Welcome to the Association for Women in Mathematics 2019 Elections!

This year, we are electing a President-Elect, a Treasurer, and four Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee. The Member-at-Large positions are contested, so we encourage you to vote. 

On or about November 4, 2019, eligible members will receive an email invitation to vote with an electronic ballot link in the email. A ballot is also included on page 11 of the November–December issue of the AWM Newsletter, for those who prefer to vote by mail. A validating signature is required on the envelope if you vote via paper ballot.

  • All ballots (electronic and paper) must be received by December 1, 2019!
  • Institutional, affiliate, and corporate memberships do not carry voting privileges.
  • Those elected will take office on February 1, 2020.
  • If you do not receive the email, contact Managing Director Steven Ferrucci at steven@awm-math.org or 401-455-4042.

Candidate Statements

Click here  for or an overview of all candidates, or click on a candidate’s name below to go directly to their statement, biographical data, and photo.


Statement: It’s a distinct honor and pleasure to be nominated for President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, following in the footsteps and benefitting from the service of a long line of distinguished women who support and promote other women. Indeed, I would not have found professional fulfillment and success without a whole team of people, many of whom are women, who gave me a hand when I needed one. I look forward to offering my hand likewise as AWM President.

AWM is a rare professional society that equally values research, teaching, and service, where people who have taken divergent pathways in mathematics work together to strengthen the whole mathematical community. Building on the work of previous presidents and the AWM community, I am excited to continue AWM’s strong programs engaging girls in math, repairing the leaky pipeline, supporting women in research, fighting sexual harassment and ther workplace issues, and striving for a community of true inclusivity.

When I feel dismayed at the continued stories of obstacles facing women in the mathematical sciences, I remind myself of the progress made by organizations like AWM. Many colleges and universities only began admitting undergraduate women in my lifetime. Family policies now exist almost everywhere. Women are being recognized with top prizes for their excellent work in research and teaching. The headway AWM has made leading to today’s vibrant professional community of female mathematicians is substantial and encouraging. But there is more to be done, particularly for women with other marginalizing identities. The need for support and advocacy remains as strong and real as ever, and we can only make progress through sustained and focused effort.

I am especially interested in matters of:

  • Diversity, where AWM works to advocate for and represent in its governance the entire range of its constituency, along socioeconomic, ethnic, (inter)national, and gender axes;
  • Integration, where AWM not only creates networks and supports for its members, but also facilitates their active, real participation in the broader professional mathematical community as equal partners;
  • Safety in the workplace, where AWM leads the charge to keep all mathematicians free from sexual harassment, bullying, and other workplace aggressions;
  • Promotion, where AWM continues to fight against the effect of implicit bias on prizes, grants, and other forms of professional recognition;
  • K–12 engagement, where American girls may maintain their interest and live up to their potential in mathematics, contributing to the growth of our community in step with their international sisters; and
  • Top-level representation, where the upper ranks of academia, industry, and government recognize and welcome the many talented women doing exceptional work.

I hope that in making an active effort along these fronts, I may give back to a community I believe fiercely in, and move us closer to a time when such work is no longer necessary.

Biographical information: Kathryn Leonard is Professor and Founding Chair of Computer Science at Occidental College. Before that, she was a member of the Mathematics Department and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at CSU Channel Islands, the newest member of the Cal State system. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Applied and Computational Mathematics department at Caltech after finishing her PhD in Mathematics at Brown University. She is the director of the NSF-funded Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics, which received the 2015 Programs that Make a Difference award from the AMS. She received a 2013 Henry L. Alder Award for Excellence in Teaching from the MAA and an AWM Service Award in 2015. She previously served on the AWM Executive Committee as chair of the Meetings Portfolio. She is a member of the Oversight Committee for AWM’s ADVANCE grant, serves as chair of its Research Networks Committee, and is on the leadership teams of the Women in the Science of Data and Mathematics (WiSDM) and Women in Shape Modeling (WiSH) Research Networks. Her research interests are in geometric modeling for computer vision and computer graphics, and she has coedited two Springer volumes in that area. She is a coauthor with actor Misha Collins, who plays Castiel on the TV show Supernatural.


Statement: It is an honor and a privilege to be considered for the position of Treasurer of the AWM. Who knew that the accounting degree and my work as an accountant many years ago before pursuing a PhD in mathematics would find a way to be of service in my mathematics life. I have been a member of AWM since receiving my PhD. I chose to be a member to support other women in mathematics in general and those particularly who might follow in a less traditional career trajectory in mathematics, as I have. As Treasurer it
will be an opportunity to work for the financial health of the organization and help continue the good work that has been started in its nearly 50 year history.

Biographical information: Mary Shepherd is Professor of Mathematics at Northwest Missouri State University where she has been since 2001. Currently, she is on sabbatical and is a Visiting Professor at Arizona State University. Her research interests started in differential geometry and have continued into undergraduate mathematics education, particularly in reading mathematics where she has several publications. She has also worked in mathematics as created in needlework where she has chapters in three books. She earned an undergraduate degree in music performance (clarinet) from Missouri State University in 1976, a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and a Masters and PhD in Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. She initially taught at SUNY–Potsdam from 1996 to 2001. She is a Project NExT fellow (Peach Dot–1997) and helped found the Missouri Section NExT program. She has been Secretary/Treasurer, Chair, and Governor/Section Representative of the Missouri Section of the MAA. She has also served on the EC of the MAA as the Budget and Audit member (2008–2010) and after reorganization of the MAA EC, continued to serve as the appointed person on the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors until 2018. Mary is currently a member of the CTUM Committee of the MAA and was involved with the writing and publication of the Instructional Practices Guide of the MAA. Prior to returning to school to pursue mathematics, she was an accountant at various private companies, most recently at Hertz Rent-A-Car. She passed the CPA exam in 1987.

Member-at-Large (Vote for up to 4)

Statement: I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Member-at-Large of the AWM Executive Committee and I am enthusiastic to serve. On a personal level, I am for- tunate to have had mentorship from many women mathematicians at crucial stages of my career. As I have progressed in my life as a researcher and educator, I have tried to similarly ensure that the next generation of women mathematicians receives opportunities and support. AWM organizes important activities such as research sessions and symposia which highlight the research of members of our community and provide valuable opportunities for network-ing. In addition to working on AWM programs that recognize outstanding achievements and inspire other women, as a member of the Executive Committee, I would support AWM initiatives to support diversity in the mathe- matical sciences, especially the participation and retention of underrepresented groups. I would be privileged to serve the community of women mathematicians and to help shape the future of AWM.

Biographical Information: Linda Chen is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Swarthmore College. Prior to joining Swarthmore College in 2008, she held positions at Columbia University and the Ohio State University. She was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Topology and Geometric Analysis programs from 2011 to 2013. Her research interests are in algebraic geometry and algebraic combinatorics. Her research program has been funded by individual National Science Foundation grants and a Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant.

She has served on several AMS committees, including the Nominating Committee, the Selection Committee for the Dolciani Prize for Excellence in Research, and the Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Employment. In addition, she is currently an Associate Editor for the American Mathematical Monthly and has been a co-organizer and scientific committee member of national and interna- tional conferences, including the Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC) Conference, workshops at MSRI, the annual Mid-Atlantic Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics (MAAGC) workshop, and special sessions for AWM Research Symposiums and AMS Sectional Meetings. She has been a mentor and lecturer for several Women and Mathematics Programs at the Institute for Advanced Study, and has met with legislative staff on Capitol Hill as part of an AWM Hill Visit. She enjoys working with girls and women in mathematics at all levels, ranging from running junior math circles for elementary school students to serving as a group leader for the Women in Algebraic Geometry Collaborative Research Workshop at ICERM in 2020.

Statement: It is a great honor to be considered and nominated for Member-at-Large of the AWM Executive Committee. If elected, I will bring a unique perspective to the committee having transitioned from academia, through industry and government. I believe my experiences and ideas will help resonate with existing members and draw in new members creating a new synergy for women across the broadening world of women in mathematics.

Biographical information: Dr. Carla Cotwright-Williams works with the Department of Defense (DoD) on a 12-month detail with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) as the Acting Chief of Data & AI. Prior to working with the DoD, she began her public service in academia—serving over 10 years in research and teaching. She has conducted research with both NASA and the U.S. Navy.

She was the 2012–2013 American Mathematical Society (AMS) Congressional Fellow. During her time on Capitol Hill, she worked as a staffer on the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a House personal office.

She has served as the 2015 Hardy-Apfel Information Technology (IT) Fellow at the U.S. Social Security Administration in Baltimore, MD. As an IT Fellow, Cotwright-Williams worked on a variety of high-profile IT projects including creating fraud analytics in the Office of Anti-Fraud Programs and the launch of SSA’s cloud infrastructure (Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW)) whose primary goal is to improve accessibility to a critical asset, its data.

Cotwright-Williams has been an invited speaker and panelist across the nation speaking to diverse audiences about her research, career transitions, and mentoring.

Cotwright-Williams holds a PhD in Mathematics and serves as the Outside Academia Representative for the National Association of Mathematicians.

She has received a 2019 Women of Color STEM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions in Government.

Statement: I am honored to have been nominated to serve as a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee of the AWM. I would not have been able to pursue a career in mathematics (while raising four children) without the tremendous support I received from my husband, thesis advisor, mentors, and colleagues. Motivated by my own experiences, and by the awareness of the many different challenges that women face at all stages of their professional paths, I have strived to build a sense of community for female mathematicians since I became a faculty member.

My approach is threefold: (i) present positive role models; (ii) encourage young women to follow their dreams of careers in mathematics; and (iii) provide mentoring, moral support, and when possible, fellowship support to encourage retention and facilitate success. In 2007 I created, and have co-organized since, the Women in Mathematics Day at Purdue, an annual event of the department aimed at improving the climate for women graduate students and faculty. I have served as Faculty Sponsor of the AWM Student Chapter at Purdue since its inception in 2011. I have coor-dinated a regional EDGE mentoring group for women graduate students and junior faculty at Midwest institutions, and I am a faculty mentor for the federally funded program HORIZONS, which is designed to assist low-income and first-generation students succeed at Purdue. I have served on various AMS and AWM committees. For the AWM, I have served on the Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize and the Mentoring Grant committees, and I am currently co-editing the Proceedings of the 2019 AWM Research Symposium. I have co-organized several conferences aimed at showcasing the work of women and underrepresented minorities, and I have recently founded, with Irina Mitrea, the AWM Research Network for Women in Analysis. If elected, I look forward to broadening the scope of my efforts to make the mathematical com- munity more inclusive for all underrepresented groups.

Biographical information: Donatella Danielli is a Professor of Mathematics at Purdue University. She received a Laurea cum Laude in Mathematics from the University of Bologna, Italy, in 1989. She completed her doctorate in 1999 at Purdue University under the supervision of Carlos E. Kenig. Prior to joining the Purdue faculty in 2001, she held positions at The Johns Hopkins University and at the Institut Mittag-Leffler in Sweden. She was also a Visiting Fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, UK, in 2014. Her research is in the areas of Partial Differential Equations, Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory, with specific emphasis on free boundary problems arising from physics and engineering. She was the recipient of an NSF-CAREER Award in 2003. She was awarded a Simons Foundation Fellowship in Mathematics in 2014. In 2017 she became a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society “for contributions to partial differential equations and geometric measure theory, and for service to the mathematical community.”

Statement: The first time I heard about AWM was in my senior year in college, when I was named a runner-up for the AWM Alice T. Schafer prize. At that point, I had never had a female professor (and have not, to this day), and to me it was such an internalized norm that I didn’t even stop to think about it. That year, I attended the 2005 joint mathematics meeting in Atlanta where, thanks to AWM, I got to meet many older women in mathematics, including Ingrid Daubechies, who was there giving the AMS Gibbs lecture. I remember sitting in the audience during her talk, which she started by sharing how she often feels like she is actually a “fake” mathematician, and that each time she gives a talk, she worries that this will be the time everyone else will discover she is a fake. This was such a pivotal moment for me, when I realized that a) I am not alone in feeling like I am a fake, that I do not belong in the math world, despite any of my achievements, and b) that while a woman who so clearly is an amazing mathematician can feel this way, she is also smart enough to see past that and courageous enough to admit it to a packed auditorium of (mostly male) colleagues. As I went on to graduate school, then a postdoc, and then two tenure-track positions, AWM has remained an ever present pillar of support for me, always reminding me that I am NOT alone, that I DO belong, and, no matter my feelings, I am not actually a fake. At another joint mathematics meeting, I attended a special session in which only women presented their work: this was another empowering moment for me, when I realized that I am a lot more comfortable and confident in talking about my work when there are many other women around. It encouraged me to seek out opportunities to collaborate and work with female mathematicians, which has led to some of not only the most enjoyable, but also the most interesting, work I have done in my career. As I have progressed in my career, I have become increasingly more interested and involved in supporting younger female mathematicians myself, since I know how lucky I was to have had access to such support throughout my years as a mathematician. As I have participated on various grant panels and departmental committees, I have also become more and more aware of how much work there is to be done to make mathematics an inclusive world for everyone, not just women who look like me, but also women of color and other underrepresented groups. I have been honored to serve on the AWM awards committee over the past two years where this issue was discussed at length, and through which I met several women of color in math who have taught me so much. I am truly honored and excited about the prospect of serving on the AWM Executive Committee. If elected, I would serve to the best of my abilities to continue AWM’s work in helping female mathematicians at all stages of their career. I would a lso work hard to continue the work AWM has begun in making the group more inclusive and supportive of women of color, trans women, and other underrepresented groups, who I know are even more isolated than I have been throughout my own career.

Biographical information: Elena Fuchs is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis. She received her BA in mathematics from UC Berkeley in 2005 and her PhD in mathematics from Princeton University in 2010, advised by Peter Sarnak. She then held postdoc positions at the Institute for Advanced Study and at UC Berkeley, and a tenure track position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before moving to her dream university (UC Davis) in 2016. Her research is in number theory, at the intersection of analytic number theory, geometric group theory, and dynamical ystems. She is a 2016 Sloan Research Fellow and has also been funded by the NSF. She has been a plenary speaker at several major research conferences and has presented her work at dozens of mathematics seminars and conferences, both within the US and internationally.

Fuchs is also committed to outreach and service. At UC Davis, she founded M-PACT, a program connecting the UC Davis mathematics department to Smythe Academy, a middle school in an extremely impoverished and under-privileged school district in Sacramento. This program brings a group of UC Davis mathematics students and faculty (including Fuchs herself) to the school on a weekly basis, not only to show the Smythe students a side of math that they do not have access to at school through games and hands-on activities, but also to form connections between the middle schoolers and people at UC Davis. The program also has a mentoring aspect to it, where middle schoolers are invited to the UCD campus to meet UCD undergraduates who are first generation students coming from situations that are similar to their own. Both within and outside of her university, Fuchs has always been involved with efforts to make mathematics more inclusive of women. She has organized and participated in several conferences and workshops aimed at women, some of which were backed by AWM, and some by WIN (Women in Numbers). From 2017–2019, she served on the AWM Awards Committee. She is also a mother of two wonderful children, born in 2013 and 2018.

Statement: I a m honored to be considered for a position on the AWM Executive Committee. AWM’s efforts have positively impacted the careers of many, and I will work to ensure that they reach out to be as inclusive as possible. Mathematics as a discipline should be a place where not only all are welcome but also everyone can thrive. Much of my career has been devoted to creating programs to encourage students at all levels to enter and persist in the STEM pipeline, especially women and those from groups traditionally underrepresented in mathematics. These include summer camps for young women to support structures and intentional early research engagement for undergraduates and graduate students to collaborative research opportunities for junior faculty. They are designed to broaden views of what success in mathematics looks like and to equip participants with skills and strategies to be more successful and joyful in their mathematical pursuits. Barriers to participation and advancement exist and will perpetuate if simply ignored. AWM provides strength in numbers as well as programs to address some of them. For instance, the AWM Student Chapter of which I was a founding co-advisor continues to move the needle and equip its members to do so as well. Currently, I am chairing the AWM Scientific Board, whose goal is to facilitate nominations of women for prizes, awards, society fellows, and other honors within mathematics and the mathematical sciences. I look forward to seeing more women recognized for their accomplishments.

Biographical information: Gretchen Matthews is a Professor of Mathematics at Virginia Tech, joining the faculty there in 2018. Prior to that, she was a Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. Currently, Matthews is Director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative in Southwest Virginia and on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security & Technology as well as the Computational Modeling & Data Analytics Division in the interdisciplinary Integrated Academy of Science. Her research is in applications of algebraic geometry, especially to coding theory, cryptography, and data storage. She is on the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. She currently serves as Chair of the MAA Committee on Participation of Women and is a member of the AMS Committee on Professional Ethics. Previously, she has served on the AWM Michler Prize Selection Committee and the AWM Long-range Planning Committee. She enjoys creating hands-on activities which immerse K–12 students in mathematics beyond the standard curriculum, especially concepts from coding theory, cryptography, and data storage, and involving graduate students in the process.

Statement: Over the almost 50 years since the AWM was founded, the mathematical cultural landscape has greatly improved. Now, in addition to having more women in math at all levels, there is much broader awareness and support of diversity, discussions about the leaky pipelines, and reporting mechanisms for harassment. However, the issues which remain are pervasive and sneaky, in conscious and unconscious biases, and in cultural and societal messages that start as early as elementary school and persist throughout our careers. Subtle and not-so-subtle cues tell us how a mathematician “should” look, act, be. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that we do belong here.

Throughout my efforts in the AWM, I have sought to expand our community and to support an ever-broadening spectrum of mathematicians. I love taking groups of students and faculty and professionals from industry, government, and academia to Capitol Hill—these events give us a chance to meet with our elected officials and share with them the problems that we face and how they can help. But, more than that, I relish the chance to meet and network with women who are doing math in all kinds of ways. Spending the day with these inspiring women, I am energized to keep working to improve our environment. I hope that my efforts on the new AWM website result in more people seeing that the AWM is indeed “for you,” whether you want to get involved in a student chapter, a Research Symposium, a Capitol Hill Day, or a National Mathematics Festival (or all of these!). Just as there are many ways to be a mathematician, there are many ways to be a part of this amazing organization, and together we only get stronger.

Biographical information: Michelle Snider is a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Center for Computing Sciences (CCS) in Bowie, Maryland. She received her BA in mathematics and physics from Smith College, her MA in mathematics from the University of California San Diego, and her PhD from Cornell University. Her thesis work was in algebraic combinatorics, in which she studied objects including Grassmannians, positroid varieties, and (combinatorial) pipe dreams.

Michelle works with mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, physicists, and others to help solve the National Security Agency’s critical challenges. During her eight years at CCS, Michelle has co-authored over ten classified research papers. She has spent several years as coordinator and lead for an annual summer-long workshop, in which researchers from academia, industry, and government form multidisciplinary teams focusing on selected research problems of current importance.

Michelle is currently the Chair of the AWM’s Government Advocacy Committee, where she organizes the AWM’s Capitol Hill Visits, including the most recent visit coinciding with the JMM in Baltimore. During this Hill Day, 50 AWM members met with 47 members of Congress in one afternoon. She received the 2018 AWM Service Award for her efforts on the new and improved AWM website. She is also a certified Les Mills instructor in Sh’bam, an energetic aerobic dance class.

Statement: I am honored to be considered for election to the AWM Executive Committee. I will repeat here what I have given as advice at http://mathematicallygiftedandblack. com/honorees/suzanne-l-weekes/

Show up—take advantages of opportunities that are offered to you.

Sit up front—be engaged, be involved.

Raise your hand—never be afraid to ask questions, to answer, and to learn. Be an active participant in your experiences.

In our mathematics community, the AWM works towards making sure that girls and women get more opportunities to participate. The AWM helps to make sure that there are opportunities for women to engage and participate as leaders and people of influence, and the AWM works towards ensuring a culture in which all are comfortable sharing their accomplishments, their ideas, and their challenges.

On a personal level, I was touched to have been the recipient of the AWM’s 2019 Humphreys Award for the Mentoring of Undergraduate Women. The comments that I was able to read from my former students remind me of the need for us to keep our work going from year-to-year and person-to-person. We have an impact, our work matters, and there is still more to be done.

Biographical information: Suzanne L. Weekes grew up in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and then went to Indiana University as an international student and received her BS in Mathematics. She moved to Ann Arbor, MI and earned her PhD in Mathematics and Scientific Computing from the University of Michigan in 1995. She held a Visiting Assistant Professor position in the Department of Mathematics and the Institute for Scientific Computing at Texas A&M for three years and then took up a position at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 1998. She is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at WPI and is now the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies ad interim.

Suzanne was honored and grateful to receive the 2019 Humphreys Award for the Mentoring of Undergraduate Women from the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) last year.

She is involved in several initiatives connecting the academic mathematics community to mathematics and statistics work done in business, industry, and government, and with broadening the participation and success of students in mathematical sciences.

Her research publications are in numerical methods for differential equations including applications to spatio-temporal composites/dynamic materials and cancer growth.

Questions regarding the electronic voting process? Please contact Steven Ferrucci at 
steven@awm-math.org or 401-455-4042.