AWM Service Award 2020

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) presented Raegan Higgins, Omayra Ortega, and Denise A. Rangel Tracy with AWM Service Awards at the AWM Reception and Awards Presentation held during the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Denver, CO, January 15 – 18, 2020. The AWM Service Award, established by the AWM Executive Committee (EC) in November 2012, recognizes individuals for helping to promote and support women in mathematics through exceptional voluntary service to the Association for Women in Mathematics. The award is given annually to a select group of AWM volunteers in recognition of their extensive time and effort devoted to AWM activities during the previous seven years. Presidents (past, present, and -elect) and current officers are not eligible for the award.
Raegan Higgins, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Texas Tech University, is recognized for her extraordinary efforts in promoting women in mathematics through her role on the organizing committees of the 2017 and 2019 AWM Research Symposia. Professor Higgins’ leadership in fostering synergistic connections between the AWM and the local community by identifying organizations and individuals who have made a difference has broadened our reach and furthered our mission of creating a more inclusive community.
Higgins Response: I am so surprised and happy to receive the 2020 AWM Service Award, and I thank AWM for this recognition. I worked to help AWM show its more inclusive side, to show it’s not just for mathematicians in academia, government and industry. It is important to reach and recognize the community that has shaped and continues to shape female mathematicians. I hope what have started continues and I look forward to helping AWM continue the work of empowering, supporting and promoting women in math.
Omayra Ortega, Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics at Arizona State University, is recognized for representing AWM while working with the international math community to bring the Maryam Mirzahkani exhibit to the 2019 AWM Research Symposium, including negotiating for the installation and display space, coordination with Rice University, planning for long term care of the display, and acting as an honorable steward to this collection. Dr. Ortega’s commitment served to invite us to see the very personal side of a very public mathematician.
Denise A. Rangel Tracy, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Farleigh Dickinson University, is recognized for her deep commitment to the work of the Media Committee and her unflagging efforts to portray AWM positively in the media. Tracy has obtained funding for and led Wikipedia Edit-a-thons at both the Joint Math Meetings and the AWM Research Symposium. She initiated the AWM Playing Cards Project and tracked down and created preliminary lists and data on over a thousand women for that project.
Tracy Response: Thank you for this award. I am happy to be able to better highlight the accomplishments of women in mathematics, both past and present. I appreciate the support AWM has given to start working on the Women in Math Playing Cards and thank you to all the other volunteers now involved in making this project a reality. It’ll be a great way to showcase some of the amazing mathematicians who also happen to be women. I especially hope this makes it to the non-math world. I often feel like the general public doesn’t fully understand who we are or what we do as mathematicians (besides teach). Although stereotypes are changing, women are still thought of as a rarity in the mathematical sciences. I think Wikipedia can be a gateway to learning about these women. Our history, our achievements, our struggles, all summarized a few mouse-clicks away from each other on a website many people already visit. I hope by working to improve and create new articles on women mathematicians I am helping people better know them and the work that they do.