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Infinite Possibilities 2018: Dr. Etta Z. Falconer Award

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In conjunction with the Infinite Possibilities Conference 2018 at Howard University (Washington, DC), the 2018 Dr. Etta Z. Falconer Award for Mentoring and Commitment to Diversity will be formally presented during the Etta Z. Falconer Banquet on April 14, 2018. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a professional commitment to mentoring and increasing diversity in the mathematical sciences.

2018 Recipient: Dr. Javier Rojo, Oregon State University

Dr. Javier Rojo (Photo: Oregon State University)

Congratulations to Dr. Javier Rojo, the recipient of the 2018 Dr. Etta Z. Falconer Award for Mentoring and Commitment to Diversity. Dr. Rojo is the Korvis Professor of Statistics at Oregon State University. Prior to joining OSU, he held appointments at the University of Nevada at Reno, Rice University and the University of Texas at El Paso. He is well-known as the founder and director of RUSIS, the first REU in Statistics. Over 60% of its participants have been underrepresented minorities, and over 50% have been female. RUSIS received the 2014 AMS Programs that Make a Difference Award, citing it as a model program that has encouraged undergraduates to pursue graduate studies in the mathematical sciences and increased the numbers of underrepresented minorities and women in mathematics and statistics.

Below are a few words from those who have been impacted by Dr. Rojo’s work:

"As a first generation college graduate and female in the field of statistics, the RUSIS program has greatly influenced the type of person that I am. Dr. Rojo taught me how to collaborate, be adaptable, well-rounded, and gave me confidence in my research and work. I feel that the RUSIS program laid the foundation for me to be a strong competitor upon entering graduate school. Today, I attribute my success in both undergraduate and graduate school, as well as my career to Dr. Rojo’s RUSIS program.…He has such devotion and determination to see his students succeed that he even puts his personal responsibilities second.… I see Dr. Rojo as a mentor and as someone to whom I can always turn."

"In one summer, I was moved by a student stating, “Dr. Rojo is like a father,” endorsed passionately by other students. Although I am paraphrasing student comments, their statements have testified that Dr. Rojo is willing to listen, give his time through challenging them to excel and to initiate – characteristics needed to succeed in any graduate program, and especially a doctoral program, as well as in any profession."

"One of the amazing things about RUSIS is that Javier is willing to take risks; he is willing to accept students who don’t have a great GPA or who do not have a substantial background in mathematics. Yet his data are enviable and show that, in spite of this, his RUSIS graduates are pursuing postgraduate studies. I have heard over and over again from the students that I send to RUSIS that it was an amazing experience. After ten weeks of intensive hard work, these students do not want the summer experience to end!"