Outstanding Students Celebrated

Each spring the Mathematics Department hosts its Annual Awards Banquet to recognize our most outstanding students and their families. This year the banquet will be held on Friday, April 20.


One way students can be recognized for their excellence is with a Mathematics Department Scholarship. Through the generous contributions of many alumni, as well as by those of many past and present math faculty, the Mathematics Endowment Fund, provides funds to support annual scholarships.

This year we are delighted to award Department Scholarships to seven exemplary students. The selection criteria include a personal essay, grade point average, letters of recommendation, and extra-curricular mathematical endeavors. The students who have received this honor are:


Nick Benthem
Beth Bjorkman
Veronica Burt
Amanda Haupt
Kurt O'Hearn
Kathryn Smith
Holly VanDyke

Congratulations to all of these fine returning students.

VanderJagt Mathematics and Athletics Scholarship

Prof. Don VanderJagt served the mathematics department and Grand Valley State University for more than 40 years. Among his many roles at the university was his position as the GVSU faculty representative to the NCAA. Don loved athletics and was as passionate about Grand Valley's excellence on the field as he was in the classroom.

Before his retirement, Don and his wife Barb endowed a scholarship in their name to honor a student majoring in mathematics who demonstrates excellence in both mathematics and athletics. A list of past recipients can be found on a plaque outside the math department office.

This year we are delighted to announce that the winner is Colleen Condra, who is a member of the GVSU water skiing club.

Departmental Awards

Our Outstanding Graduate Award recognizes the academic and extracurricular achievements of one graduating mathematics major each year. This year’s recipient is Jacob Schuurman. Jacob plans to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University, focusing on Operations Research. While at GVSU, Jacob served on a committee of three students and three professors to select the university teaching awards in fall of 2010. He also participated in an REU at North Carolina State University in the summer of 2011. He studied biological pathways, and used sensitivity functions to determine the most sensitive protein interactions within the pathway. This experience allowed him to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston and has given him opportunities to present his research. Jacob states, “I'm both proud and thankful for the awards that I have received from the math department throughout my four years at GVSU. The faculty and other students have all been excellent, and I have been truly privileged to learn from them and work with them the past few years.”

Our Outstanding Sophomore Award recognizes the academic achievements of one or two students at the beginning of their respective academic careers. The purpose of the award is to encourage continued success in the study of mathematics. Students may only win this award by being nominated by one or more faculty; the 2012 Outstanding Sophomore is granted to Beth Bjorkman and Veronica Burt.

In addition, we will honor nine graduates receiving Department Senior Awards for their accumulated excellence in the mathematics major and their overall contributions to the department. Students such as these make a tremendous difference in the life of the mathematics department as they have demonstrated exceptional work in their courses and often have demonstrated and participation in extracurricular mathematical activities. The winners of department senior awards for 2012 are:

Jeremy Babila
Cassie Becker
Andrea Fleming
Alexis Johnson
Nathan Marculis
Rebecca Sochacki
David Schlueter
Jacob Schuurman
Leah Wischmeyer

Congratulations to all of these outstanding students. We wish you the very best in all of your future endeavors.

Mathematics and Community Service Award

This award is designed to honor a mathematics major at GVSU who exhibits excellence in mathematics and a strong record of community service related to mathematics, mathematics education, or education. This year's recipient of the award is Hannah Anderson. Hannah has tutored through Job Corps (helping students prepare for the GED) since 2008.

Page last modified June 14, 2017