Mary and Alfie Gray Award for Social Justice

For the vigorous and imaginative application of the mathematical sciences to advancing the cause of social justice

Mary Gray

Mary Gray, Founder and Past President of AWM, has lived her life fighting for social justice and human rights, and Alfred Gray was devoted to working with mathematicians from around the world, and with students from underrepresented groups within the United States.  Both Mary and Alfred were always concerned about securing human rights and equitable treatment in the profession and by governments.  

The Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics established the Mary and Alfie Gray Award for Social Justice to reward the vigorous and imaginative application of the mathematical sciences to advancing the cause of social justice, defined as promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.  Social justice exists when all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources. 

Nomination Period:  April 1 through May 15 of even numbered years. The prize will be awarded at JMM the January after nominations close, which falls in an odd year.

Nomination Location: All nominations can be made at To locate the nomination form in MathPrograms, click on  “View Programs” at the top right of the page. Scroll down to the programs listed for “Association for Women in Mathematics” and click “Nominate” next to the Mary and Alfie Gray Award.

Nominator: Any person can be a nominator! People of any gender can be a nominator, self-nominations are allowed, and you do not need to be an AWM member to nominate someone for this award; however, at least one supporting letter must come from an AWM member.

Nomination Packet: A nomination packet should include:

  •  A one- to three-page letter of nomination highlighting the candidate(s)’s vigorous and imaginative application of mathematical sciences to social justice that includes a description the specific community impacted by this work;  the name, position, institution, address, phone, and e-mail address of the nominee and the nominator should be included in the cover letter; 
  • One additional supporting letter from a colleague that explain the application of mathematics to social justice in the candidate’s work;
  • A citation of up to 100 words summarizing the nominee’s contribution and a brief bio of the nominee(s).

The selection committee wishes to emphasize to nominators the importance of identifying the communities affected by the candidate’s work and any evidence of the positive impact or potential impact of the work on these communities.

All submitted materials become the property of the AWM.  Nominations remain active for a second award cycle, and the nominator can update the application materials. 

Award Criteria: This prize will be awarded in odd years to a member or group of members of the mathematical sciences community for the vigorous and imaginative application of the mathematical sciences to advancing the cause of social justice. The award is intended to recognize achievements that accumulate over the course of a career as well as innovations and novel ideas that have the potential for high impact.

Nominee Requirements. People of any gender identification will be eligible for the award; the awardee(s) need not be a member of the AWM.  The work awarded will be restricted to activities conducted in the United States and its territories. The award can only be received once in a lifetime.

Presentation of Award. The award will be presented by the AWM at the Joint Mathematics Meetings. The recipient will receive a $1000 prize, a certificate containing the citation, and an invitation to speak at the subsequent AWM Research Symposium.

2023 Lily Khadjavi, Loyola Marymount University

The Mary and Alfie Gray Award is made possible by contributions from our community. Individuals and institutions donating to this award are listed here:

Florence Ashby, Bath Family Trust, Margaret Ruth Bath, Craig Brenner, Amy Cohen, Lenore Cowen, David Damiano, Giuliana Davidoff, Valenteana Fung, Judith Grabiner, Mary Gray, Judy and Paul Green, Linda Hayden, Joshua Holden, Rhonda Hughes, Eugenie Hunsicker, Fern Hunt, Joan Hutchinson, Lynne Ipina, Erica Johnson, Joshua Michael Lansky, Greg Martin, Mathematical Association of America, M. Elizabeth Mayfield, Linda McGuire, Susan Mello, Janet Mertz, Professor L. Alayne Parson, Louise Parson, Harriet Pollatsek, Mary Beth Ruskai, Simon Salamon, Richard Shaker, Rebecca Sharayera, Stephen Tierney, Martha Zaritsky.  Anonymous: 9

Questions? Call the AWM at 401-455-4042 or email