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Beginning Faculty Receive the Mathematical Association of America’s Alder Awards for Teaching

Undergraduates may struggle with math, but great math professors do more than drill content:  They spark interest in mathematics. Three associate professors who have shown leadership in improving the teaching and learning of mathematics will receive the Henry L. Alder Awards for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at the MAA MathFest conference next week in Washington, DC.

The 2015 recipients of the Alder Award are Allison Henrich, associate professor at Seattle University; Patrick Rault, associate professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) College; and Talithia Williams, associate professor at Harvey Mudd College.

The Alder Award allows the MAA to recognize faculty who show leadership early in their careers and serve as examples for their peers, says Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. “These awards recognize professional achievement that reflect the values and mission of the Association and will inspire others in the mathematical sciences community,” he says.

This year’s awardees already have a bevy of accomplishments during their early careers. All three are alumni of the MAA’s Project NExT Fellows program, a teaching development program for recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences, and all three are active mentors and advisers for undergraduate researchers in mathematics.

The Alder Awards were established in 2003, named after former MAA President Henry Alder. To be eligible for the award, awardees must have taught mathematical science full-time in the United States or Canada for two to seven years since receiving their Ph.D.

“The Alder Award is a way to encourage people at a point in their career when they still have lots to give—when there is still much they can contribute,” says Pearson.

Winners of the Alder Award will present their work at MAA MathFest 2015 on Friday, August 7, 2:00 - 3:20 p.m., at the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road, N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Credentialed reporters can request a free press pass by contacting Alexandra Branscombe at


Allison Henrich is an associate professor and chair of the mathematics department at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington. Henrich uses inquiry-based and cooperative learning strategies in her courses to foster interaction among her undergraduate students, and she reaches beyond the classroom through her Quantitative Reasoning course, which requires college students to spend two hours a week tutoring elementary school students in mathematics. Henrich is co-founder of the Seattle University Mathematics Early Research REU program, which provides summer research experiences to underrepresented students.

Patrick Rault is an associate professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo in New York. Rault is recognized for his mentoring of undergraduate students, five of which have co-authored research papers with him. He was co-founder of the Greater Upstate New York Inquiry-Based Learning (UNY IBL) consortium in 2014 and is an active member in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Talithia Williams is an associate professor and associate chair for mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Her students praise her innovative statistical software in her courses, which helps them confidently and creatively answer statistical questions. Williams also takes an active role in advising student teams working on projects across business, industry, and government. Williams serves as MAA’s governor-at large for minority interests and is an officer for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

For more information on MAA MathFest, see:

For more information on the Alder Award session, see:

News Date: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2015