Upcoming COSAM Graduate Helps Pave the Way for Women in Mathematics
Ashley Gibson, a senior studying Pure Mathematics in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) at Auburn University, is passionate about getting more women interested in mathematics. Almost two years ago, she was a co-founder of the Auburn chapter of the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) organization.
Ashley and another Auburn University student, who were both officers in the Auburn University Math Club, decided to form the Auburn chapter of the national professional society. Ashley is currently the president.
“We didn’t really have a math student organization that was affiliated with a professional organization and we thought since women are such a minority in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degrees that AWM would be something good to have on Auburn’s campus,” Ashley said.
The organization currently has about 10 active members which hosts speakers, attends conferences and more.
“We’re trying to support and encourage women to pursue careers in the mathematical sciences and then support the women who are studying and doing research in math,” Ashley said.
The organization has also shown appreciation to COSAM female mathematics professors, such as giving them gifts for Valentine’s Day.
“I feel like the math professors are under-appreciated,” Ashley said. “That’s usually everyone’s least favorite subject. So, the professors really liked that.”
During her time at Auburn, Ashley has also been granted several departmental scholarships, was named COSAM’s “Outstanding Junior” last year, and has served as a COSAM Leader and as a national officer for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Ashley, who is originally from Enterprise, will graduate in December and has accepted a job with Corvid Technologies performing data analytics in Huntsville, Ala., while she pursues her master’s degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“Over the summer I did radar analysis for Corvid,” Ashley said. “They do a lot of work for the Missile Defense Agency, so I’ll probably be working in missile defense if I stay in Huntsville.”
Ashley said she feels being a student in COSAM has prepared her well for her career and for pursuing her master’s degree and that she appreciates that the college focuses on making sure its students are successful.
“There’s a lot of opportunities and they encourage you to take advantage of them,” Ashley said of COSAM. “I feel like the faculty that I have worked with cares so much. I go to my teachers’ office hours every single day and they are so willing to help you and want to see you succeed. I feel like they are rooting for you and want you to get better and they want you to understand. It’s not like you’re just here to get a grade, they really want you to learn.”