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Chad Awtrey, Alder Award 2018

Chad Awtrey of Elon University has achieved impressive success as a teacher and mentor. His teaching evaluation scores are routinely high, and his students consistently reference his enthusiasm and effective teaching style. They describe him as someone who has inspired them to lead lives of high mathematical impact.

Awtrey is a passionate proponent of engaged learning, especially undergraduate research. In the past seven years, he has mentored a total of thirty-seven undergraduates and seven high school students on thirty-three different research projects. These students have given sixty-five presentations at national and regional meetings and have co-authored seventeen research papers with him. The founder and co-director of the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics has said, “Based on Dr. Awtrey’s impressive and extensive record of mentoring students in undergraduate research, I believe he ranks nationally as one of the top mathematics [undergraduate research] mentors among his peers.”

To support his work with undergraduates and high school students, Awtrey received an REU grant from the National Security Agency, an MAA Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant, and funding from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics. In recognition of his success as a teacher-mentor, Awtrey received the Early Career Mentoring Award from the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science, which is part of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), the Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty from the MAA Southeastern Section, and the A.L. Hook Endowed Professorship from Elon University.

Awtrey’s commitment and service to undergraduate mathematics is far-reaching. He currently serves at his university as Associate Director of Undergraduate Research, regionally as a co-organizer of an annual undergraduate/graduate student research conference, and nationally as a councilor for CUR and as Secretary-Treasurer of Pi Mu Epsilon.

For all of these reasons and more, we recommend Chad Awtrey for the Alder Award.

Response:

I am honored to receive the Alder Award and thankful for the hard work of everyone who helps administer the MAA’s awards, grants, and other programming. As a Project NExT fellow (blue 10 dot), I acknowledge the profound impact my teachers, colleagues, and students have had on me. The past and current leaders of Project NExT embody the very best of what it means to have a “teacher’s heart” and the professional development and networking they provide is difficult (if not impossible) to find elsewhere. I also thank my colleagues on the national council of Pi Mu Epsilon and in CUR’s Division of Math and Computer Science, many of whom are previous Alder Awardees. Their dedication to students is inspiring, as is their commitment to high-quality undergraduate research mentoring. I am particularly grateful for my students and colleagues at Elon University and UNC-Greensboro, especially my current and former undergraduate researchers and Elon’s Department of Math & Stats. My colleagues’ deep devotion to active and engaged learning is remarkable, and my students’ child-like willingness to research such esoteric topics as Galois groups and p-adic numbers is, at times, baffling and always invigorating. Lastly, and most of all, I want to thank my wife Connie and my daughter Lily who humor my love of mathematics, even going so far as to celebrate Pi day with me by baking homemade Pi-shaped cookies for my students and wearing Pi T-shirts every year!

Bio:

Chad Awtrey received his PhD in 2010 from Arizona State University. That same year, he joined Elon University in North Carolina, where he is now Associate Professor of Mathematics and Associate Director of Undergraduate Research. A Project NExT fellow (blue 10 dot), Awtrey currently serves as a co-organizer of the annual UNC-Greensboro Regional Math & Stats Conference, on the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and as Secretary-Treasurer for the national mathematics honorary society Pi Mu Epsilon. His work with students has been supported by an REU grant from the National Security Agency, a Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant from the MAA, and funding from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics. In recognition of his success as a teacher-mentor, Awtrey has received the Early Career Mentoring Award from CUR, the Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty from the MAA’s Southeastern Section, and the A.L. Hook Endowed Professorship from Elon University.

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