Plenary Speaker Profile (2003-4)
Rhonda Hughes
Helen Herrmann Professor of Mathematics
Bryn Mawr College
How Mathematics Can Improve Your Image

In recent years, Hollywood has helped mathematicians convince skeptical students that the notoriously unglamorous field of mathematics is almost fascinating (or at least done by fascinating people). Nevertheless, most mathematicians continue to struggle with the bewilderment of their students, friends and family about their life's work. This talk is one mathematician's view of the challenges faced and strategies employed in imparting to her students the lure of mathematics.

Rhonda Hughes is the Helen Herrmann Professor of Mathematics at Bryn Mawr College. Hughes's mathematical research is in the area of Functional Analysis. She has worked with both undergraduates and graduate students on projects involving wavelets, operator theory and functional analysis, and stochastic processes. Hughes co-directs the project Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) with Sylvia Bozeman of Spelman College. EDGE, which began in 1998, has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. EDGE prepares female students academically and psychologically for the challenges of graduate school in male-dominated disciplines. Hughes received the Mathematical Association of America Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching in 1998, and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership, Bryn Mawr College in 1991. Hughes received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.