The Atlanta University Center Consortium’s (AUCC) Talitha Washington, professor of mathematics at Clark Atlanta University and director of the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, was announced as the first person to ever be named both a 2021 Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and a 2021 Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) in the same year. 

The prestigious awards are recognition of Washington’s decades of work using mathematics and science to enable research, foster collaboration among diverse groups, inspire interdisciplinary exploration, and empower women and minorities.

“Mathematicians have always been interested in exploring abstract concepts and solving hard problems,”  Washington said. “The solutions to today’s complex global challenges will be discovered through collaboration among a diverse community of mathematicians, scientists, and thought leaders from all areas of enterprise, service, and study.  

“I am grateful to have been able to bring people together, expose more students to the field, and contribute my own research to our collective body of work. Being recognized by my mathematical peers through this esteemed honor is very gratifying and humbling for me.”

Washington is one of only 46 mathematical scientists from around the world to be recognized by their peers as a member of this year’s class of American Mathematical Society Fellows. 

The program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics. 

Washington was selected specifically for her unique “contributions to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups and service to the mathematical profession,” according to the organization. 

She is only the second faculty member at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to be named an AMS Fellow.

“It is a great pleasure to offer my sincere congratulations to the new AMS Fellows, honored for their notable contributions to mathematics and to the profession,” said Professor Jill Pipher, AMS president.  “We are grateful to the nominators and the members of the selection committee for helping the AMS recognize the achievements of their esteemed colleagues through this fellowship.”

Washington also joins 13 other researchers, mentors, and educators who have been recognized as members of the 2021 Association for Women in Mathematics Class of Fellows. 

The organization noted her dedication to raising awareness of African American women in STEM, for her lifelong promotion of HBCUs, and for her unwavering dedication to the National Association of Mathematicians. 

AWM fellows are honored “for their exceptional dedication to increasing the success and visibility of women in mathematics,” according to AWM President Ruth Haas

As the inaugural director of the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, Washington is leading efforts to advance data science research and teaching across a consortium of four HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College. The initiative seeks to advance the creation of data-driven solutions to current and emerging societal problems, especially as it pertains to Black America.

“This is a great accomplishment and recognition of her contributions to mathematics and the mathematics profession,” said Sandra Rucker, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clark Atlanta University. “This is a well-deserved honor, and I am pleased to offer my congratulations on this achievement.”

(Photo Courtesy of AUC)

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