Annual Awards Feature Unexpected Twist
There was a surprise twist at the department's recent 2012 student awards ceremony. Most years, the graduate student awards are like the Oscars: one winner per category. But this year, both awards were shared -- and by the same two students. Jeremy LeCrone and Justin Shroeder were co-recipients of both the Billy Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Excellence in Research.
Commenting on their joint recognition for the Bryant Prize, Director of Teaching John Rafter noted their consistently high praise in student evaluations and said, “Both Jeremy and Justin challenge their students and demonstrate their passion for mathematics.”
LeCrone and Schroeder were also named co-winners of the Bjarni Jónsson Prize for their research achievements.
LeCrone’s research is in partial differential equations, geometric evolution equations, the theory of function spaces, and nonlinear functional analysis. His dissertation is entitled “On the Axisymmetric Surface Diffusion Flow.” He is the sole author of a paper that has been accepted for publication in Journal of Evolution Equations, and he has also published a proceedings paper with his advisor, Professor Gieri Simonett.
Schroeder’s area of specialization is graph theory and design theory. His dissertation is entitled “Hamilton Cycle Embedding of Complete Tripartite Graphs and Their Applications.” He has one published paper and another accepted for publication, both with his advisor, Professor Mark Ellingham.
Schroeder received his Ph.D. in May 2012, and LeCrone will receive his in August 2012.
Larsen Award for Undergraduate Achievement
The 2012 Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics went to Greg Gauthier. 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.
During his undergraduate career, Gauthier took 54 hours of mathematics courses and achieved a 4.0 GPA. He completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates and an honors thesis under the supervision of Professor Mark Sapir, solving an open problem on what are called sand pile models. His research paper on this work has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Algebra and Computation.
Professor Mike Mihalik, who had Gauthier in his graduate course in topology, said, “I feel he is more advanced as a research mathematician than any previous undergraduate mathematics major at Vanderbilt. My expectations for him are as high as any undergraduate I’ve ever been associated with.”
Gauthier has been accepted at Princeton University, where he will pursue graduate studies in mathematics.
The Department of Mathematics congratulates this year’s award winners and wishes them luck in their future endeavors.