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Ortega Named 2020 AWM Service Award Recipient

This article was reprinted from the Sonoma State University website, https://scitech.sonoma.edu/news-events/ortega-awm. This article originally appeared on March 5, 2020.


The AWM Service Award recognizes individuals for helping to promote and support women in mathematics through exceptional voluntary service to the Association for Women in Mathematics. The award is given annually to a select group of AWM volunteers in recognition of their extensive time and effort devoted to AWM activities.

Along with Drs. Raegan Higgins, associate professor at Texas Tech University, and Denise Rangel Tracy, assistant professor at Farleigh Dickinson University in New York, Sonoma State’s Dr. Omayra Ortega, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has been selected as the 2020 Service Awardee group for their significant service to AWM in outreach, new initiatives, collaboration, and inclusion.

From the AWM’s February 7 press release: Dr. Ortega received her undergraduate degree from Pomona College, two masters at the University of Iowa in both Mathematics and Public Health, then her PhD in Mathematics from the University of Iowa. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor […] researching epidemiology, previously working within academia in research and public health industry. At SSU, Ortega is also involved in the EDGE program, furthering her impact through implementation of Sonia Kovalevsky Day(s) across multiple location to promote women in math by reaching out in the name of one of the first women to receive a PhD in Mathematics. Using her skills in program organization and communication, Ortega represented AWM while working with the international math community to bring the Maryam Mirzakhani exhibit to the 2019 AWM Research Symposium. She took the lead in negotiating for the installation and display space, coordination with Rice University, planning for long term care of the display, and acting as an honorable steward to this collection. Ortega’s efforts and commitment served to invite AWM’s community to see the very personal side of a very public mathematician.

Response from Ortega: “It has been my great pleasure to serve the Association for Women in Mathematics over the years in many different roles, but bringing the Committee for Women in Mathematics’ Remembering Maryam Mirzakhani exhibit to the 2019 Research Symposium was one of my favorites. These efforts were a labor of love and were more than redeemed as I watched the reactions of attendees as they took in images of tender moments and insightful thoughts of this pioneering contemporary mathematician whose life was cut short during the peak of her career. Since the Research Symposium, this important exhibit has continued to inspire and be displayed at other locations including the Institute for Advanced Studies, Pomona College, and the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Denver, Colorado. I am humbled to have been nominated by my peers and selected by the Executive Committee for this 2020 AWM Service Award. Thank you for this honor.”



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