Student Award Winners Honored at Annual Ceremony
Three graduate students and two undergraduates were recognized recently at the Department of Mathematics’ annual student awards ceremony.
This year’s graduate honors went to Tara Davis and Hang Wang, who tied for excellence in teaching, and to Thomas Sinclair for outstanding research. Mathematics senior Joseph Thurman was recognized for undergraduate achievement along with runner-up Colin Klaus.
The Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Research was awarded to Thomas Sinclair, whose research area is the theory of von Neumann algebras with a particular emphasis on the structure theory of II1 factors. Sinclair has had a paper published this year in the Journal of Functional Analysis and is co-author of a second paper that has been accepted for publication in Ergodic Theory & Dynamical Systems.
“Thomas is very self motivated and has a broad view of mathematics that gives him a unique perspective on problems,” says Assistant Professor of Mathematics Jesse Peterson, one of Sinclair’s two advisors. “He has really been more like a postdoc than a student in his last year.”
His other advisor, Department Chair Dietmar Bisch, says, “Thomas is smart, driven, hard-working, and has lots of original ideas. I am sure we will see excellent mathematics from him in the years to come.”
Sinclair received his Ph.D. in May 2011. He has accepted a postdoctoral position at UCLA, where his specialization -- II1 factors -- is an active research area.
The 2011 B.F. Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded jointly to Tara Davis and Hang Wang. Director of Teaching John Rafter noted that the Bryant Award honors graduate student teachers who inspire undergraduates to be active problem solvers, to search for and recognize patterns, and to understand why theorems are true – all while maintaining high expectations and standards.
Davis received her Ph.D. in May 2011 and has a postdoctoral appointment at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Wang will receive her Ph.D. in August 2011 and has accepted a postdoctoral position at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Joseph Thurman received the Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics. The Larsen Award is given each spring to the senior math major judged by the faculty to have excelled in all aspects of undergraduate mathematics.
“Joe has taken a total of 58 hours of mathematics at Vanderbilt, including all the first-year graduate-level courses, and he has excelled in all of them,” said Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Gieri Simonett. “He has demonstrated an exemplary work ethic and has shown great promise.”
Thurman has been accepted at SUNY Stony Brook where he plans to pursue graduate studies in mathematics.
Colin Klaus received recognition as the runner-up for the Larsen Award. Klaus took several graduate-level courses and achieved outstanding success in all of them. Klaus has been accepted in the graduate program at Vanderbilt.
The Department of Mathematics is proud to honor these excellent students.