AWM Service Award 2023

In 2012, AWM established its Service Award to recognize individuals for helping to promote and support women in mathematics through exceptional voluntary service to the Association for Women in Mathematics, a nonprofit organization that depends largely on the work of its volunteer members. These awards will be presented during the AWM Reception at the JMM in Boston on January 6, 2023, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.

The 2023 award recipients are: Katherine Dowd, Administrative Director of the School of Mathematics and Assistant Director of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of Minnesota, who is being recognized for the extraordinary professionalism, wisdom, and care she bestowed upon the AWM as host of the 2022 AWM Research Symposium; Robin Marek, Chair of the AWM Fund Development Committee, who is being recognized for her exceptionally generous contribution of time and expertise in helping the AWM establish a more professional and trustworthy fund development program; and Tracy Weyand, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, who is being recognized for building communities in which women in mathematics can thrive and feel welcome.

Citation for Katherine Dowd

The AWM Symposium Committee convened in October of 2019 with the intention of planning a 2021 AWM Research Symposium. In late 2020, the Symposium was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In the face of pandemic-related setbacks, last minute schedule changes, unusual requests from the AWM, and various technical and logistic difficulties, Katherine Dowd remained calm, flexible, organized, responsive, patient, thoughtful, and thorough. She scheduled space for all of the special sessions, lectures, exhibitors, and special events; she chose menus, hired a photographer, arranged for the lectures to be recorded, and found caterers for an ice cream social, a La Mathematica Launch party, a reception, and a banquet. She communicated with the staff at the conference venue to ensure that everything AWM suggested would work and she consistently communicated with the AWM to make sure that the event was carefully orchestrated.

Katherine Dowd’s service goes well beyond this one amazing event. As Assistant Director of IMA, she provides the same level of support to programming for the entire mathematical sciences community. In the week before the Symposium, Dr. Dowd provided support for the Roots of Unity Workshop – designed to support women, particularly women of color, who are in years 1–3 of graduate school and are considering research in algebra, combinatorics, geometry, topology, or number theory – and she arranged for collaboration space for the WinCompTop Research Network. An RCCW (Research Collaboration Conference for Women) organized by the WiMB Research Network, and a Math-to-Industry Boot Camp both began the day after the Research Symposium.

Response from Dowd

It is truly an honor and privilege to be a recipient of the service award. Organizing the 2022 Research Symposium took nearly three years due to the pandemic. To bring it finally to fruition and see the joy on participants’ faces at the opportunity to be together and talk about math, made it all worthwhile! This was a true team effort. I’m particularly grateful to my partners at AWM, Darla Kremer, Beth Donovan and Samantha Faria, and to Georgia Kroll at the IMA who provided me with outstanding support through thick and thin.

Citation for Robin Marek

Robin Marek has extensive experience as a fund development professional, most recently as the Development Director for the American Mathematical Society. She has also worked in fund development offices of major universities and large healthcare organizations. She began her volunteer service to the AWM in October of 2020 and immediately treated this position with as much respect and professionalism as she would have if she were being paid a salary to act as the AWM Development Director. Marek guided the committee towards establishing a Gift Acceptance Policy, advised on a Short Term Spending Policy, and helped hire a professional writer to develop a case statement for funding for the AWM. She crafted a job description for a fundraising professional and participated in the screening and interview process. Marek was instrumental in securing two major gifts and generally offers advice and guidance in every aspect of fundraising and fund development. She pores over spreadsheets, identifies donor prospects, and helps the committee think about what the AWM needs in terms of a development program.

While there have been a few setbacks, Marek remains positive and committed to having an impact on the Association for Women in Mathematics by increasing AWM fundraising capacity. She continues to guide the development committee as AWM identifies and sets fundraising priorities, establishes an AWM case for funding, and develops a culture of philanthropy.

Response from Marek

The Association for Women in Mathematics is a remarkable organization,
with deep and extensive roots that have nurtured countless women throughout its 51-year history. As such, I am truly honored to be named a recipient of the 2023 AWM Service Awards. Though I feel unworthy of this recognition, I humbly accept your kindness with heartfelt gratitude. Being part of a nationally-based grassroots organization is eye-opening. I have grown in my understanding of what can be accomplished when a small staff works hand in hand with a large network of committed volunteers. AWM members pursue a vision and resolve to support the professional development and achievements of their peers. Successive generations of women and men have benefitted – and continue to benefit – from the strength of that conviction. I have witnessed firsthand the Fund Development Committee’s steadfast dedication to fulfilling the AWM mission, and I wish to recognize and acknowledge them for their focused efforts.

Thank you for this honor. It is a privilege and pleasure to be part of the AWM.

Citation for Tracy Weyand

Tracy Weyand has been involved in the founding of two Student Chapters of the AWM. As a postdoc at Baylor University in 2015, she was the co-founder of the Baylor chapter of the AWM, where she served as the co-advisor for the remainder of her postdoc. In 2018, as a tenure-track assistant professor, Weyand founded and has served as the faculty advisor for the Rose-Hulman Student Chapter of the AWM. The Rose-Hulman Chapter is quite active and has been successful in building community through club meetings, trips to the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics, and other social activities such as an annual Pi Day celebration. Every year since 2018, Weyand has led the AWM Chapter as they organized, advertised, and willed into existence a Sonia Kovalevsky (SK) Day for high school girls. During these SK Days, high school girls participate in a series of mathematically-themed activities on the Rose-Hulman Campus. At an institution where 75% of the student body is male, Tracy Weyand’s outreach activities have been a vital step towards building a more welcoming and inclusive community. 

Response from Weyand

I am honored to receive the 2023 AWM Service Award. I was supported by the AWM throughout graduate school (and beyond), and I am so grateful that I am now able to provide support, encouragement, and a sense of community to the next generation of mathematicians. I would like to thank my AWM mentors, Sue Geller and Constanze Liaw, for their unwavering support when I needed it most. Without their encouragement and example, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take on all the initiatives that I have. I would also like to thank my former student, Lee Trent, for giving me the push that I needed to promptly start AWM activities at a new school. I appreciate all the assistance and support that my colleagues at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Department of Mathematics have provided to our AWM Student Chapter activities.