Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize

For Excellence in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Woman

The Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has established the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize to be awarded to an undergraduate woman for excellence in mathematics.

The Schafer Prize was established in 1990 and is named for AWM former President and one of its founding members, Alice T. Schafer, who contributed a great deal to women in mathematics throughout her career.

You can read about the career paths of the first twenty-five Schafer Prize winners in this article by Joe Gallian, which appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of the Notices of the AMS.

Nomination Procedures for the Schafer Prize 

Nomination Period: August 1 – September 15

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 AWM Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize.

Historically, excellence has been defined in a very narrow way, often limited to attendance at an elite institution, early enrollment in advanced courses, attendance at a well-recognized REU, independent research, and, ultimately, publication of one or more research results. While we continue to value these qualities, we also desire to expand that definition and considerably broaden the mathematical community’s understanding of what constitutes excellence in undergraduate work. The objective of the Schafer Prize is to “recognize talented women with an eye to the highly diverse opportunities immediately available to undergraduates in a wide variety of institutions.” In order to encourage and sustain the entry of a gifted and representative pool of young mathematicians into our professional community, we welcome nominations of undergraduates from a diverse set of institutions and diverse paths of mathematical excellence. 

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. If this is a self-nomination, then you must have one additional letter of support. 

Eligibility: The nominee must be an undergraduate as of the date the nomination is due. 

Nomination Packet: A nomination packet should be compiled into 1 PDF file for submission and include: 

  • One letter of nomination (at most three pages) highlighting the exceptional qualities of the candidate to be recognized. The letter of nomination may include (but is not limited to) an evaluation of the nominee on the following criteria:
    • quality of performance in advanced mathematics courses, special programs, or mathematical competitions 
    • mathematical growth of the nominee 
    • nominee’s ability to overcome barriers in their mathematical journey 
    • nominee’s ability to seek out and make the most of resources both at and outside of their institution 
    • ability for independent work in mathematics or ability to work equitably in a team in mathematics; 
  • A copy of the student’s transcripts that indicates their expected graduation date.
  • Additional supporting materials should be included with the nomination, if applicable. Example supporting materials include: reports from summer work using math, copies of talks given, recommendation letters from professors, colleagues, etc.
  • The name, position, institution, address, phone, and e-mail address of the nominee and the nominator should be included in then cover sheet.  
  • All submitted materials become the property of the AWM.

Award Criteria: This prize will be awarded annually to an undergraduate woman for excellence in mathematics. All members of the mathematical community are invited to submit nominations for this prize.

Nominee Requirements. The nominee must be an undergraduate when nominated. Nominations of women from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged. 

Presentation of Award. The Schafer Prizes will be presented at the AWM Reception and Awards Presentation at the Joint Mathematics Meetings each January. Up to two recipients and one runner-up will be selected. The winners will each receive a $1000 prize and an honorary certificate. The runner-up will receive a $250 prize.  

2023  Faye Jackson
            Runner-up: Anqi Li
            Honorable Mentions: Ilani Axelrod-Freed, Joyce Chen, Veronica Lang

2022  (Carina) Letong Hong
            Runner-up: Faye Jackson
            Honorable Mentions: Alexandra Hoey, Simran Khunger,  Lily (Qiao) Li

2021   Elena Kim
            Runner-up: Eunice Sukarto
            Honorable Mentions: Vanshika Jain, Korina Digalaki

2020   Natalia Pacheco-Tallaj
            Runner-up: Yuhan (Michelle) Jiang
            Honorable Mentions: Teresa Yu, Marisa Gaetz, Alice Lin 

2019   Naomi S. Sweeting
            Runner-up: Danielle Wang
            Honorable Mentions: Lisa L. Yang, Nina Zubrilina, Nitya Mani

2018   Libby Taylor
            Runner-up: Sameera Vemulapalli
            Honorable Mentions: Sarah Fleming, Xu Hui, Shruthi Sridhar

2017   Hannah Larson
            Runner-up: Sarah McClain Fleming
            Honorable Mentions: Lea Kenigsberg, Gwyneth Moreland, Yen Nhi Truong Vu

2016   Mackenzie Simper
            Runner-up: Sarah Tammen
            Honorable Mentions: Kaavya G. Valiveti, Madeleine Weinstein

2015   Sheela Devadas
            Runner-up:Samantha Petti
            Honorable Mention: Madeline Brandt

2014   Sarah Peluse
            Runner-up: Morgan Opie
            Honorable Mentions: Shiyu (Jing Jing) Li, Jessie Zhang

2013   MurphyKate Montee
            Runner-up: Yuhou (Susan) Xia,
            Honorable Mentions: Thao Do, Rebecca Gleit, Yangzhou Hu            
2012   Fan Wei
            Runner-up: Jennifer Iglesias
            Honorable Mentions: Victoria Akin, Meng Guo

2011   Sherry Gong
            Runner-Up: Ruthi Hortsch
            Honorable Mentions: Jie Geng, Yinghui Wang, Fan Wei

2010   Hannah Alpert and Charmaine Sia (Co-Winners)
            Runner-Up: Anna Lieb
            Honorable Mentions: Megan Bernstein, Ruthi Hortsch, and Laura Starkston

2009   Maria Monks
             Honorable Mentions: Doris Dobi, Nicole Larsen, Ila Varma

2008   Galyna Dobrovolska and Alison Miller (Co-Winners)
             Honorable Mentions: Naomi Brownstein, Reagin Taylor McNeill, Mary Wootters,

2007   Ana Caraiani
            Runners-Up: Tamara Broderick, Yaim Cooper
            Honorable Mention: Alyson Deines

2006   Alexandra Ovetsky
            Runner-Up: Allison Bishop
            Honorable Mention: Ellen Gasparovic

2005   Melody Chan
            Runners-Up: Margaret I. Doig and Elena Fuchs
            Honorable Mention: Annalies Vuong

2004   Kimberly Spears
             Runners-Up: Karola Meszaros and Jennifer Novak
             Honorable Mentions: Ariel E. Barton and Elena Grigorescu

2003   Kate Gruher
             Runners-Up: Wei Ho and Josephine T. Yu
             Honorable Mentions: Elizabeth F. Thoren, Annalee H. Wiswell, and Kathryn M. Zuhr

2002   Kay Kirkpatrick and Melanie Wood (Co-Winners)
             Honorable Mentions: Karen M. Lange, Sonja Mapes, Amy E. Marinello,
             Kathleen A. Ponto, and Grace C. Wang

2001   Jaclyn (Kohles) Anderson
            Runners-Up: Sami Assaf and Suzanne Sindi
            Honorable Mentions: Alice Chan and Crystal Hoyt

2000   Mariana E. Campbell
             Runners-Up: Sarah E. Dean and Beth Robinson
             Honorable Mention: Jaclyn Kohles, Fumei Lam, and Camillia Smith

1999   Caroline J. Klivans
            Honorable Mentions: Amanda Mueller, Suzanne Shontz, Laura Ciobanu, and Catherine S. Grasso

1998   Sharon Ann Lozano and Jessica A. Shepherd (Co-Winners)
            Runner-Up: Jie Li
            Honorable Mentions: Patience Elizabeth Moreno and Vera Peshchansky

1997   No prize awarded (due to calendar change)

1996   Ioana Dumitriu
            Runners-Up: Karen Ball and Wung-Kum Fong
            Honorable Mention: Tara S. Holm

1995   Ruth Britto-Pacumio
            Runners-Up: Wung-Kum Fong, Nancy Heinschel, and Jessica Wachter
            Honorable Mentions: Tara E. Brendle and Karen Shuman

1994   Jing Rebecca Li
            Runner-up: Patricia Hersh, Julia J. Rehmeyer, and Nina Zipser
            Honorable Mentions: Jennifer M. Switkes and Yi Wang

1993   Catherine H. O’Neil and Dana Pascovici (Co-Winners)
            Runners-Up: Melissa Aczon and Susan W. Goldstine
            Honorable Mentions: Karin Dorman, Rebecca Field, Laura Ann Glenn, and Jennifer Slimowitz

1992   Zvezdelina E. Stankova
            Runner-Up: Julie B. Kerr
            Honorable Mentions: Marcia Geiger, Cheryl P. Grood, Kristine Hauser, Laura Hegerle, Eugenie Hunsicker, Mary C. Joyce,
Martha J. Mancewicz, Jennifer Williams, and Virginia E. Wright

1991   Jeanne Nielsen Clelland
            Runner-Up: Zvezdelina Stankova
            Honorable Mentions: Sarah Marie Belcastro, Debra Boutin, Cheryl Grood, Karen King, Speranta Marcu, Edith Mooers,                            Jessica Polito, and Diana Thomas
            Special Recognitions: Yick Chan, Millie Niss

1990   Linda Green and Elizabeth Wilmer (Co-Winners)
            Honorable Mentions: Jennifer Beineke, Urmi Bhattacharya, Hope Concannon, Colleen Gallagher, Lela Hill, Judy Leavitt, Jennifer McLean, Jeanne Nielsen Clelland, Natalie Thurman, and Ileana Vasu
            Special Recognition: Julie B. Kerr

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