The University of Illinois Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has received the 2018 AWM Student Chapter Award for Community Outreach, awarded by the Association for Women in Mathematics in recognition of their outstanding engagement with the local community by highlighting women in mathematics and demonstrating the power and fascination of mathematics. This AWM Community Outreach award will be presented at MathFest in Denver, Colorado on August 3, 2018.
"Outreach activities benefit not just the intended recipients, but the organizers as well. AWM students experience firsthand the positive effect of their efforts on young minds and underrepresented groups. This in turn inspires them and influences their future careers and plans. Sharing knowledge and serving as a role model is probably one of the highest honors and sources of joy for academics" said associate professor Zoi Rapti, the chapter’s faculty advisor.
"The Illinois AWM chapter is honored to be selected for this award," says Emily Shinkle, president of the local AWM chapter. "Providing opportunities for students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to experience and discover beauty in mathematics is a priority of our chapter. We’ve been fortunate to have an abundance of departmental support towards these ends, as well as many graduate students who have worked tirelessly to build the chapter into what it is today. I am excited by the opportunity to help the chapter continue to grow and expand our influence in the community around us."
Activities organized by this chapter include
- Seminar series – one highlighting graduate student research and the other on issues related to teaching and diversity.
- Sonia Math Day, a one-day event for 8th-12th grade girls held in fall and spring semesters, has been on-going since 2013. This program encourages high school girls to consider pursuing higher education in math and science.
- Girls Engaged in Mathematics and Science (GEMS) Workshop is for 6th-9th grade girls. These math and art-themed workshops are held on four Saturday afternoons during spring semester and have been on-going since 2014.
Rapti says "My role was really minimal, the AWM students are truly exceptional. They have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to community outreach and great dedication to inclusion and diversity. I am honored to serve as their mentor and extremely proud of them."
Established in 2011, the University of Illinois Student Chapter of AWM seeks to provide a community for women graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Mathematics through activities and to assist them in advancing in their careers through professional development opportunities. The officers and members of this chapter have received numerous awards and grants at local and national levels. AWM members are also busy working on their dissertations and can be found traveling to national conferences to present their research. Through their various outreach activities with local students in grades K-12, as well as the home-schooled community, they are expanding the future community of women mathematicians.
Learn more about the Illinois AWM chapter at their website.