UNL-based conference for women in mathematics earns national award

Released on 04/17/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., April 17th, 2013 —

            An annual conference held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been nationally recognized for encouraging more women into the field of mathematics.

            The American Mathematical Society announced this week that the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics has been chosen as the annual winner of its Programs that Make a Difference Award for "its significant efforts to encourage women to continue in the study of mathematics," according to the announcement published Monday in the AMS news journal, Notices of the AMS.

            The conference became an annual event in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics 15 years ago with a direct goal of encouraging women to continue their studies and pursue careers in mathematics.

            Judy Walker, Aaron Douglas Professor and chair of UNL's mathematics department, said the conference was started at the request of the National Science Foundation after the department's 1998 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring.

            "That award was made on the basis of the department's success with women graduate students," Walker said. "At the awards ceremony at the White House, we were challenged to spend the small NSF grant that came with the award in a manner that would build upon and extend the work that led to the award.

            "The conference was created as a way of extending the mentoring to women at the undergraduate level, with the explicit goal of encouraging them to stay in mathematics and to continue their mathematical studies in graduate school."

            Since its inception in 1999, the conference has welcomed more than 2,600 women to campus to motivate and energize them to pursue further educational opportunities in mathematics. Through various activities, attendees are encouraged to pursue graduate studies in the field and are offered a clearer picture of where a career in mathematics can take them.

            In the article, one-time attendee Kalyani Madhu said: "It would be no exaggeration to say that the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics changed my life."

            David Manderscheid, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the impact of the conference cannot be overstated.

            "I am so pleased to see the department earn this honor and recognition," he said. "The Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics has a national reputation for bringing more women into mathematics. This honor is well-deserved."

            For more information on the award, go to http://go.unl.edu/0rf.

Writer: Deann Gayman, University Communications, 402-472-8320


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