COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Owen Thompson with his mother at the annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony
2019 scholarship recipient Owen Thompson with his mother.

2019 Scholarship and Awards Ceremony

Friday, April 12, 2019, 3:30pm, Neill Hall 5W

Scholarships and awards are given each year to students with high academic achievement and are possible because of the generosity of our donors, which we deeply appreciate. The department was honored to have scholarship donors' Tom Eastep and Richard Alldredge attend the 2019 ceremony. The history of each scholarship and its donor may be found on the department scholarships page.

Please read about the outstanding 2019 scholarship and award recipients, and click on a photo to see a larger image.

Gillian Gormley received an Ames Family Scholarship in Mathematics

Gillian Gormley is a junior working toward a degree in mathematics. She graduated high school in the Tri-Cities, Washington. She participated in the 2018 Regional Math Modeling Competition in which she placed second overall. She maintains an excellent GPA while also pursuing a minor in fine arts and a professional writing certificate. When she graduates from WSU in spring 2020, she plans to pursue a career in financial analysis or actuarial science.

Serena Peterson received an Ames Family Scholarship in Mathematics

Serena Peterson is from Selah, Washington. She is majoring in mathematics with an actuarial option and minors in statistics and economics. Serena is also a member of the WSU Honors College. In her free time she thoroughly enjoys tutoring students in mathematics. In the past, she has private tutored middle-school students in her Selah community as well as WSU students in Math 171 and Math 106. She has held various positions within the department such as: a Math 220 and Stat 360 grader, and a Math 100 and Math 171 undergraduate teaching assistant. Serena will apply to graduate school in the fall and pursue a master's degree in mathematics with an emphasis in teaching. She hopes to one day teach at a two- or four-year university.

Logan Pratt received an Ames Family Scholarship in Mathematics

Logan Pratt is a senior from Cheney, Washington majoring in mathematics with a minor in physics. He plans to obtain a master's degree in teaching and then teach high school mathematics. "Coming from a family of educators I've seen first-hand the impact that being a teacher can have on people, including myself." He has maintained a cumulative 3.8 GPA while working 12-20 hours as a clerical assistant for the WSU Football Program ever since his freshman year. Last summer he worked as a counselor at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. He volunteers at WSU with the Adopt-a-Block Program where every Sunday he picks up and disposes of trash on College Hill. In his free time he plays guitar. Logan is a WSU Regents Scholar, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity vice president and programming chair, and has been active in the Washington Policy Center - Young Professionals Club and WSU PreToM Club.

Alex Lumsden received a Bell Freshman Mathematics Scholarship Award

Alex Lumsden is a freshman from Ferris High School in Spokane who will major in actuarial science. In high school he was a National AP Scholar. He finishes his first year at WSU with a 4.0 GPA while being involved in the WSU Jazz program. He plans to take his first actuarial exams in February 2010 and then plans to do a summer internship during his junior year.

Kayla Miller received a Bell Freshman Mathematics Scholarship Award

Kayla Miller has a strong passion for mathematics. She is a top student in all the mathematics classes she takes. One example is that she earned a perfect score in calculus. In addition, she shares her knowledge to help others succeed in math. She is active in many extra activities including Violin Club, Soccer Club and other student organizations. She is truly an outstanding well-rounded student.

Sean Swalling received a Bell Freshman Mathematics Scholarship Award

Sean Swalling is a first year student from Anchorage, Alaska who has been awarded the Bell Freshman Scholarship. Sean is studying secondary mathematics education and plans to teach high school. He is also in the Honors College and is a member of the Catholic Newman Center on campus, which he will be an officer in next semester. He will also be a resident advisor in the fall semester of 2019.

Jaedin Davasligil received a Paul and Marjorie Clement Memorial Mathematics Scholarship

Jaedin Davasligil is a junior from Santa Ana, California who is majoring in applied mathematics with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. He recently transferred from Green River College where he spent most of his free time tutoring at the local Math Learning Center (MLC). He now tutors for the U.S. Navy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at Washington State University. He loves teaching, action sports, and the communities around them. He plans on pursuing a master's degree in mathematics so that he can continue to fuel his two greatest passions.

Krista Brutman received a Tom and Tarry Eastep Scholarship

Krista Brutman is a sophomore in mathematics with a 3.97 cumulative GPA and is interested in teaching. She is vice president of the WSU Math Club and president of the FIRST Robotics team. She joined Math Club in the spring of 2018 and has played a vital role in the club ever since. This March she helped organize the club's annual Pi-a-professor fundraiser, which raised over $200. She received a WSU SURCA Gray Award and is doing computational research under Dr. Bert Tanner.

Thomas McCutcheon received a Marianne Hawley Fessler Endowment Fund Award

Thomas McCutcheon is from Sammamish, Washington who is majoring in mathematics and minoring in German with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. Last year he studied abroad in Germany. He previously received a Julie Kerr Scholarship in Mathematics. This year Thomas participated in the Montana Math Modeling Competition and was in the final four of the presentation category. He is considering continuing his education with a master's or Ph.D. in mathematics.

Jennifer Gomez Ruiz received a Marianne Hawley Fessler Endowment Fund Award

Jennifer Gomez is a senior from Brewster, Washington with a major in secondary teaching and a minor in Asian Studies. She is involved in the WSU Pre-service Teachers of Mathematics (PreToM) Club, serving as vice president and helps organize activities and opportunities for club members. She plans on teaching high school mathematics after graduation and says, "I want to become a teacher to help students create a positive relationship with mathematics. Most of the time, when asked about mathematics, people groan and declare that they either hate it, or were never any good at it. I want students to learn that although math is hard, with patience and practice, they too can do math."

Jasmine Gacutan received a William and Mary Lynn Graber Mathematics Development Endowment Fund Award

Jasmine Gacutan is a senior from Renton, Washington majoring in both applied mathematics and chemical engineering. She is a teaching assistant and tutor in the Math Learning Center (MLC), and has helped with 4 sections of Math 100. She has voluntarily tutored fellow WSU students in introductory linear algebra. Before transferring to WSU she attended and worked at Seattle Central Community College where she tutored physics, chemistry, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations in the math and science learning center. Upon graduation she would like to work as a process engineer in agribusiness and within 5 years she would like to attend graduate school.

Makenna Stadum received a William and Mary Lynn Graber Mathematics Development Endowment Fund Award

Makenna Stadum is a senior from Marysville, Washington majoring in mathematics with an emphasis on secondary teaching, who will graduate in the fall of 2019. She is an active member of the PreToM (Pre-service Teachers of Mathematics) and in the fall will be it's new vice president. After she finishes college she plans to continue her education by obtaining a master's degree in teaching. When contemplating about her future she says, "I dream of teaching high school mathematics while also teaching some courses at the Everett Community College."

Nathaniel Burley received a Hacker Scholarship in Undergraduate Research

Nathaniel Burley is a junior from Spangle, Washington who is majoring in mathematics and minoring in philosophy. During his freshman year he built a natural language processing framework to mine and classify the sentiment of Tweets, and tracked public sentiment about the presidential candidates during the week of the 2016 presidential election. That summer, he was chosen to research computer vision and machine learning in the WSU CASAS Smart Environment Laboratory, which was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). He created a neural network model to recognize several common household objects, which was added to a robot to assist elderly and disabled residents. Recently, he has been performing analytics on grocery transaction data for a grocery chain, with the intent of providing valuable insight into consumer behavior and buying patterns. He has also been researching Generative Adversarial Neural Networks (GANs) in Scalable Algorithms for the WSU Data Science Laboratory, with the goal to create a framework to generate synthetic time series medical data. This will allow the program to generate synthetic data with realistic structure and correlations to be used in a wide variety of medical research projects. After graduation he plans to obtain a master's degree or Ph.D, eventually doing research in artificial intelligence or working as a data or research scientist.

Heather Gudaz received a Hacker Scholarship in Undergraduate Research

Hunter Mitchell received a Hacker Scholarship in Undergraduate Research

Hunter Mitchell is finishing his junior year majoring in computational mathematics and minoring in astrophysics. His hometown is Kirkland, Washington where he will be spending his summer working part-time as a data analyst, and also part-time developing mobile applications. He has worked as a teaching assistant and tutor for 2 years for the department. He is currently working on publishing his first math paper focusing on optimizing chemical sorbent tubes and says, "I am very excited for my future in mathematics!"

Nikolas Steckley received a Hacker Scholarship in Undergraduate Research

Nikolas Steckley is a junior majoring in applied mathematics and chemistry from Vancouver, Washington. In high school he led FIRST robotics team 2517 and earned his Eagle Scout. Since then he has pursued personal research interests including computational psychedelic chemistry and provability logic. He has worked with a number of professors on a range of problems including Dr. McMahon on Density Functionals and Dr. Thomas Cameron on the Polynomial Eigenvalue Problem. Presently, he is providing web design services for Dr. Carrie Cuttler's Cannabis Health and Cognition Lab. He is self-taught in machine learning and for the past few years has been working as a software development engineer and data science engineer to pay his way through college. Last semester he started and led the WSU chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a harm-reduction and human-rights educational group that believes the War on Drugs as it stands is doing more harm than good.

Rosemay Barrass received the Julie Kerr Scholarship in Mathematics

Rosemary Barrass is originally from Milpitas, California. She is a self-supporting junior who works 25 hours a week in addition to taking a full class load. She has maintained a cumulative 4.00 GPA while double-majoring in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering. She is President of the WSUV Math Club. Outside of work and school, she volunteers with Vancouver Public Schools as part of the Lunch Buddies program to help at-risk children. She is also a regular volunteer for Vancouver Parks and Recreation, participating in tree plantings, park clean-ups, and native plant restoration projects. Rosemary plans to continue her education by pursuing a doctorate in mathematics with the hope of one day teaching mathematics at the college level.

Hannah Holman received a Knebleman Award in Mathematics

Hannah Holman is from Granite Falls, Washington. She was valedictorian of her high school class and entered WSU as a sophomore due to the high number of college credits she earned while in high school. During her high school years she also tutored elementary students and served as the coordinator of a community food drive that served hundreds of area families. She is an outstanding student with a 4.0 GPA, and in the fall of 2019 will serve as secretary for the Pre-service Teachers of Mathematics (Pre-ToM) Club. She plans to attend graduate school to receive a master's degree in teaching because she has always loved math and looks forward to teaching in a low-income school since, "every student deserves a quality education."

Lauren Peck received a Knebleman Award in Mathematics

Lauren Peck is a sophomore from Poulsbo, Washington. She is a member of the WSU Honors College and is pursuing a degree in mathematics with an emphasis in teaching, and is minoring in human development. She was valedictorian of her high school class and is a three-sport varsity athlete. She is involved in her sorority, which is Kappa Kappa Gamma. This year she was employed as a Residence Hall Ambassador and participated in the Emerging Leaders Program. After graduation she plans to spend two years in the Peace Corps before returning to the states to complete a master's degree in education. Her goal is to teach high school mathematics in Washington State and coach basketball or track.

Benjamin Hellwig received a Charles "Chuck" Millham Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics

Benjamin Hellwig is double-majoring in applied mathematics and computer science with an emphasis in artificial intelligence. He is a National Merit Scholar and member of the WSU Honors College. Between his freshman and sophomore year he took a year off to volunteer as an aide teaching second grade students reading and math. He received a Hacker Memorial Scholarship last year for his modeling of pertussis. He has tutored at the MLC and been a teaching assistant for Math 364 and 401. He was recently named Outstanding Junior in Computer Science. Additional awards include the Scott John W. and Anna M. Scholarship, the Kevin Charles Colton Scholarship, the Fessler Memorial Scholarship, and the Clifton H. Wuesthoff Scholarship. In addition, he passed the junior writing portfolio with distinction. This summer, he will have a computational physics internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he will be researching numerical integration of non-functions. In the future, he hopes to attend graduate school to complete a Ph.D. in either mathematics or computer science.

Frank Walle received a Charles "Chuck" Millham Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics

Frank Walle is a junior from Tacoma, Washington. He received an associate of arts degree in arts and sciences from Tacoma Community College in 2017 before transferring to WSU. He is a mathematics major with an emphasis on actuarial science and is minoring in business administration and statistics. He was recently elected as president of the WSU Actuarial Sciences Club. This year he competed in the Society of Actuaries Student Case Study Challenge, which was to create an insurance model for autonomous vehicles. After graduation he plans to pursue a career as an actuary.

Hayden Arcy received a Robert and Nancy Strong Scholarship in Mathematics

Hayden Arcy is a senior from Vancouver, Washington and is double-majoring in theoretical mathematics and chemistry. He transferred from Clark Community College where he took first place in their math Tournament of Integrals. Last year he received the Auvil Scholars Fellowship for his research proposal on coupled random walks for SURCA. He is presently doing research with Dr. Nikolas Voulgarakis, and will be working with Dr. Kirk Peterson's chemistry research group that specializes in creating correlation consistent basis sets for accurate actinide chemistry in properties and interactions. He enjoys having a radio show on 90.3 KRFP in Moscow, Idaho, and plans to continue his education with graduate school.

Racheal Cortner received a Robert and Nancy Strong Scholarship in Mathematics

Racheal Cortner is a senior from Pullman, Washington who is majoring in applied mathematics. She is working with Dr. Sergey Lapin on an undergrduate research project that models human reactions to epidemics, such as the H1N1 virus. She is a member of the Biology Club and Actuarial Sciences Club, and has done volunteer work for the Whitman County Humane Society. This summer she will do an internship in New Mexico with Navajo Technical University where she will host a youth camp and conduct veterinary work with sheep and chickens. Five years after graduating she says, "I hope to be working alongside scientists and other coworkers discovering new ideas and formulating new models to create a better well-being for people worldwide."

Whitney Hoddinott received a Robert and Nancy Strong Scholarship in Mathematics

Whitney Hoddinott is currently a senior who will graduate in December 2019, and is majoring in mathematics secondary education and minoring in psychology. She is from Kent, Washington and plans on teaching high school mathematics. She is a member of the PreToM (Pre-service Teachers of Mathematics) Club, and next semester will be the club's chair for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Most of her time outside of class is spent tutoring high school and college students in math. She plans to continue her education with a master's degree in teaching and would like to have her own classroom "to inspire the minds of high school students through math."

Isaac Brown received the J. Russell and Mildred H. Vatnsdal Memorial Scholarship

Isaac Brown is a junior from La Center, Washington who started Clark College in Vancouver, Washington in mechanical engineering at the age of 16. By the time he was 17 he was tutoring a wide range of college-level courses such as differential equations, chemistry and engineering in the Clark College STEM tutoring center, where he received the Clark College Oswald Award for tutoring. He switched his major to mathematics after learning it could be a viable career choice. He is majoring in theoretical mathematics at WSU and will particiate in an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program at the University of Texas this summer where he'll be working in researching reliability polynomials. "Math has always been my deepest passion. I want to become a college professor and work with students in helping them understand the field I love so much. In addition to teaching, I want to conduct research in the fields of number theory and abstract algebra." This fall he will begin graduate level course work in abstract algebra.

Larry DeWitt received a Richard and Bonnie Winkwenwerder Scholarship in Mathematics Award

Larry DeWitt is a senior from Kennewick, Washington who is majoring in mathematics with an emphasis in actuarial science. He graduated 7th in his class from Kennewick High School and received the school's mathematical achievement award, which is given to only one senior during their final year in high school. He transferred from Walla Walla Community College to WSU in the fall of 2017, and is on track to graduate in December 2019. His goal is to work in the insurance industry and become an actuary. Outside of school he enjoys sports, music, and spending time with friends and family.

Owen Thompson received a Richard and Bonnie Winkwenwerder Scholarship in Mathematics Award

Owen Thompson is a junior from Olympia, Washington who is double-majoring in actuarial science and economics. Last summer he worked in the Washington State Auditor's Office auditing varouis small governments around the state, and will do so again this summer. He was honored to be invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society this semester and says, "I wouldn't be the happy, hardworking student I am today without the love and support of my mom, dad, brother, and girlfriend." In the future he wants to combine his interest in state government, mathematics, and economics to help convince Washington State voters to pass a carbon tax initiative.

Devon Holze received the Knebelman Outstanding Senior Award

Devon Holze has received the Knebelman Outstanding Senior Award for 2019. She graduates with a double-major in applied mathematics and political science, and a minor in Spanish while maintaining a cumulative 3.98 GPA. She is from Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Devon spearheaded the student initiative to increase access to women's feminine hygiene products in gender-neutral and women's bathrooms at WSU. She has been a peer education lead at Cougar Health Services, an orientation counselor at the Office of New Student Programs, a Cougar Connector at the Office of Admissions, an ASWSU Senator and Chair Pro Tempore of the Senate, president of WSU's In It to End It organization, a radio host for KZUU, founding member of RUN WSU to support students of color who are running for leadership positions, a member of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, a member of Delta Delta Delta, a member of MEChA and APASC (the regional student affiliate of the national Association for Asian Studies) and has won the President's Award for Leadership. She plans to take a year off before attending graduate school and ultimately would like to go into nonprofit work.

Jillian Morrison received the CISER Alldredge Book Award

Jillian Morrison is a fifth year Belizean Ph.D. candidate in statistical science. In Belize, she tutored many elementary school children. During her undergraduate studies in mathematics at the University of Belize, she was president of the Math Club and was awarded the university’s Certificate of Academic Excellence upon graduation. In December 2019, Ms. Morrison completed her master's degree in computational finance from WSU. Presently for her Ph.D. dissertation, she is working with Dr. Nairanjana Dasgupta on modeling ordinal data and is involved in research aimed at finding out students’ perceived barriers to higher education in Belize. At WSU, Ms. Morrison was a college representative for the College of Arts and Sciences, for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), director of Grants and Scholarships for the GPSA, a member of the President’s LEAD Award Committee and representative of graduate and professional students on the University Recreation Board, among others. She helped to form the American Mathematical Society Chapter and American Statistical Association Chapter in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, which create opportunities for graduate students and faculty to interact academically, socially and through community work. She also made presentations for VIBES Conference (Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students), WSU’s Engage the World Program, and the Cougar Quest Workshop. In December 2018, along with Dr. Nairanjana Dasgupta they published in the Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean (JEDIC). Ms. Morrison is joyful whenever she makes people happy; especially her students. Her ultimate goal is to make the world a better place to live in. In the fall 2019, she will be an assistant professor at The College of Wooster in Ohio.

Robert Stancil received the CISER Alumni Award for best MS Statistics Project

Robert Stancil grew up in a small-town in Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors in Mathematics and Computer Science from Salisbury University in 2017. While there, he interned for 4 consecutive years at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He completed his master's degree in statistics this spring and will then continue with a Ph.D. in statistical science. As a graduate teaching assistant since 2017, he has taught calculus and statistics labs, and tutored undergraduate mathematics students. He enjoys courses in machine learning, statistical consulting and computing, statistical theory and applied probability. He has a cumulative 3.81 GPA and expects to graduate with a Ph.D. in 2022.

Ralph Chikhany received a Sidney G. Hacker Graduate Teaching Award

"My passion for teaching has always pushed me to find the most efficient way to cater to the needs of all my students, from the weakest to the most competent," says graduate student Ralph Chikhany. Last year he received the WSU Graduate and Professional Students Association (GPSA) Excellence in Teaching Award after being nominated by students for his successful teaching methods. "Even when I lecture to the whole class, a tradition that is usually criticized, I keep my students involved in the thought process and construction of results, rather than just deliver the results." He is president of the American Mathematical Society Graduate Student Chapter at WSU, President of the GPSA, chair of the Graduate Pride Alliance at WSU, vice-chair of the Western National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, and serves on the Student Entertainment Board. In addition, he has served as a math teaching assistant and instructor for the department.

Mostafa Rezapour received a Sidney G. Hacker Graduate Research Award

Mostafa Rezapour will receive a master's degree in statistics this spring and will continue his education toward a Ph.D. in mathematics with a focus on optimization and machine learning. He maintains a 3.94 cumulative GPA and has passed the department's Graduate Qualifying Exam (GQE) with the highest score. He has been a teaching assistant for the department and has taught calculus for business and engineering students. "I am so thankful to have the best parents in the entire world because I could not have done this without them. Although I have not seen them for 3 years, I think about them every day, love them to the uttermost, and feel that my success in mathematics is also their success. I also appreciate my advisor, Dr. Tom Asaki, who has kept me on the right track for my research. "

Matthew Broussard received the Nancy J. Robertson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Research Award

Matthew Broussard is on track to receive his Ph.D. in mathematics in 2020. He is a research assistant working on topological data analysis, and sheaf theory. His current research involves generalizing network optimization algorithms to sheaves over graphs. In 2018 he interned with an Air Force Research Laboratory performing topological data analysis on activation data for deep neural networks, determined areas of weakness in neural network classification methods, and implemented a method that locally out-performed a state-of-the-art neural network's classification. He has taught introductory algebra, linear algebra, and calculus for life sciences, and has been a grader for calculus 3, introduction to proofs, and differential equations. His cumulative GPA is 3.93.

Damilola Olabode received the Nancy J. Robertson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Citizenship Award

Graduate student Damilola Olabode has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and secondary education. She is pursuing a master's degree in statistics and a Ph.D. in mathematics, and maintains a cumulative gpa is 3.97. Her research interests include mathematical modeling in pharmacy, biological and medical sciences, optimal control, stochastic processes and viral dynamics. Her current research involves drug resistance in HIV. She serves as a WSU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) senator, is a member of the GPSA travel grants committee and a reviewer for the GPSA Research Expo. She is also the secretary of the newly formed American Statistical Association (ASA) graduate student chapter in the department. In 2018 she co-organized a mathemtics workshop for Pullman middle school students.

Jakob Streipel received the Nancy J. Robertson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Teaching Award

Jakob Streipel is a mathematics Ph.D. student. As a department teaching assistant he has taught mathematical computing, calculus for business and economics, and mathematics for business and economics. He has also assisted in Calculus I and II. In addition he has helped other graduate students prepare for both the linear algebra and analysis portions of the department's Graduate Qualifying Exam and welcomes students coming to ask for help. He studies analytic number theory under Dr. Sheng-Chi Liu.

Math Modeling Team Competition Recognition

Elyse Cederholm, Gillian Gormley, Grace Harris, Dexuan Luo, Thomas McCutcheon, Patrick Morrell, Nikolas Steckley and Richelle Thompson particiated in the October 28, 2018 Montana Math Modeling Challenge at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

International Math Modeling Competition Recognition

Rebecca Hsieh, Wyatt Wallis, and Wendy Yu participated in the spring 2019 100-hour International Math Modeling Competition that ran over a period of 4 days.

Students and families having refreshments Students and families having refreshments Students and families having refreshments Students and families having refreshments
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Students and families Students and families People at the reception People at the reception
People at the reception Research poster V.S. (Mano) Manoranjan with scholarship donor Tom Eastep Charles (Chuck) Millham with Benjamin Hellwig
Department chairman Chuck Moore Scholarship recipient Krista Brutman with a friend Charles (Chuck) Millham with secretary Diane Gilchrist Chen and Jave Pascual
Student and Elissa Schwartz getting refreshments Molly Clayton, Devon Holze and Chuck Moore Scholarship recipient Krista Brutman with donor Tom Eastep Department chairman Chuck Moore