In 1996, the Department of Mathematics established awards to recognize the most outstanding undergraduate students in each of the majors offered by the department.
The department is pleased to announce the Most Outstanding Major Award winners for 2023.
Most Outstanding Major in Teaching of Mathematics
Kaitlyn Ho has been named the 2023 recipient of the Most Outstanding Major Award in Teaching of Mathematics. Kaitlyn is a senior majoring in mathematics and minoring in secondary education.
Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, she has been an instrumental part of Department of Mathematics activity, having provided support for the graduate internship program INMAS, worked as a course assistant for multiple undergraduate mathematics courses, served on the math department’s teaching awards committee, and tutored students in the Mathematics & Statistics Student Support Center.
Kaitlyn has also taken on leadership roles on campus, serving as president of the Undergraduate Association for Women in Mathematics and the treasurer and cultural outreach officer for the Asian American Association at Illinois.
Kaitlyn says she plans to pursue a master’s degree in business analytics to better understand how to use mathematics outside of the classroom.
Most Outstanding Major in Mathematics
Senior Ariel “Ari” Lerman is the 2023 Most Outstanding Major Award in Mathematics. Ari’s nominators say he “has taken to his studies of mathematics with abandon.” In addition to fulfilling all of the requirements of the mathematics undergraduate major, he has also taken nineteen graduate-level courses in his time at Illinois.
Ari also conducted research alongside mathematics professor Vadim Zharnitsky on a project in dynamical systems. Since 2020, he has been working with physics professor Jorge Noronha on a project in relativistic hydrodynamics.
Ari previously earned the department’s Elsie Thomas Fraser Award and the 2021 Salma Wanna Award for exceptional performance in mathematics. In 2021, Ari was selected for a Goldwater scholarship.
Ari plans to join the mathematics department at Yale University as a PhD student next fall. He says his long-term career goals are to work in academia.
Most Outstanding Major in Actuarial Science
Henry Curcio has been named the recipient of the 2023 Most Outstanding Major Award in Actuarial Science. Henry’s nominators highlighted his stellar academic performance in challenging coursework, his professional achievements, and his commitment to the community. At Illinois, Henry has participated in undergraduate research, leading a team at State Farm on an advanced modeling project.
Outside of academics, Henry likes to stay active, playing intramural soccer and football, as well as rock climbing with friends. He is also an avid chess player.
Henry has completed two summers as an actuarial intern and plans to pursue a trading internship this summer. “I will likely go into one of these two fields depending on how I like the internship,” he says.
Lee DeVille, Stefanie Klajbor-Goderich, Shelby Koehne