Recent Awards

2020 College of Science Convocation AWARDS


Student Recognition

CoS Research Scholar Award
Delaney Mosier, BS Mathematics

Churchill Scholarship
Michael Xiao, BS Biology

Barry Goldwater Scholarship
Lydia Fries, junior, Chemistry
Isaac Martin, junior, Mathematics & Physics

CoS Convocation Student Speaker
Delaney Mosier, BS in Mathematics

Faculty Recognition

University of Utah Distinguished Research Award
David Bowling, Professor of Biological Sciences

University of Utah Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence
Cynthia Burrows, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award
Kelly MacArthur, Instructor (Lecturer) of Mathematics

University of Utah Distinguished Research Award
International Society of Electrochemistry Fellow
Shelley Minteer, Professor of Chemistry

University of Utah Distinguished Professor
Valeria Molinero, Professor of Chemistry

University of Utah Distinguished Mentor Award
Pearl Sandick, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy

Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship Award
Tino Nyawelo, Associate Professor (Lecturer) of Physics & Astronomy

John R. Park Fellowship
Andrey Rogachev, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy

Emile Argand Award from the International Union of Geological Sciences
Thure Cerling, Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences

Simons Fellowship
Jonathan Chaika, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Karl Schwede, Professor of Mathematics

Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair
James Gagnon, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

American Chemical Society Award in Spectrochemical Analysis
American Chemical Society Fellow
Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Analytical Chemistry
Joel Harris, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

American Mathematical Society Fellowship
Davar Khoshnevisan, Professor of Mathematics

National Science Foundation Early Career Award
Sean Lawley, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair
Ryan Looper, Professor of Chemistry

Celebrate U - Top Entrepreneur 2018
Baldomero Olivera, Professor of Biological Sciences

American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
John Parkinson, Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences

Highly Cited Researcher for 2019 by Web of Science
John Sperry, Professor of Biological Sciences

American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal
National Academy of Inventors Fellow
Peter J. Stang, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in General Education
David Temme, Professor (Lecturer) of Biological Sciences

University Sustainability Teaching Scholar Designation
Tanya Vickers, Instructor (Lecturer) of Biological Sciences

John A. Widtsoe Presidential Endowed Chair in Chemistry
Henry White, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

  


HOME

 

 

2020 Churchill Scholar

Michael Xiao

Five for Five.

Michael Xiao brings home the U's fifth straight Churchill Scholarship.

Five years after the University of Utah became eligible to compete for the prestigious Churchill Scholarship out of the United Kingdom, the university has sported just as many winners. All of them hail from the College of Science, and all were facilitated through the Honors College which actively moves candidates through a process of university endorsement before applications are sent abroad. The effort has obviously paid off.

“These students are truly amazing,” says Ginger Smoak, Associate Professor Lecturer in the Honors College and the Distinguished Scholarships Advisor. “They are not merely intelligent, but they are also creative thinkers and problem solvers who are first-rate collaborators, researchers, learners, and teachers.”

The most recent U of U winner of the Churchill Scholars program is Michael Xiao of the School of Biological Sciences (SBS).

While early on he aspired to be a doctor, Xiao’s fascination with how mutations in the structure of DNA can lead to diseases such as cancer led him to believe that while it would be one thing “to be able to treat someone, to help others, it would be quite another to be able to understand and study the underpinnings of what you’re doing and to be at its forefront.” This is particularly true, right now, he says, with the advent of the coronavirus.

Michael Xiao

The underpinnings of Xiao’s recent success started as early as eighth grade in the basement of his parent’s house where he was independently studying the effects of UV light damage on DNA. To quantify those effects he was invited to join a lab at nearby BYU where faculty member Kim O’Neill, Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Biology mentored him through high school, even shepherding him through a first-author paper.

Since then Xiao has matured into a formidable researcher, beginning his freshman year in the lab of Michael Deininger, Professor of Internal Medicine and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, followed by his move to the lab of Jared Rutter, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in biochemistry. With Rutter he studied the biochemistry of PASK and its roles in muscle stem cell quiescence and activation of the differentiation program. His findings provided insight into the role and regulation of PASK during differentiation, as well as a rationale for designing a small molecule inhibitor to treat diseases such as muscular dystrophy by rejuvenating the muscle stem cell population.

Early experience in a research lab is not only about engaging the scientific method through new discoveries but also about making academic connections that lead to auspicious careers.

Sir Winston Churchill

One of those connections for Xiao was with Chintan Kikani now at the University of Kentucky. In fact the two of them are currently finishing up the final numbers of their joint PASK- related research.

The Churchill award, named after Sir. Winston Churchill, will take Xiao to Cambridge University beginning in October. While there, Xiao plans to join the lab of Christian Frezza at the MRC Cancer Unit for a master’s in medical science. After returning from the UK, Xiao plans to pursue an MD/PhD via combined medical school and graduate school training in an NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program.

Xiao is quick to thank his many mentors as well as SBS and the Honors College, the latter of which, he says, taught him to think critically and communicate well, especially through writing. Honors “was very helpful in helping me improve in a lot of areas,” he says, “that are important to my work and my personal life as well.”

Denise Dearing, Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah describes Michael Xiao as one who “epitomizes how early research opportunities are transformative and how they ‘turbo-charge’ the likelihood of creating world-class scientists. The School is first in line to congratulate him on receiving this extraordinary award.”

 

by David Pace

 

- First Published in OurDNA Magazine, Spring 2020

Related Posts

 

2020 Research Scholar

Goldwater Winner

Goldwater Winner

Cameron Owen 2018 Churchill Scholar

2019 Churchill Scholar

2018 Churchill Scholar

2017 Churchill Scholar

2016 Churchill Scholar

2020 Research Scholar

Delaney Mosier

Delaney Mosier receives top College of Science award.

Delaney Mosier, a graduating senior in mathematics, has been awarded the 2020 College of Science Research Scholar Award for her cutting-edge work in the area of sea ice concentration, using partial differential equation models.

“I am humbled to receive this award,” said Delaney. “The College of Science is teeming with groundbreaking research, so it’s an overwhelming honor to be considered one of the top researchers in the College. I’m proud to be a representative of the amazing research going on in the field of mathematics.”

Delaney is also proud to receive the award as a woman. “I strive to be a positive role model for girls and women in STEM. I hope that by earning this award, I can inspire other women to consider working on mathematics research.”

In his letter of support for Delaney’s nomination, Distinguished Professor Ken Golden, who has served as her supervisor and mentor, discussed her research abilities, natural leadership skills, and mathematical prowess, indicating that Delaney is one of the most talented and advanced students he has seen in his 30+ years of mentoring.

Super Student

The College of Science Research Scholar Award, established in 2004, honors the College’s most outstanding senior undergraduate researcher. The Research Scholar must be a graduating undergraduate major of the College of Science, achieve excellence in science research, have definite plans to attend graduate school in a science/math field, and be dedicated to a career in science/math research.

Studying the Behavior of Sea Ice

Delaney studies patterns in the behavior of sea ice in polar regions. She’s interested in how physical processes affect these patterns on a short-term basis and how climate change can affect them in the long-term.

The primary goal of her research with Dr. Golden is to understand better how and why sea ice is changing over time. Considered relatively low order, their model allows them to study intimately the details of the sea ice pack, which can provide insights that might not yet be apparent to the climate science community. Her work tries to answer one of the most important research questions of the modern age: Why is polar sea ice melting so rapidly and will it ever recover?

She has always been passionate about the environment and finds the project exciting because it incorporates mathematics along with studying climate. “My project is very dynamic,” she noted. “Each time I meet with Dr. Golden, we discuss something new to incorporate into our model or seek a new way to understand it. It’s thrilling to be a part of such unique and innovative work.”

Utah Strong

She became seriously interested in math because of her 7th grade algebra teacher. “Mrs. Hein fostered an exploratory environment—I collaborated with my peers and was often challenged to explore the world of mathematics for myself,” she said. “I couldn’t get enough of it. To this day, math remains the one activity that I can completely lose myself in. Math challenges my mind in exhilarating and motivating ways.”

Mentors at the U

Delaney credits Dr. Golden with helping her pursue a variety of opportunities that have furthered her career as a mathematician. She also has praise for Dr. Courtenay Strong, associate professor of atmospheric sciences, and Dr. Jingyi Zhu, associate professor of mathematics, who have served as mentors and helped guide her research.

“My friend and roommate, Katelyn Queen, has been a wonderful mentor and inspiration to me throughout my journey,” said Delaney. “She is always willing to give me advice and support me in my endeavors. I have watched her excel in her first year of graduate school, and that has inspired me in moving forward.” She also thanks fellow students and her parents for their love and support. “My parents are simply the best,” said Delaney.

Her favorite teacher at the U is Dr. Karl Schwede, professor of mathematics. “I had Dr. Schwede for several classes and learned so much,” she said. “He has high standards for his students, which motivated me and helped me to retain the material. He is also supportive and helpful.”

When she isn’t studying or doing research, she loves to dance and listen to music. She was a competitive Irish dancer from ages 11 – 17. She is also an avid reader, especially during the summer.

The Future

Goodbye Salt Lake City

Delaney will begin her Ph.D. studies in applied mathematics this fall. She hasn’t yet decided if she will work in industry, continue with climate research, or become a professor. “Whatever I decide to do, my goal is to use mathematics to have an impact on the world,” she said.

 

by Michele Swaner

 

 

Goldwater Winner

Isaac Martin

Isaac Martin awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

The College of Science is pleased to announce that Isaac Martin, a junior studying mathematics and physics, has been awarded Utah's second Goldwater Scholarship for 2020-21.

During middle school and most of high school, Isaac lived in Dubai with his family, where he attended an online high school, allowing him to focus on science and math classes. When his family moved to Utah the summer before his senior year, he decided to attend Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) instead of finishing high school, taking as many math and physics classes as he could.

“It was incredible because I had never had teachers like that before,” said Isaac. “My professors at SLCC were more than happy to talk with me after class and during office hours. They were the main reason I was able to complete SLCC's catalog of math and physics courses in a year. They were instrumental in my decision to switch out of my pre-declared computer engineering major into a math and physics double major at the U.”

Transition to Math

During Isaac’s first four semesters at the U, he intended to pursue a physics Ph.D. and focused primarily on physics classes; however, after brief stints in two different labs, he realized mathematics is a better fit for his talents and interests.

Last summer, Isaac participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his work has since resulted in a publication. Isaac has been planning to attend the University of Chicago’s REU math program this summer, but if that doesn’t happen due to COVID-19 concerns, he will continue working on positive characteristic commutative algebra with his U supervisors, Thomas Polstra, a National Science Foundation postdoc, and Professor Karl Schwede.

He is indebted to professors in the Math Department, including Dr. Adam Boocher, previously a postdoc at the U and now assistant professor of mathematics at the University of San Diego; Professor Srikanth Iyengar; Dr. Schwede, Dr. Polstra; and Professor Henryk Hecht. “The thing I appreciate most about my mentors is their willingness to take time out their day to talk to me and offer advice,” said Isaac. “My conversations with them are mathematically insightful, but they also reassure me that I'm worth something as a person and am good enough to pursue a career in math.”

Career Goals

When he’s not doing math, Isaac is most likely either playing piano, rock climbing, running in the foothills, or beating his roommates in Smash Bros Ultimate. “I used to have a huge passion for video game programming and would compete in game jams, which are game development competitions held over 36- or 48-hour time intervals,” said Isaac. “I haven’t been able to do that much in the last few years, but would like to pick it up again as a hobby.”

Isaac hopes to have a career in academia as a pure mathematics researcher. “I'd especially like to study problems in commutative algebra and representation theory with relevance to mathematical physics,” he said. Isaac also remains interested in the world of condensed matter. “There is so much novel mathematics dictating theoretical condensed matter, and I expect many exciting breakthroughs will happen there in the near future.”

 

The Goldwater Scholarship

 

 

As the result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP), Mrs. Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees of the Goldwater Board have increased the number of Goldwater scholarships it has awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year to 396 college students from across the United States. “As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the U.S. is developing this talent,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as he explained the partnership. With the 2020 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 9047 and a scholarship total to over $71M.

From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1343 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 461 academic institutions to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 191 of the Scholars are men, 203 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 287 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 59 are majoring in engineering. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 93 Rhodes Scholarships, 146 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

 

by Michele Swaner

 

 

Goldwater Winner

Lydia Fries

Lydia Fries awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

The College of Science is pleased to announce that Lydia Fries has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship for 2020-21.

As a junior in chemistry, Lydia intends to obtain a Ph.D. in either organic chemistry or electrochemistry. She has done research in both Matt Sigman’s and Shelley Minteer’s groups, and Lydia is an author on two papers with both professors. She has worked on a variety of projects involving electrochemistry, palladium catalysis, and computationally focused projects. As an undergraduate she enrolls in many graduate-level courses and is a Teaching Assistant for Organic Spectroscopy I. Lydia was accepted to REU programs this summer, but has committed to an internship at Genentech and hopes that the current pandemic will have subsided by the time her internship is to begin mid-May.

With encouragement from high school teachers, Lydia followed her passion and her strong aptitude for STEM subjects, and ignored the warnings from her broader community that she shouldn’t pursue such an expensive and “useless” degree. She followed her heart and her brain to the University of Utah where she landed in the ACCESS program and was immediately surrounded by many intelligent and motivated women.

In addition to her studies, Lydia enjoys rock climbing and spending time outdoors, and is currently staying at safe at home in St. George.

The Goldwater Scholarship

As the result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP), Mrs. Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees of the Goldwater Board have increased the number of Goldwater scholarships it has awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year to 396 college students from across the United States. “As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the U.S. is developing this talent,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as he explained the partnership. With the 2020 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 9047 and a scholarship total to over $71M.

From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1343 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 461 academic institutions to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 191 of the Scholars are men, 203 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 287 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 59 are majoring in engineering. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 93 Rhodes Scholarships, 146 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

 

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

 

by Anne Marie Vivienne,
Chemistry News - 03/30/2020

Fellow of the A.M.S.

U Professor and Chair Named Fellow of American Mathematical Society

Davar Khoshnevisan, professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, has been named a member of the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The Society recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.

“I believe my selection as a Fellow is the fourteenth induction within the Department of Mathematics at the U, so this is as much a statement about my work as it is about the terrific intellectual environment within the department. It is a big honor to be a part of our program at the U and to help advance our field. The American Mathematical Society plays a crucial role in the development of mathematics worldwide. I am proud that my colleagues and I contribute to this important endeavor.” - Davar Khoshnevisan

 

Khoshnevisan remembers being taught calculus by an uncle when he was very young. As part of the lesson, his uncle would weave in stories about mathematics and mathematicians—famous ones from the history of mathematics, as well as those his uncle had met in his own studies of the subject. “I knew then that mathematics would not be just a job but instead a lifelong pursuit of truth and discovery,” said Khoshnevisan. “I still try to aim for this in my research today.”

Khoshnevisan originally trained to be a researcher in mathematical statistics and probability theory. During the past 10-15 years, his work has largely been in “stochastic analysis,” an area that lies on the intersection of probability theory and function theory. Science and math historians agree that probability theory was born, probably after the 8th century, as a way to study what we now called “cryptography.” Probability theory resurfaced again when mathematicians in the 16th and 17th centuries began analyzing "games of chance."

The mathematical foundations of probability evolved much later in the early decades of the 20th century, which led to an explosion of ideas and to the introduction of new areas of intellectual activity in which “chance” plays a central role. In turn, this has opened up challenging problems in mathematics and created an entirely new paradigm of “stochastic models” that lies at the heart of many science and engineering models today. During the past decade, Khoshnevisan’s work has revolved around developing mathematical ideas and techniques that aid the rigorous analysis of complex systems in science and engineering.

Khoshnevisan received a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in statistics in 1989. He joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a year and the University of Washington for three years before moving to Utah and the U in 1993 as an assistant professor in mathematics. He has been an honorary fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a visiting member of the Mathematics Research Institute at Berkeley, as well as the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a Simons Visiting Professor at the Mathematical Research Institute of Oberwolfach in Germany and an invited professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the University of Paris, and the University of Lille. He is a 2015 Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and was an IMS Medallion Lecturer in 2018.

See the original story @ math.utah.edu

Royal Fellow

Christopher HaconMcMinn Presidential Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, can now add another honor of a lifetime to his already stellar resume: Election to The Royal Society of London.

Hacon, born in England, is one of 50 eminent scientists elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, along with 10 Foreign Members, in 2019. Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. Through its history, the society has named around 1,600 Fellows and Foreign Members, including around 80 Nobel laureates.

“Of course it is a great honor to be elected to the Royal Society and I am very happy and excited for the positive light it sheds on my research and my department,” Hacon said.

“Over the course of the Royal Society’s vast history, it is our fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realized: to use science for the benefit of humanity,” said Royal Society president Venkatraman Ramakrishnan in a release. “It is with great honor that I welcome them as Fellows of the Royal Society.”

“Christopher Hacon,” according to the Royal Society’s biography page, “is a mathematician who specializes in the field of algebraic geometry which, loosely speaking, is a branch of mathematics that studies the geometric properties of sets defined by polynomial equations. Together with his co-authors, Hacon has proved many foundational results on the geometry of higher dimensional algebraic varieties including the celebrated result on the finite generation of canonical rings.” Because algebraic geometry is closely connected to other fields within and beyond mathematics, Hacon’s work has had broad impact.

He has been honored with prestigious awards such as the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, the 2016 EH Moore Research Article Prize, the 2015 Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award from the University of Utah, the 2011 Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in Mathematics Mechanics and Applications, the 2009 Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra and the 2007 Clay Research Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and holds the U’s McMinn Presidential Chair in Mathematics.

Hacon and other newly elected fellows will be formally admitted to the society in July, when they will sign the Charter Book and the Obligation of the Fellows of the Royal Society.

Other U connections in the Royal Society

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is the current president of the Royal Society of London (elected as a fellow in 2003). He is a 2009 Nobel laureate and taught at the University of Utah from 1995 to 1999.

Simon Tavaré is the director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He taught at the University of Utah from 1978 to 1981 and from 1984 to 1989. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.

Philip Maini is the director of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford. He taught at the University of Utah from 1988 to 1990. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015.

John Knox was a leader in the field of gas chromatography and began working with liquid chromatography after a sabbatical fellowship at the University of Utah in 1964. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984. He died in 2018.

UNEWS - 2019 - Paul Gabrielsen

Teaching Excellence

Kelly MacArthur, assistant chair and an instructor lecturer in the U’s Mathematics Department, has received two teaching awards from the U—the Career Services Faculty Recognition Award and the Excellence in Education Award. Both awards are given annually with students nominating faculty.

“An Amazing Teacher”

Career Services recognizes outstanding faculty who have made significant contributions to their students’ professional development in helping students find resources, guide their career paths, and realize their potential. Since 2005, the Latter-Day Saint Student Association has given the Excellence in Education Award.

“Kelly is an amazing teacher and role model,” said Shams Al-shawbaki in nominating MacArthur for the Career Services Faculty Recognition Award. “Not only is she great at her job and understands the responsibility behind what she does, but she shows passion and care towards her students. Kelly has affected me in positive ways in math as well as in my self-confidence and career at the University of Utah. We need more teachers like her.”

Aubrey Mercer, who nominated MacArthur for the Excellence in Education Award, was initially nervous about taking calculus as a freshman, but it turned out to be her favorite class. “Kelly creates such a welcoming environment,” said Mercer. “She really cares about our success.” Both students noted that MacArthur makes a point to learn the names of every student in her class—no small feat since MacArthur often teaches between 150-200 students each semester.

 Teaching Students to Fail

MacArthur said her teaching style has evolved over 25 years, especially during the last decade. Every day she writes the same sentence on the whiteboard: “This is a kind, inclusive, brave and failure-tolerant class.” She created the statement to encourage a sense of community and collaboration within the context of math class. “Failure tolerance is so important, and permission to fail often gets lost in math if students are only looking for the “right” answer,” said MacArthur. “It’s important to create an environment where students feel safe and free to make mistakes. My goal is to humanize the classroom and teach human beings. Teaching math is not the primary goal—it’s learning about my students and what speaks to them.”

In addition to teaching, MacArthur co-created and appears in the Math Department’s public lecture videos. She has developed math materials for elementary and secondary teachers; developed an online math course for non-STEM majors, organized the Math Department’s involvement in the Ndahoo’ah American Indian summer outreach project in the Mohave Valley on the Navaho Reservation; and created a math program for men and women at the Utah State Prison. She serves on the Math Education Committee and on the Undergraduate Mathematics Curriculum Committee. She is also chair of the U’s Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity, among other administrative positions.

MacArthur received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Arizona State University and a master’s in mathematics from the U. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in undergraduate mathematics education.

Staff: Mary Levine

Staff Excellence Award


 

The College of Science is pleased to announce that Mary Levine has received an inaugural College of Science Staff Excellence Award in 2019. The Staff Excellence Awards were created this year to recognize the impactful contributions from staff in the College and will be an ongoing award in the future.

Mary Levine joined the University of Utah 35 years ago, more than 20 years of this service being in the Department of Mathematics.  She is Assistant to the Chair of Mathematics, and provides administrative support to the faculty.

The College of Science has many truly wonderful staff who work tirelessly to assist students and faculty. Our sincerest thanks to this group for taking the initiative each day to make the College excellent in so many different ways!

 

Teaching Excellence

The CoS Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes extraordinary skill in university teaching with an emphasis on outstanding accomplishments and commitments to science and/or math education. This year, we express our appreciation to Leslie Sieburth who has excelled in challenging the intellectual curiosity of our undergraduates.