2021 Winner: Raegan Higgins
The Association for Women in Mathematics is pleased to present the 2021 Gweneth Humphreys Award to Raegan Higgins, Associate Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Texas Tech University. Raegan Higgins has a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska and her research interests revolve around time scales—particularly oscillation criteria for certain linear and nonlinear second order dynamic equations. She has also studied the impact of professional development on the self-efficacy of middle-school mathematics teachers.
At Texas Tech University, Higgins’ excellence in teaching and mentoring and her commitment to diversity have consistently shined through. In addition to her formal role as academic advisor for both female and male graduate students, she co-founded the Young Women in Mathematics: Fostering Success program in 2013. This initiative led to the formation of an AWM Student Chapter in 2018 which Higgins co-advises. She is also a member of the organizing committee of the Emmy Noether High School Mathematics Day and over the years has given numerous talks, organized workshops, and served as Career Panelist for the female high school and undergraduate students who participate in this annual event. Since 2009, Raegan Higgins has served as Faculty Advisor for the Eta Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and as Faculty Mentor and Mentor Cluster Leader for Mentor Tech (formally known as The Lauro Cavazos & Ophelia Powell-Malone Mentoring Program), a program for students from diverse backgrounds at Texas Tech. In 2014, Higgins received a Women in STEAM Award from the Center for the Integration of STEM Education and Research and in 2020 she was recognized as an Integrated Scholar for her synergistic activities at the intersection of teaching, service and research.
An alumna of the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) program, and one to always give back, Higgins served as EDGE Instructor in the years 2014 to 2017 and since 2017 serves as co-director of the program. Founded in 1998, the EDGE program has had a marked success at helping female undergraduate mathematics students transition into and thrive in graduate school. Raegan Higgins is a co-founder of the Network of Minorities in Mathematical Sciences. Through its website Mathematically Gifted and Black, the network highlights the contributions and accomplishment s of blacks i n the mathematical sciences.
Raegan Higgins has positively impacted the academic trajectory of many women, particularly women of color, within and outside of her institution and the AWM is pleased to honor her for her genuine and sustained commitment to the recruitment, mentoring, and retention of women in mathematics.
I was surprised to learn that I had been selected as a recipient of the M. Gweneth Humphreys Award for Mentoring. I am deeply honored to receive this award. I extend my sincerest thanks to my department chair Magdalena Toda who nominated me, to those who supported my nomination, and to the award selection committee.
It is refreshing to be reminded that we are positively impacting students’ lives through the seemingly small things. Listening and providing encouragement contribute endlessly to students’ outlook and persistence. Several of us are beneficiaries of those small deeds. I will continue to show my women students that they have a place in mathematics and help them find their entry point.
This recognition is for all the women who inspired me to pursue math and who continue to inspire me to do the work—the hard work, the good work, the needed work.