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Math Students and Faculty Earn Awards and Honors in 2017-18

June 12, 2018

This article appeared in the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 Bryn Mawr Math Alumnae Newsletter.

Kim Cassidy Ying Yan Photo
President Kim Cassidy congratulates Ying Yan at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony.


Ying Yan ’18, a triple major in history of art, mathematics, and physics, was awarded the European Traveling Fellowship, one of the two highest academic awards given by the Undergraduate College to honor members of the graduating class for work of surpassing excellence and to support study towards an advanced degree. She also graduated from Bryn Mawr with the distinction summa cum laude. Ying will begin a Ph.D. program in Physics at Harvard University this fall.

Sarah Gift ’18, an A.B./M.A. student in mathematics pursuing a neuroscience minor, received the Anna Pell Wheeler Prize in Mathematics. Sarah successfully defended her A.B./M.A. thesis entitled Exploring Oscillatory Integral Operators for Functions in Higher Dimensions on May 8. Sarah also graduated from Bryn Mawr with the distinction summa cum laude.

Boyang Su ’18, an A.B./M.A. student in mathematics, received the Charlotte Angas Scott Prize in Mathematics. Boyang successfully defended her A.B./M.A. thesis on Statistics of Perturbed Laplacian Eigenfunctions on May 8. Moreover, Boyang graduated from Bryn Mawr with the distinction summa cum laude.

Manroocha Singh ’18, a mathematics major and Education minor, obtained the Gail Ann Schweiter Prize awarded to a science or mathematics major who has shown excellence in both her major field and in musical performance.

Math majors Anna Kyle ’20, Campbell Powell ’20, and Haley Varnum ’19, all members of the College’s Cross Country and Indoor Track and Field Teams, made the 2017 Centennial Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll and the 2018 Centennial Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll in recognition for their academic performance and performance on the field. Anna is pursuing a German major in addition to the math major, while Haley is a double major with chemistry.

Kim Cassidy Samantha Pezzimenti Photo
Samantha Pezzimenti being hooded at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony.

Established in 2018, the Community Building Honor Roll honors students who have made important contributions to creating a sense of belonging, inclusiveness, and community on campus. The following math majors were on the inaugural Community Building Honor Roll: Leah Baker ’19, Jill Li ’18, Rachel Miller ’18, Manroocha Singh ’18, Jwahir Sundai ’19, Lia Yoo ’18, and Koko Zhang ’19. Math Ph.D. student Samantha Pezzimenti ’18 also received this honor.

Jill Li ’18, Rachel Miller ’18, and Rachel Terry ’18 won the 2018 Mary Louise Cookson Prize in Mathematics in recognition of their exceptional service that has contributed to the life of the department. This prize was established in 2007 in honor of Mary Louise Cookson’s extraordinary contributions to mathematics at Bryn Mawr College.

In 1997, the last year of Mary Patterson McPherson’s presidency at Bryn Mawr, the Trustees established the McPherson Fund for Excellence to celebrate the Bryn Mawr values that McPherson has personified, particularly her commitment to the entire College community. The McPherson Awards inspire and honor outstanding faculty and staff members, graduate students, and undergraduates. Math graduate student Isaac Craig won the McPherson Award for Excellence at the 2018 Convocation on May 18. This is the second year in a row that a mathematics graduate student has won this award. Math Ph.D. student Samantha Pezzimenti won the McPherson Award for Excellence at the 2017 Convocation on May 12. So far Chair and Professor of Mathematics Lisa Traynor is the only math faculty member to obtain this award (at the 2017 Commencement on May 13). Recipients are recognized for excellence and service to the community, either within or beyond the boundaries of this institution.

Lisa Traynor has been elected to the AMIAS Board of Trustees (at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton). She also won the 2018 Faculty Mentorship Award at the 12th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium on April 3, 2018. She was nominated for this award by GSAS students and the Graduate Council.

Mary Osirim Peter Kasius Photo
Provost Mary Osirim congratulates Peter Kasius for his award at 2018 Commencement Ceremony.

Instructor in Mathematics Peter Kasius won the 2018 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. This award is presented to a member of the faculty for exceptional teaching every few years. Previous members of the Bryn Mawr Math Department who received this prestigious award were Mary Louise Cookson, former Senior Program Coordinator and Instructor in Mathematics, in 1993, and  Professor Emeritus Helen Grundman in 2014.

Professor Leslie Cheng was awarded the Rachel C. Hale Chair at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony. This Chair was established in 1988 by the Board of Trustees, and it is awarded to a full professor in recognition of excellence in teaching and in scholarship. Prof. Cheng is the second person from the Math Department to be awarded this Chair. Prof. Paul Melvin previously held this Chair from 2000–08.

Haley Varnum ’19, a double major in math and chemistry in the A.B./M.A. program for chemistry, is a recipient of a 2018 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. This scholarship is given by the U.S. Congress to sophomores and juniors to finance the last two to three years of their undergraduate education in the sciences. This award will allow Haley to continue her research in Professor of Chemistry Sharon Burgmayer’s lab. Haley is the first Bryn Mawr student to receive this scholarship since 2011. 

Kara Breeden Commencement
Kara Breeden wearing her yellow Student-Athlete stole on Commencement Day.

Kara Breeden ’18, a member of the College’s Soccer and Basketball Teams, made the 2017 Centennial Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll and the 2018 Centennial Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll in recognition of her academic performance and her performance on the basketball court and on the soccer field. Kara is a double major in computer science and mathematics.

Rachel Terry ’18 graduated from Bryn Mawr with the distinction summa cum laude.

Victor Donnay, Professor of Mathematics on the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to work with a group of 15 Philadelphia high school teachers on education for sustainability. The group considered how to include topics of sustainability in their teaching through the use of place-based projects.

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