Math Graduate Students Receive AWM Student Chapter Award

Recognized for Organizing 2018 Texas Women in Math Symposium

The Association for Women in Mathematics Student Chapter at the University of Houston received a 2019 Scientific Excellence Award for their work in organizing and hosting the 3rd Annual Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium (TWIMS).

TWIMS Brought Together 70 Women Mathematicians

Kayla Bicol
Kayla Bicol (left) receiving the AWM Student Chapter Scientific Excellence Award at the 2019 MathFest.

TWIMS, held on campus in fall 2018, brought together 70 women mathematicians for two days of networking, talks and professional development. Attendees came from all parts of Texas, as well as Louisiana.

“This conference was a good opportunity to meet mathematicians outside your university,” said Duong Nguyen, a mathematics graduate student who served as a co-chair of the organizing committee, along with mathematics graduate student Kayla Bicol. Yuliya Gorb, associate professor of mathematics, served as the faculty advisor.

“After attending the first symposium, we wanted to bring this to Houston,” Bicol said. “We wanted to help strengthen the network of women mathematicians here in Texas.”

Organizers Commended for Efforts Promoting Women in Mathematics

AWM Student Chapter Awards recognize outstanding chapter activities and are awarded each summer at the Mathematical Association of America’s MathFest. This year’s MathFest was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, from July 31 to August 3.

Duong Nguyen and Kayla Bicol
Duong Nguyen (left) and Kayla Bicol (right) served as co-chairs of the TWIMS organizing committee.

As the award committee noted, the TWIMS conference “is, and will continue to be a major event for women in mathematics in Texas, and the University of Houston has done exceptional work in promoting and prolonging its critical influence in the mathematical culture of the region.”

As part of their organizing efforts, Bicol and Nguyen applied for and received a Tensor Women and Mathematics Grant from the Mathematical Association of America. This program supports projects that encourage women to pursue mathematics.

The Tensor Women and Mathematics grant, along with support from the Department of Mathematics and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, helped defray conference costs, keeping registration free for all conference attendees.

“We wanted to give other women mathematicians, especially those who are early in their career, a supportive environment to present their research,” Bicol said.

Other student organizers included Prajakta Bedekar, Sarah Chehade, Daewa Kim, Jennifer May and Kate Nguyen.

- Rachel Fairbank, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics