Pomona College Professor of Mathematics Ami Radunskaya has been elected to be the next president of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), a non-profit organization which encourages women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and aims to promote equal opportunity and equal treatment of women and girls in the field.
Radunskaya says the AWM has been a source of support and inspiration for her since her undergraduate days. She sees the importance of continuing to support women — young, maturing and matured alike — through the challenges that they face as professional mathematicians.
“Our community will benefit from the recruitment and retention of talented young women who dream of doing mathematics for a living, and we can all serve as role models for girls who don’t realize that they can turn their enjoyment of puzzles and numbers into a career,” says Radunskaya.
Radunskaya’s own mathematical trajectory has been non-standard: she took a 10-year detour between high school and college to play the cello and compose music. Following those gap years, Radunskaya received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Stanford University.
“Aspiring mathematicians don’t all have equal access to research opportunities, graduate school, internships, postdocs, jobs and recognition,” says Radunskaya. “As AWM President, I will work within our association and with other groups to facilitate access to opportunities in mathematics. I hope that we can use our collective strength to build and support a diverse mathematical community.”
Radunskaya was featured in the 2014 documentary The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, which features a 30-day, 7,000-mile cross-country road trip to interview 17 women leaders, including Radunskaya. The documentary aims to inspire girls by spotlighting positive and powerful women who are excelling in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Radunskaya has been a faculty member at Pomona for 20 years, specializing in ergodic theory, dynamical systems, and applications to various real-world problems. She is a co-director of the EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) program, which won a Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award from the American Mathematics Society in 2007. She is the editor of the recently released volume, Applications of Dynamical Systems in Biology and Medicine, which features nine papers by 53 women authors, the output of the first WhAM (Women in Applied Mathematics) workshop. Radunskaya was awarded an Irvine Fellowship for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring. In 2010, she received a Wig Award for Excellence in Teaching.