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2012 Alder Award Winners Announced

2012 Henry L. Alder Awards for Distinguished Teaching Winners

August 6, 2012  

The Mathematical Association of America has selected Kathryn Leonard (California State University Channel Islands), Susan Martonosi (Harvey Mudd College), and Michael Posner (Villanova University) as the 2012 winners of the Henry L. Alder Awards for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member. Full citations and biographical information for each winner are available below.

In January 2003 the MAA established the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member to honor beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extra ordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. An awardee must have taught full time in a mathematical science in the United States or Canada for at least two, but not more than seven, years since receiving the Ph.D. Each year at most three college or university teachers are to be honored with this national award and are to receive $1,000 and a certificate of recognition from the MAA. Award recipients will be expected to make a presentation at one of the national meetings of the MAA. Nominations for the award may be made by any member of the MAA or by any section of the MAA.

Read more about the award.

Awards were presented during the MAA Prize Session on Friday, August 3, 2012, at the 2012 MAA MathFest in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kathryn Leonard (California State University Channel Islands)

Kathryn Leonard of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is an outstanding educator who has had significant impact beyond her classroom through undergraduate research, encouragement of underrepresented groups, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. She creatively teaches a wide variety of courses, continually refining them with an intense student-centered focus. Some of her innovations include allowing students to jointly develop course expectations, writing individualized exam problems for each student, and giving students out-of-class Super Fun Activities (typically called midterms, terminology courtesy of Ami Radunskaya). Dr. Leonard has been described as a phenomenal student research mentor, supervising over 20 research students through an academic- year undergraduate research group and an ongoing REU as well as Master?s theses. Her mentoring has had a profound impact on many students who have gone on to graduate work, many of whom had few family and community role models for advanced academic work. She seeks out first-generation college students for research positions. Dr. Leonard works with a summer program preparing underrepresented groups for success in college and works to increase scientific and technological success of at-risk girls through links between art and science. She co-founded the CSUCI Critical Friends Group, a multi-disciplinary group of faculty who meet regularly to improve their teaching through dialogue, reflection, and problem solving. She collaborates on projects with the Small Business Institute, the Center for Multicultural Engagement, and the Center for Integrative Studies, and has received multiple grants linking research and teaching of over a quarter million dollars each. She has had a significant impact on her students, the mathematical community and higher education in general.

Biographical Note

Kathryn Leonard began her mathematical career in her junior year at University of New Mexico as an English major petitioning to waive the mathematics graduation requirement. Petition denied, she enrolled in a Calculus I course that?much to her surprise?led to a double major in Mathematics and English. After a stint writing for Popular Science magazine, she earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Brown University under David Mumford?s supervision. She received a von Kármán Instructorship at California Institute of Technology, then joined the faculty at California State University Channel Islands. An NSF CAREER award currently supports her research on skeletal shape models with industrial applications to shape recognition. She serves as a Co-Principal Investigator on two additional NSF grants, providing funding for an REU and the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics, and on a W.M. Keck Foundation grant funding interdisciplinary research courses. She still gets no respect from her cats.

Susan Martonosi (Harvey Mudd College)

Susan Martonosi of Harvey Mudd College (HMC) is an innovative teacher, particularly in her use of technology, real-world applications and undergraduate research. Her passion for teaching probability, statistics and Operations Research (OR), has truly revitalized student interest at HMC in those areas. She popularized OR at HMC, reviving an undergraduate course that drove up demand for her new advanced course in the field. She brings industrial sponsors into the HMC Mathematics Clinic senior projects course and emphasizes the societal impact of mathematical modeling. Dr. Martonosi is a prolific undergraduate research mentor, having worked with over 30 students on senior theses, clinics, independent studies and summer projects. Moreover, she has influenced the national OR community to embrace undergraduate research, by organizing both a track for undergraduate research talks at the INFORMS conference and a new prize for undergraduate research in OR. Her award-winning case study of airline flight delays, Flight Delays at RegionEx, illustrates fundamental data analysis skills and common statistical paradoxes. She has also had international influence outside of mathematics bettering lives through her work supervising the student group Engineers for a Sustainable World, which developed and delivered a solar-powered water pumping system for a Kenyan school. Dr. Martonosi is a passionate and inspiring teacher who has already had a significant impact through her work.

Biographical Note

Susan Martonosi is Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Mathematics Clinic program at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA. She received her B.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and spent two years teaching high school mathematics in Guinea, West Africa with the Peace Corps. She received her Ph.D. in Operations Research from MIT and has been teaching at Harvey Mudd College since 2005. Her research expertise is in the mathematical modeling of problems in homeland security, and her latest research interest is solving logistics problems pertaining to humanitarian aid. She enjoys involving undergraduates in her research and has mentored over thirty undergraduate research students. She co-founded the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Science) Undergraduate Operations Research Prize and is active in the Education Forum of INFORMS. She is also a Project NExT Fellow (Sepia Dot).

Michael Posner (Villanova University)

Michael Posner of Villanova University is cited as an innovative and creative teacher whose impact on the teaching of statistics goes far beyond his home institution. His students praise him for his enthusiasm, his passion for statistics, and the open and caring atmosphere he establishes in every classroom. Dr. Posner?s use of individual student projects has received rave reviews from the class participants, and his assessment techniques have merged statistical research and pedagogy in a unique way. As a result, his students have submitted projects to a national competition. Outside the classroom, he initiated a university-wide task force investigation into the teaching and use of statistics across the various colleges of the university. Last year, Dr. Posner was the sole recipient of the Villanova University 2010 Faculty Award for Innovative Teaching. His involvement in the national Statistics Education community is both broad and deep, including his service as Chair of the MAA?s Special Interest Group on Statistics Education and member of the ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics. His efforts have resulted in his serving as Co-Principal Investigator of a four-year $2.4 Million NSF Discovery Grant concerning innovative assessment techniques for teachers and students in the Greater Philadelphia Area Schools.

Biographical Note

Michael Posner is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Villanova University. He holds a B.A. in Statistics and Economics from the University of Rochester, an M.S. in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Boston University. His publications and research span the fields of statistics education research, biostatistics, health care research, statistics and the law, educational research, and analysis of observational studies. Dr. Posner serves on a number of national committees on statistics education through both the MAA and the American Statistical Association, is a Project NExT fellow (Sepia Dot), and is the Associate Director for Professional Development for the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE). He has taught the JMM mini-course on Teaching Introductory Statistics for the past few years. Outside the classroom, he is a ?retired? competitive ballroom dancer who plays ultimate frisbee and volleyball and enjoys spending time with his wife, five year old twins, and newborn.