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Mathematics Department Hosts Annual Ceremony

The Department of Mathematics held its annual Lonseth Lecture and departmental award ceremony on April 19, 4:30-7pm in the CH2M Hill Alumni center. Following the awards ceremony, the 34th Lonseth speaker, Dr. Mai Gehrke, presented her talk “Using Abstract Structures to Study Algorithmic Complexity Questions.” Automata are very simple computational models. They are important in applications of computer science but also serve as a laboratory for studying the complexity of algorithms. In this talk, Dr. Gehrke introduced automata and described how finite monoids, certain very abstract algebraic structures, may be assigned as invariants of automata. She illustrated how these invariants are powerful enough to make deep computational questions decidable. Finally, she gave a glimpse of an idea how this can be generalized to provide sophisticated mathematical tools for the study of computational complexity classes.

Bill Bogley, Vrushali Bokil and Lonseth speaker Mai Gehrke.
(From left to right):  Department Head Bill Bogley, and Associate Head, Vrushali Bokil with Lonseth speaker Mai Gehrke.

Mai Gehrke is a Senior Research Director in Theoretical Computer Science at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), currently affiliated with the Institut Jean Alexandre Dieudonné in Nice where she moved from the Institut de Recherche en Informatique Fondamentale of Université Paris Diderot. Previously she held the chair in Algebra and Logic at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen in the Netherlands and a Full Professorship in mathematics at New Mexico State University in the United States.

Department of Mathematics Awards

The Department of Mathematics presented awards to undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty. Undergraduate and graduate students receive awards for demonstrating outstanding work and dedication, while graduate and faculty awards recognize excellence in teaching and research. In particular, the department introduced two new awards this year: The Mathematics Student Success Award and the Mathematics Majors Award for Teaching.

The Department of Mathematics extends special thanks to the many alumni, emerita/e, and friends who support the department. Many of the Lonseth program awards carry financial scholarships for students, especially undergraduates, to help them cover the cost of their university educations. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our donors who make this support possible.

This year’s award recipients are:

Winners of the Joel Davis Award in 2019.
Joel Davis Award for Excellence in Mathematics (from left to right): Aaliyah Fiala, Prof. Thomann (presenter) and Benjamin Sharkansky.
Recipients of the Botond Gabor Eross Memorial Scholarship in 2019.
Botond Gabor Eross Memorial Scholarship (from left to right front row): Anthony Netz, Mattia Carbonaro, and Michael Kupperman, with Prof. Thomann (presenter).
Recipients of the Edward H Stockwell Award in 2019.
Edward H. Stockwell Award (from left to right): Francisco Bolanos, John Meo, Prof. Thomann (presenter), Jeremy Shahan, and Megan Tucker.
Recipients of the Goheen Memorial Scholarship of 2019.
Harry and Molly Goheen Memorial Scholarship (from left to right): Prof. Thomann (presenter) and Justin Bloom.
Recipients of the Actuarial Science award in 2019.
Actuarial Science Award (from left to right): Manny Hur (presenter), Andrew Colburn, and Sally Fletcher.
Recipients of the Musser Award in 2019.
Gary L. Musser Award (from left to right): Camryn Kimberly and Prof. Dick (presenter).
Recipients of the WIC Culture of Writing Award in 2019.
WIC Culture of Writing Award (from left to right): Prof. Gibson (presenter) and Sara Tro.
Recipients of the Burger Graduate Teaching Award in 2019.
William F. Burger Graduate Teaching Award (from left to right): Prof. Swisher (presenter) and Sarah Hagen.
Recipients of the Outstanding Coursework Award in 2019.
Outstanding Performance in Coursework Award (from left to right): Prof. Peszynska (presenter), Michael Allen, and Naren Vohra; not pictured: Paul Dalenberg, Chung-Ping Lai, Slade Sanderson, and Benjamin Toomey.
Recipients of the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Qualifying Exams in 2019.
Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Qualifying Exams (from left to right): Prof. Peszynska (presenter), Patrick Donaghue and Leah Sturman.

Graduate Student Excellence Award: Naveen Somasunderam (not pictured).

Recipients of the Graduate Faculty Award in 2019.
Graduate Faculty Award (from left to right): Elaine Cozzi and Branwen Purdy (presenter).
Recipients of the Davis Faculty Award in 2019.
Joel Davis Faculty Award (from left to right): Vrushali Bokil, Prof. Higdon (presenter), Nathan Gibson.
Recipients of the Mathematics Student Success Award in 2019.
Mathematics Student Success Award (from left to right): Katie Pacosa (presenter) and Daniel Rockwell.
Recipients of the Mathematics Major Award for Teaching in 2019.
Mathematics Majors Award for Teaching (from left to right): Robert Higdon and Sara Tro (presenter).

The talk was proceeded by an informal meeting with the speaker, Gehrke, and visitor Martin Krupa, as well as an informational table set up by our Actuarial Club.

The Actuarial Science Club in 2019.
Informational table hosted by our Actuarial Club, advised by Manny Hur.

Following the award ceremony was a catered reception where undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff reflected on the preceding year as well as the Lonseth lecture.

Attendees during the reception of the Lonseth Lecture in 2019.
Lonseth reception.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thanks to our office staff, Joy King, Deanne Murray and Lisa Rogers (not in attendance), for helping to put this event together!

Joy King and Deanne Murray at the Lonseth Lecture 2019.
(From left to right): Joy King and Deanne Murray.