Welcome to the Association for Women in Mathematics 2023 Elections!

This year, we are electing a President-Elect, a Treasurer, and four Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee. The Member-at-Large positions are contested.  Please vote. 

On or about November 10, 2023, eligible members will receive an email invitation to vote with an electronic ballot link in the email. A ballot is also included on page 11 of the November–December issue of the AWM Newsletter, for those who prefer to vote by mail. A validating signature is required on the envelope if you vote via paper ballot.

  • All ballots (electronic and paper) must be received by December 1, 2023!
  • Institutional, affiliate, and corporate memberships do not carry voting privileges.
  • Those elected will take office on February 1, 2024.
  • If you do not receive the email, contact Managing Director Samantha Faria at awm@awm-math.org or 401-455-4042.

Candidate Statements

Click on a candidate’s name below to read to their statement and biographical information.


Statement: My engagement with the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) began early in my career when I presented my research at a JMM in the AWM workshop for women graduate students and recent PhDs. This experience connected me to other women in mathematics and helped to anchor me in the broader mathematical community. Hearing and learning from women at various career and life stages was empowering, and I recall believing, “Perhaps I can survive in mathematics with this support.”

AWM must continue supporting women in their educational and professional journeys. While having a full schedule as a faculty member and administrator, I volunteer weekly in my children’s mathematics classes.  I see the need to encourage and validate K-12 girls in mathematics. Our support begins with this group. To increase and sustain interest in the field, we must find ways to inspire curiosity and passion for mathematics in young girls. After all, women and girls in math equals better math. We bring diversity to research and teaching by expanding the pool of professionals and providing fresh perspectives that benefit the field.

AWM must be innovative as it develops and implements new initiatives that assess and address the barriers to entry and advancement in mathematics. Dismantling these barriers will enhance our ability to engage girls in math and other women with marginalized identities. As a professional organization that values teaching, research, and service equally, AWM is equipped to break down these barriers and do its part in repairing the leaky pipeline and creating a truly inclusive community for all women.

Join me in continuing our work to empower women mathematicians by celebrating their accomplishments, amplifying their voices, and recognizing their invaluable contributions. Join me in improving our community to support, inspire, and equip women to excel in their mathematical pursuits. Join me in debunking stereotypes that hinder women and girls from participating in our field. With your help, we will continue AWM’s mission to “create a community in which women and girls can thrive in their mathematical endeavors and to promote equitable opportunity and treatment of women and others of marginalized genders and gender identities across the mathematical sciences.”

Biographical information: A Louisiana native, Higgins earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Xavier University of Louisiana and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is a professor of mathematics at Texas Tech University, where she has been a faculty member since 2008. Her primary research focuses on oscillation criteria for dynamic equations on time scales (nonempty subsets of the real numbers). Recently, Higgins began studying applications of time scales to prostate cancer.

Because of her experiences pursuing a STEM graduate degree at a PWI, Higgins understands the importance of creating supportive environments where underrepresented students can thrive. As a result, she continues to build STEM pipelines for young people through teaching and mentoring.  At Texas Tech, Higgins is the lead PI of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridges Across Texas Alliance, a two-million-dollar National Science Foundation grant focusing on increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who earn associate and baccalaureate STEM degrees at the five alliance institutions.

At Texas Tech, she is an Integrated Scholar and a member of their Teaching Academy. Additionally, Higgins is an Assistant Vice Provost of Faculty Success. In her role, Higgins develops initiatives, programs, and opportunities specific to inclusion and equity, mentorship, and professional development, and she helps implement reviews of and changes to current policies and procedures that faculty have identified as barriers to advancement.

Nationally, she is a co-director of the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Program, a 2018 Presidential Award for STEM Mentoring recipient, and 2007 AMS Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference recipient. She participated in the EDGE Summer Session in 2002 as a student and later served as a workshop facilitator for several years before moving into her current role. Additionally, Higgins is a co-founder and co-creator of the website Mathematically Gifted and Black, which highlights the contributions and lives of Black mathematicians who have significantly contributed to research, mentoring, and teaching in the mathematical sciences.

Higgins is an AWM Fellow, a recipient of the AWM Gweneth Humphreys Award for Mentoring, a recipient of the AWM Service Award, an associated editor of “La Matematica,” and a recipient of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America Ron Barnes Distinguished Service to Students Award.


Statement: It is once again an honor and a privilege to be considered for the position of Treasurer of the AWM. It has been very rewarding to serve as Treasurer of the AWM for the past 4 years.  I have enjoyed putting to use the accounting degree and my previous work as an accountant since retiring from teaching mathematics. I have been a member of AWM since receiving my PhD in mathematics. I chose to be a member to support other women in mathematics in general and those particularly who might follow in a less traditional career trajectory in mathematics, as I have. As Treasurer for the past 4 years, it has given me an opportunity to work for the financial health of the organization and help continue the good work that has been started in its 50+ year history.  I look forward to continuing this support and looking after the financial well-being of AWM.

Biographical information: Mary Shepherd retired in 2021 from Northwest Missouri State University where she was a professor. She is living the retired life now in Mesa, Arizona. Her research interests started in differential geometry and continued into undergraduate mathematics education, particularly in reading mathematics where she has had several publications. She has also worked in mathematics as created or expressed in needlework where she has chapters in three books, and since retirement an article published in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. She earned an undergraduate degree in music performance (clarinet) from Missouri State University in 1976, a Master of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and a Masters and PhD in Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. She initially taught at SUNY–Potsdam from 1996 to 2001. She is a Project NExT fellow (Peach Dot–1997) and helped found the Missouri Section NExT program. She has been Secretary/Treasurer, Chair, and Governor/Section Representative of the Missouri Section of the MAA. She has also served on the EC of the MAA as the Budget and Audit member (2008–2010) and after reorganization of the MAA EC, continued to serve as the appointed person on the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors until 2018. Mary served as a member of the CTUM Committee of the MAA and was involved with the writing and publication of the Instructional Practices Guide of the MAA.  She is currently a member of the Joint Data Committee as the MAA representative and has just been appointed to a second 3-year term. Prior to returning to school to pursue mathematics, she was an accountant at various private companies, the last one being Hertz Rent-A-Car which she left in 1990 to pursue her PhD in Mathematics. She passed the CPA exam in 1987.  She is currently also Treasurer for her church.

Member-at-Large (Vote for up to 4)

Statement: I have benefited from many of the AWM’s programs since first becoming a member as a graduate student, and I would be honored to serve on its Executive Committee.  Making our community more inclusive is one of my priorities; for example, I have been using active learning and specifications grading to make a less competitive classroom environment, as as Director of Graduate Studies I have been actively working to recruit and retain a more diverse student population.  I have also sought to build bridges between different communities in mathematics, for example by organizing workshops that bring together researchers in different but related fields, and by serving as an editor at the American Mathematical Monthly as well as at more specialized journals.  I believe that both of these goals fit well with working with the AWM.

In the last decade, I’ve been privileged to be a part of the Women in Topology (WIT) network and collaborative workshops, both as a team leader and an organizer, and to witness the dramatic effect it has had on the retention and continued success of women in my field.  Especially with recent challenges to funding such programs, I am interested in navigating the best ways to continue to create effective spaces for women and members of other underrepresented groups to be successful mathematicians.

Biographical Information: Julie Bergner is a professor at University of Virginia. She received her PhD at University of Notre Dame and her undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University. She has previously held positions at Kansas State University and University of California, Riverside, as well as visiting positions at MSRI, Cornell University, the Hausdorff Institute, and the Newton Institute. Her research is in homotopy theory, and she is currently on the Steering Committee for the Women in Topology Network. She has previously served on the AWM-MAA Liaison Committee.

Statement: I am honored to be considered for election to the AWM Executive Committee! I first joined AWM as a graduate student at the University of Maryland. As a young mathematician, I benefited greatly from the mentorship and support AWM provided me to attend conferences. I am honored now to work beside one of the founding members of AWM, Mary Gray, who has served as my mentor at American University for the last 18 years. AWM’s priority of increasing representation of women in STEM is a passion of mine and shown by all my work in this area. At American University, I served as the College of Arts and Sciences first diversity officer where I focused on supporting women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. My work centered around students and faculty.   I also have served as the Director of the award-winning research experience for undergraduates titled SPIRAL (Summer Program in Research and Learning) for seven years.  An REU that is aimed at improving the pipeline of women and underrepresented groups in STEM careers, Currently, as Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty, I use my decades of experience as a faculty member to facilitate activities such as promotion and inclusive hiring at my campus. These are only a few of my activities that support women in mathematics.  I hope to expand my work on a much broader scale to assist AWM with the goal of advancing careers and improving representation of women mathematicians.

Biographical information: Monica Jackson is the Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty at American University in Washington, DC.  She is also a professor of mathematics and statistics. Dr. Jackson has been at American since 2005. She established  AU’s first Summer Program in Research and Learning, where undergraduate students and faculty from across the country conduct scientific research at AU. She has served as associate dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, as CAS’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.  She is also a principal investigator for AU’s ADVANCE grant, analyzing gender and racial data and working to increase equity in these areas among STEM faculty.

Her current research interest is in the areas of spatial statistics and disease surveillance with applications to developing, investigating methods for detecting cancer clusters, global clustering patterns, and developing simulation algorithms for spatially correlated data.  Dr. Jackson has spent sabbaticals at the National Cancer Institute, Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA, and Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, where she worked on applying her spatial techniques to a wide variety of medical problems.  She has won numerous awards for her scholarship and service. Those include the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Faculty Fellow, The Delta Kappa Gamma International Educational Society Most Valuable Member, and the Morton Bender Prize for outstanding research. Prior to coming to AU, Dr. Jackson was a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University and an instructor at the University of Maryland. She has a BS and MS from Clark Atlanta University, and a PhD in applied mathematics and scientific computation from the University of Maryland.

Statement: I am honored to be nominated to run to serve as a member-at-large for  the AWM Executive Committee. At each stage of my career, I have had help and support from many people, and a disproportionate number of those people were women, despite their relative scarcity within the mathematical sciences. At this point, I believe it is my turn to dedicate my time and resources to help and support others, and I would like to join the AWM Executive Committee to add my energy to its efforts of uplifting the voices of women mathematicians and more generally increasing the presence and visibility of women and other genders that have traditionally been underrepresented in the mathematical sciences.

Mathematics is a decidedly human endeavor, and even as the world changes, and artificial intelligences surround us, we cannot forget that humans are its most important component. Unfortunately, mathematics has through the years been used and abused to discriminate against and eliminate diverse voices from positions of power and influence. Today more and more mathematicians are aware of these connections of our discipline with power dynamics and structures, and we are more than ever willing to do something to change the status quo. I see AWM as a perfect platform for this kind of change.

Through the years, AWM has been a home for many of us, and I appreciated the solidarity it afforded me. However, there have always been some who felt left out. Today AWM can extend its reach even further, and I would like to be a part of that new thrust.

Biographical information: Gizem Karaali is professor of mathematics at Pomona College. She is a founding editor of Journal of Humanistic Mathematics and a senior editor of Numeracy, the journal of the National Numeracy Network. Karaali has published over a hundred articles as well as four edited volumes; most recently she edited, with Lily Khadjavi, the 2021 MAA Press book Mathematics and Social Justice: Focusing on Quantitative Reasoning and Statistics, which followed a 2019 book titled Mathematics and Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom. In the last decade, Karaali received federal grants for her research and teaching (from the National Security Agency and the National Endowment for the Humanities).

Statement: I am honored to be considered for the AWM executive committee. Throughout my career I have been passionate about mentoring and fostering inclusion and community in the mathematical sciences. This aligns with the AWM mission to promote equitable opportunity and treatment of women and other marginalized genders, and to encourage and promote the success of marginalized groups in mathematics. Small intentional changes eventually lead to long-term change. I am excited to bring my experiences from various roles to serve AWM and its mission, and to help continue its positive impact towards a better culture.

Biographical information: Christine Kelley is a professor of mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She received her BS degree in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound, and her MS and PhD degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. Before joining UNL, she held postdoctoral fellow positions at the Fields Institute in Toronto and The Ohio State University. Kelley is currently serving as the MAA’s Director of Project NExT. She is also in the current cohort of Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Program fellows.

Kelley’s research is in error-correcting codes and applications, specifically graph-based codes and iterative decoding algorithms. To date she has graduated four PhD students (all women) and is currently supervising four doctoral students and one postdoc. In addition to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty, much of her service focuses on diversity and inclusion. She co-chairs the annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics, and she has served on its organizing committee for 17 years. She has chaired and continues to serve on UNL’s College of Arts & Sciences’ Inclusion Diversity Equity and Access (IDEA) committee, has served on the UNL math department’s Diversity Committee, and has organized and served on numerous panels relating to creating a more inclusive community.

Statement: I am running for AWM Executive Committee Member at Large. I have held leadership and decision-making positions at my university and for national organizations, such as Department Chair and MAA Officer at Large. I am currently Senior Director for a university-wide initiative at the University of San Francisco. I am forward-thinking and outcome driven, while remaining patient, curious, and receptive to new ways of thinking.

Biographical information: Emille Davie Lawrence is Senior Director for the Black Achievement Success and Engagement initiative and associate professor at the University of San Francisco. She earned her B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Georgia. She has also been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her research focuses on topological properties of spatial graphs. She has been recognized for her work in the mathematics community including as the 2021 Association for Women in Mathematics Service Award winner, as a recipient of the 2021 Karen EDGE Fellowship for mid-career mathematicians, and also as a 2022 MAA Euler Book Prize winner.

Statement: I am honored to be nominated to serve as a member at large in the AWM Executive Committee.  I am deeply committed to the mission of the AWM of creating a community that encourages, creates opportunities, and promotes women in mathematics.  In addition to organizing an annual Sonia Kovalevsky Math Day at Dartmouth, I have co-organized three workshops for women in algebraic combinatorics at BIRS at Banff and ICERM. I also co-edited a book for the AWM Springer series. If elected, I will work hard to continue the mission of the AWM.

Biographical information: Rosa Orellana is a professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College, where she was awarded the John M. Manley Huntington Award for research, teaching, and mentoring.  She was a first-generation college student with a dream of becoming a teacher.  With the support of many mentors and advisors, she received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. Before coming to Dartmouth, she was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California.   Her research is in algebraic combinatorics, in particular combinatorial representation theory. Her research work is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Orellana loves mathematics and believes in supporting and encouraging everybody to discover its beauty. At Dartmouth she mentors and supervises graduate students, postdocs and undergraduate students. In particular, she enjoys introducing undergraduates to the joys of research and has mentored many undergraduate students. In 2013, she was the research director for MSRI-UP REU, leading 18 undergraduates in research projects.   Orellana first became interested in mathematics in seventh grade; therefore, she started an annual Sonia Kovalevsky Math Day at Dartmouth to encourage middle and high school girls discover math beyond the classroom.

Giving back to the community is something that Orellana finds very rewarding. Most recently, she was elected to the AMS council as a member-at-large and served until 2023. Currently, she serves in several committees at the AMS and MAA.

Statement: I am very grateful for the invitation to get more involved with the AWM – for I am in need of new spaces in which I can feel a sense of belonging while doing serious work on bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice – within math, education, academia, the US, and the world. What I can – and in fact need to – contribute:

 – deeply rooted counter-oppressive values and practices: I was born an antifascist in West Germany and have worked in some form of justice organizing for most of my life.

 – creative, persistent, and sharp problem solving skills: I have solved problems that “the experts” had declared unsolvable – such as building connections between symplectic and low-dimensional geometry by directly degenerating PDEs, or providing emergency housing for sick unhoused folks at the beginning of the pandemic.

 – a position of immense privilege: I am tenured at UC Berkeley – after prior positions at MIT, IAS, Princeton University, and ETH Zurich – and I’m not shy to leverage the resources, platform, and time flexibility for good.

 – lived experience of oppression that helps me comprehend other struggles: I have been the first or only female-presenting / nonbinary / queer / openly anti-racist / … person in most of the math spaces that I’ve traversed and have directly experienced – or been the first responder to – most of the horrors that under-marginalized folks often can’t believe to even be possible.

I also come as a package with high expectations and radical transparency – which in the past have often led me to choose individual pursuits over the slow work of building collective power. When I came to the US in 2003, I didn’t find belonging in women-in-math spaces (seeing in particular some explicit exclusion of trans women) – so I built my own, more radically inclusive, micro-networks. When I served on the AWM Policy & Advocacy committee 2014-16, I wasn’t satisfied with the impact – so I dedicated myself to justice work outside of academia for the next 5 years. Then 2020 gave me the space to recombine my math and justice identities by flipping my teaching approach into counter-oppressive inquiry learning. Now 2023 has confronted me with immense institutional resistance and the insight that I am up against problems that will require collective action – which caused me to reconsider involvement with professional organizations such as the AWM. And I was glad to see how far the AWM has come towards radical inclusivity. Now I’m eager to contribute towards increasing its impact!

I know that I cannot expect full agreement on goals or values in such a diverse organization, but what I’m hoping for – and will personally ground in – is the solidarity approach of finding the common ground on which we can build, and focusing on making the change that is within our reach and common interest. Si se puede – yes we can.

Biographical information: Katrin Wehrheim is an associate professor of mathematics at UC Berkeley. Before starting that position in 2013 – apparently as the first woman hired with tenure – they received a physics diploma from Imperial College, a mathematics PhD from ETH Zürich, held a postdoc position at Princeton University, a tenure-track position at MIT, and were a member at IAS Princeton several times. They received a Presidential Early Career (PECASE) Award in 2010, and have been generously funded by the NSF for most of their two decades in geometric analysis. Since 2020 their professional focus has been on math education to counter oppression.

Statement: If we, as a society, want to expand the frontier of mathematics, we must include diverse perspectives. The AWM plays a crucial role in supporting women mathematicians, and I am excited by the opportunity to serve on its Executive Committee, where I think I can make a difference! As a Member-at-Large, I would aim to talk to lots of people, and consider different viewpoints. I would think critically about what’s been done, help build on the many successes of the AWM, and work toward reform when necessary.

It is hard to put into words how grateful I am to the generous mentors I’ve had throughout my life–both research mentors, and those who’ve helped guide me in other ways. Their impact on me has, in turn, inspired me to support others, and brings two major components of the AWM–its mentoring initiatives, and the AWM Research Networks–close to my heart. If elected, I am especially interested in expanding and strengthening these types of programs.

My involvement in the Women in Commutative Algebra (WICA) Research Network and the AWM Mentor Network give me experience that could prove valuable in these efforts. I co-organized the first WICA collaboration conference, hosted by BIRS in 2017, and I currently serve as a member of AWM Research Networks Committee, supporting networks in other research areas. I’ve also made long-lasting relationships through the AWM Mentor Network. One of my mentees, who was matched with me when she entered graduate school, has since transferred schools, earned her Ph.D., and recently found on a permanent job that she is very happy with!

One of my first memories of experiencing joy as a mentor was as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, working in the SESAME program serving Chicago Public Schools teachers. Since then, I’ve become an informal mentor for many junior scientists, who often happen to be women and/or those from other underrepresented groups. I’ve also consistently been involved in formal mentoring and training programs, including ones outside of the AWM. For instance, I recently co-directed a series of REU training programs serving students from underrepresented groups, including those who don’t have the prerequisites for many traditional REU programs.

Biographical information: Emily Witt is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kansas, where she is also a faculty member in the Institute for Information Sciences. Witt earned her PhD at the University of Michigan in 2011 and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Utah, and MSRI. Her research is centered in commutative algebra, but has intimate connections with algebraic geometry, topology, and representation theory.

Witt was awarded the 2022-23 Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize from the AWM and Cornell University. Her research is currently supported by an NSF CAREER Award, and she will hold a Research Professorship at SLMath/MSRI next spring. She was recently honored at her home institution with the Don and Pat Morrison Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching and the student-nominated J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award.

Witt grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is halfway between Chicago and Detroit. She worked through college at the University of Chicago, first as a hospital bed factory worker and coffee shop manager, before finding her passion for mentoring in initiatives such as the SESAME Program. Witt is a dedicated environmentalist. She enjoys group fitness classes and running with her husband, fellow mathematician Daniel Hernández, and their dog, Lucky.

Questions regarding the electronic voting process? Please contact Samantha Faria at 
awm@awm-math.org or 401-455-4042.