two millennia and has narrated several science documentary films including; Hindenburg: The New Evidence, Our Beautiful Planet, Secrets in our DNA, and the joint BBC and NOVA 5-part series Universe.  Williams is a proud graduate of Spelman College (B.A., mathematics), Howard University (M.S., mathematics) and Rice University (M.A., Ph.D., statistics). Her research involves developing statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and applying them to problems in the environment. She’s worked at NASA, National Security Agency and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has partnered with the World Health Organization on research regarding cataract surgical rates in African countries. Faith and family round out a busy life that she shares with her husband and three amazing boys.  Through her research and work in the community at large, she is helping change the collective mindset regarding STEM in general and math in particular, rebranding the field of mathematics as anything but dry, technical or male-dominated but, instead, a logical, productive career path that is crucial to the future of the country.

 

Women honored in the past

March 2021 

Bin Yu

Dr. Bin Yu

The Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (JCW) honors Dr. Bin Yu, a world leader in data science, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor and Class of 1936 Second Chair in departments of Statistics and EECS at UC Berkeley (https://binyu.stat.berkeley.edu/). Together with the Yu Group, her work has leveraged new computational developments to solve important scientific problems by combining novel statistical machine learning approaches with the domain expertise of her many collaborators in neuroscience, genomics and precision medicine. She and her students and postdocs develop relevant theory to understand random forests and deep learning for insight into and guidance for practice. In particular, she and collaborators have developed the PCS framework for veridical data science (or responsible, reliable, and transparent data analysis and decision-making). PCS stands for predictability, computability and stability, and it unifies, streamlines, and expands on ideas and best practices of machine learning and statistics. Moreover, she led research in statistical machine learning (e.g. boosting, sparse modeling, kernel methods, and spectral clustering) and causal inference (e.g. X-learner) through theoretical analysis and practical fast algorithms. She pioneered Vapnik-Chervonenkis (VC) type theory needed for asymptotic analysis of time series and spatio-temporal processes, and made fundamental contributions to information theory and statistics through work on minimum description length (MDL) and entropy estimation.

thumbnail_Kathleen-Kavanagh

Dr. Katie Kavanagh

The Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (JCW) honors Dr. Katie Kavanagh who received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from North Carolina State University in 2003, and is now a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Clarkson University. In 2020 she was awarded the Robert A. Plane Endowed Chair. Her professional career has two emphases: research in applied optimization centered on simulation-based water resources, and STEM education. She is the VP for Education for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and the Director of the Institute for STEM Education at Clarkson University.  One of her proudest achievements is the IMPETUS for Career Success Program funded by the New York State Department of Education Science & Technology Entry Program, which she has co-directed for the last fifteen years. This student driven program provides STEM enrichment activities, academic support, college and career information, and mentoring to roughly 180 economically disadvantaged or under-represented students across 11 school districts in four counties in rural upstate New York. Early in her career, she received a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association for America and has served on multiple national committees, receiving the Service Award from the Association for Women in Mathematics in 2016. She is an advocate and a supporter of mathematical modeling across all grade levels giving over 20 workshops to teachers and students over the last several years and co-authoring a set of books for beginners funded by SIAM. She’s also a mother of two daughters, loves cooking and gardening, and escapes into the Adirondack Mountains to unwind and recharge as often as she can.

thumbnail_Weekes2

Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes

The Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences honors Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes, the Executive Director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)  in Women’s History Month.   Weekes recently stepped down from being Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to take on this new challenge as the chief executive of the leading professional society for applied mathematicians and computational scientists.  Her research interests have been in numerical methods for differential equations including applications to spatio-temporal composites and cancer growth, and on initiatives connecting the academic mathematics community to mathematics and statistics work in business, industry, and government. Weekes also co-directs the national PIC Math Program, and she is a founding co-director of the MSRI-UP. She is on the Board of Governors of TPSE Math.  She is the recipient of the 2019 Humphreys Award for Mentoring from the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is also a recipient of a 2020 Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America.

TaraHolm

Dr.Tara Suzanne Holm

The Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (JCW) honors Dr.Tara Suzanne Holm, mathematician at Cornell University specializing in algebraic geometry and symplectic geometry. Recent projects include: investigating origami structures: structures which are nearly but not quite symplectic; exploring the topology of symplectic quotients that are orbifolds; and computing symplectic invariants such as the Gromov width.  Holm graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 under the supervision of Victor Guillemin. She went on to a National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Research Postdoctoral Fellow for three years in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley before eventually joining the faculty at Cornell. In 2012, Holm became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. In 2013, Holm was awarded a Simons Fellowship. In 2019, Holm was awarded the Sze/Hernandez Teaching prize at Cornell. In 2019, Holm was the AWM/MAA Falconer Lecturer at MAA MathFest. She is a member of the Board of Governors of TPSE Math (Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics).

Take action by nominating successful women for awards in the mathematical sciences

AWM page soliciting nominations for prizes awarded by the major math societies

http://www.siam.org/prizes/nominations.php
http://www.siam.org/prizes/fellows/
http://www.maa.org/awards/
http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/prizes
http://www.amstat.org/awards/index.cfm

AWM Resources (Association For Women in Mathematics)

The AWM webpage offers information about AWM programs, events and activities at conference, prizes, etc.

Information from AWM-sponsored panels at the Joint Math Meetings addressing key issues:

Other websites with helpful resources

Women in Math at Maryland
Great list of resources and opportunities compiled by the University of Maryland by an AWM student chapter.

Women in Math Project
A collection of resources supporting women in mathematics compiled by Marie Vitulli. Includes publications on gender in math, biographies of women mathematical scientists, links to relevant websites, information and links to grants, fellowships, and scholarships,information on upcoming conferences and programs about and for women in math, information on associations, and reports on gender studies in STEM fields.

Black Women in Mathematics
This website aims to inspire by exhibiting the accomplishments of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora within the mathematical sciences. Less than 1% of all mathematicians are Black, and only 25% of these are women. This website includes a history and the biographies of black women mathematicians, important articles, links and statistics.