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2004 Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement

2004 Award Recipients

AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement


Rhonda J. Hughes

Rhonda J. Hughes, the Helen Herrmann Professor of Mathematics at Bryn Mawr College, was named by AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to receive the prestigious 2004 AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award. Hughes has helped 57 women and minority students earn graduate degrees in mathematics, including 17 at the doctoral level.

Hughes, winner of the 2004 Lifetime Mentor Award, “is a model teacher, scholar and mentor who is selfless in her dedication to improving the advancement of young women in mathematics and science,” explained Yolanda S. George, deputy director of Education & Human Resources at AAAS. “She works very closely with her students and has been successful in obtaining many grants that were used to promote student research and professional opportunities in mathematics. This has helped students to participate in national meetings, and to present posters and papers.”

With her colleague, Sylvia Bozeman of Spelman College, Hughes developed two successful national programs — the Spelman-Bryn Mawr Summer Mathematics Program and EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education: A Transition Program for Women in the Mathematical Sciences) — to help young women transition from undergraduate, through graduate programs in mathematics. To date, more than 100 young women have been served by the joint Bryn Mawr / Spelman programs, George reported.

The former President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Hughes maintains an active research program and “has been unrelenting in her efforts on behalf of women, particularly minority women,” said Bryn Mawr Provost Ralph Kuncl.

Hughes remains “a passionate advocate for women in mathematics,” said Mary Patterson McPherson, Vice President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and President Emeritus of Bryn Mawr College. “She has not only inspired many young women with the courage to take up mathematics seriously, but she has followed closely the fortune of every one of her students through their graduate programs and on into their professional careers.” Former student Laura Novak, Ph.D., added that Hughes “is acutely sensitive to the difficulties of graduate school in the mathematical sciences, particularly those encountered by women with liberal arts backgrounds.”

Hughes earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement honors members of the Association who have mentored and guided significant numbers of underrepresented students towards a Ph.D. in the sciences, as well as scholarship, activism, and community-building on behalf of underrepresented groups, including: women of all racial or ethnic groups; African American, Native American, and Hispanic men; and people with disabilities. This award often recognizes individuals with 25 or more years of success in mentoring students. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Please click here for a list of past recipients.