KU Association for Women in Mathematics Receives Community Outreach Award

Old Main.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University's chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) was awarded the Community Outreach Award by the National AWM organization this past fall. This award is given to a student chapter in recognition of its outstanding engagement with the local community.

The KU student chapter of AWM was formed in 2013 to encourage and support women at KU in their mathematical endeavors. Since its establishment, KU AWM has branched out to include events for the entire KU community. Among these events include Women's Empowerment Day and Beyond Pink-Collar Jobs. KU AWM has also hosted events for the greater Kutztown community such as the Mathematics Day for Girls, which was held every January from 2017 to 2020. This event brought local high school and middle school girls to campus, but due to COVID-19, KU AWM was forced to halt their in-person activities. KU AWM continued to provide community engagement with the startup of their virtual lecture series, which features women from around the nation who speak about their mathematical research. This lecture series has had attendees from four different continents.

In the fall of 2021, KU AWM's efforts were recognized by the National AWM organization, where they received the AWM Student Chapter Award for Community Outreach. The National AWM also provides three other categories for awards including the Funding and Sustainability Award, the Professional Development Award and the Scientific Excellence Award.

Dr. Lyn McQuaid, associate professor of Mathematics, has overseen KU AWM and is thrilled to accept the award.

"Just last week, I was participating in a Zoom call with all the award winners from this past year," said McQuaid. "I was struck by the fact that we were the only school for which the AWM student chapter was solely made up of undergraduates. The other winning schools, Rutgers University, UC San Diego and Virginia Tech, all have Ph.D. programs in mathematics and their student chapters consist of graduate students. This made our award feel like even more of an accomplishment."

Much of the success of KU AWM in recent years is due to the leadership and vision of KU senior Vanessa Maybruck, who has served as the chapter president. She has recently been awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Students who are interested in getting involved in KU AWM do not have to identify as a woman or need to be a mathematics major to join. For more information on becoming a member, please contact McQuaid at mcquiad@kutztown.edu or co-advisor, Dr. Amy Lu, at lu@kutztown.edu.