2020 Winner: Margaret M. Robinson
The Association for Women in Mathematics is pleased to present the tenth annual M. Gweneth Humphreys Award to Margaret M. Robinson, Julia and Sarah Ann Adams Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Mount Holyoke College. Margaret Robinson has been a mainstay of thoughtful teaching and mentoring for many years at Mount Holyoke College, an institution whose mission is to educate women. Her focus is not just on the top students, but on making a meaningful (and joyful) mathematical intervention for all the generations of learners that have crossed her path. As one student put it, “she saw me in a way that no mathematics teacher had before.”
Robinson has exhibited an exceptional commitment to the undergraduate mathematics community over her career and has received awards for teaching at Mount Holyoke and at the national level. Her impactful involvement in the Carleton Summer Mathematics Program (SMP), the Undergraduate Lectures for “Motivic Invariants and Singularities” at Notre Dame, the “Zeta Functions All the Way” Program for Women in Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, and the resounding response from a range of former mentees speak to her effectiveness and her ability to forge personal connections.
In her 32-year career at Mount Holyoke College she has consistently displayed her commitment to mentoring women at the college level and beyond. Robinson received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1986 under the supervision of Jun-ichi Igusa for her work on local zeta functions. Since then, she has inspired a deep love of number theory in countless women, with ripple effects extending far beyond her own students. Robinson is an expert in finding ways to give students the tools they need to begin work in p-adic analysis, mentoring seven REU teams between 1992 and 2007, her students at SMP, and her Mount Holyoke independent students. Many former students describe Robinson as a mentor for life. What constantly shines through in student responses is the true love of mathematics that Robinson radiates. As Keijing Jin (MHC, ’19) puts it, “Margaret is the reason why I do and love math. Her passion and dedication have truly changed my life trajectory. Thanks for being the light for so many of my peers, Margaret!
I am greatly honored and delighted, and also somewhat overwhelmed, to receive the M. Gweneth Humphreys Award for Mentoring. My phenomenal department and students at Mount Holyoke College have inspired me throughout my career. I would also like to thank Deanna Haunsberger and Stephen Kennedy for inviting me to teach in the Summer Mathematics
Program at Carleton College and for introducing me to so many wonderful women who have enriched my mathematical life over the past 10 years. An award of this type sends the message that the AWM acknowledges and values the importance of mentoring and I offer my heartfelt thanks to the 2020 Humphreys Award Committee.