Mathematics Alumni Award Recipients

2021 Mathematics Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Humanitarian Award

Danyel Graves Larsen
BA Mathematics 2004
For more than 15 years, Danyel Graves Larsen has been cultivating the advancement of mathematics through education. Larsen currently serves as National Board certification coordinator for the Oregon Community Unit School District and also is a candidate cohort facilitator for the National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University. Additionally, Larsen holds membership in several professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She also served on the Illinois Education Associations Teacher Leaders and National Board Outreach Committee.
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Outstanding Achievement Award

Dr. Michael Stillman
BA Mathematics 1978
In 1983, Michael Stillman began work with Dave Bayer on the Macaulay computer algebra system. Named after English mathematician Francis Sowerby Macaulay, the Macaulay system showed that it was possible to solve actual problems in algebraic geometry using Gröbner basis techniques and is widely used by researchers in algebraic geometry and related mathematical fields. Following two postdoctoral research fellowships at Brandeis University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stillman joined the mathematics faculty at Cornell University in 1992 as an assistant professor, where he currently serves as a professor of mathematics. 
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Dr. Judy Leavitt Walker
MS Mathematics 1992; PhD Mathematics 1996
Judy Leavitt Walker currently serves as the Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics and associate vice chancellor for faculty and academic affairs at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). On the national level, she serves as a trustee of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and is currently serving as chair of the AMS Board of Trustees. She co-founded the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM), a national conference for undergraduate students in mathematics with a focus on women. Among her numerous recognitions and honors, she was named a fellow of AMS in 2012 and a fellow of Association for Women in Mathematics in 2019.
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2020 Mathematics Alumni Award Recipients

Actuarial Science Program Alumnus of the Year Award

Steven Armstrong
BS Actuarial Science 1992

Steven Armstrong is vice president of pricing analytics and actuarial services at Allstate Insurance Co. In this role, he has shared responsibility for pricing more than $20 billion in premiums and has a lead role in improving pricing sophistication through advancing actuarial methods. Notably, Armstrong was one of the first actuaries to be part of a team that brought forward a telematics, usage-based auto insurance program in the U.S., known now as Drivewise by Allstate. Armstrong is also the president of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), the premier credentialing organization of casualty actuaries in North America and around the world. 
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2019 Mathematics Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement

Howard Aizenstein
BS Mathematics 1986; MS Math&CS 1988; PhD Computer Science 1993; MD 1995
Howard Aizenstein is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh where he holds the Charles F. Reynolds III and Ellen G. Detlefsen Endowed Chair in Geriatric Psychiatry. He also holds an appointment as Professor of Bioengineering and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the founder and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory. Aizenstein is an international leader in the effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease and late-age onset depression through the application of computational methods to high magnetic field imaging. His research group has developed semi-automated methods of morphometric and functional MRI analyses. 
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James Donaldson
MS Mathematics 1963; PhD Mathematics 1965 (PhD Advisor: Ray Langebartel)
James Donaldson is a professor emeritus of Howard University. He served as chair of the Mathematics Department at Howard University (1972-1990). During his tenure as chair, the department underwent a transformation that built a strong research program and the development and inauguration of the first and only PhD degree program in mathematics at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). He served as Dean of Howard University’s College of Arts and Sciences (1999-2012) where he expanded special programs and introduced initiatives that included the New York African Burial Ground Project, the development of more than ten summer study abroad programs and launching and expanding their Undergraduate Research Program.
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Christine Heitsch
BS Mathematics (with Highest Distinction and Magna Cum Laude) 1994
Christine Heitsch is a professor in the School of Mathematics at Georgia Institute of Technology and is Director of the Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology (SCMB), an NSF-Simons Research Center for Mathematics of Complex Biological Systems. She received her PhD from University of California Berkeley in 2000. During her trail-blazing career she has leveraged mathematics, especially combinatorics, to understand the role and function of RNA in biological systems.
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Edwin Perkins
PhD Mathematics 1979 (PhD Advisor: Frank Knight)
Edwin Perkins is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Probability in the Department of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. Perkins is one of the most famous and influential researchers in probability theory.  The variety of his research contributions is impressive, ranging from the study of Brownian motion to measure-valued processes, stochastic differential equations and interacting particle systems. His work continues to open new promising directions and have a strong influence on the development of probability theory. He has received widespread recognition: the Rollo-Davidson Prize, CRM-Fields Prize, NSERC Canada Steacie Fellowship, invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians, and a Fellowship in the Royal Society of London. He is also recognized for his generous support and encouragement to graduate students and young mathematicians beginning their careers.
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2018 Mathematics Alumni Award Recipients

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

Daniel Zaharopol
MS Teaching of Mathematics 2008; MS Mathematics 2009
Daniel Zaharopol has founded two education non-profit programs: Learning Unlimited and Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM). For the past few years, Dan’s focus has been on BEAM, which provides a comprehensive 6th-12th grade pathway for underserved students to become scientists and mathematicians.
Read more about Daniel Zaharopol.

Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement

Dr. Mary Lynn Reed
MS 1990; PhD Mathematics 1995
Mary Lynn Reed is currently Chief of Mathematics Research at the National Security Agency (NSA). Through her diverse and productive career, she has distinguished herself as a national figure in the mathematics profession, making direct research contributions to the classified and unclassified bodies of mathematics literature, demonstrating clear impact to the security of the United States and of the world. She has made visionary efforts to ensure a strong future for applied research for national security, by serving as a leader for diversity and inclusion and by her dedication to increasing the participation of women in the mathematical sciences.
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John A. Stevenson, Jr.
BS Teaching of Mathematics 1960; MBA Industrial Marketing 1978
John Stevenson's
career began in June 1960 when he joined AT&T and Illinois Bell in an advanced officer training program. At AT&T he rose to Vice President of Marketing of the Consumer Products Division and managed a labor force of 15,000 employees with an annual revenue budget objective exceeding $2 billion. He was responsible for product development and management of over 600 telecommunications products. He designed a new revenue long-term strategy for retail and global markets resulting in the first phone center store in Woodfield, IL, and the addition of 800 retail stores throughout the U.S.
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