Mathematics major and Commonwealth Honors College student Morgan Opie ’14 is a shining example of the caliber of undergraduate the university seeks to honor. She recently completed an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) in Algebraic Geometry. Her project entailed the creation of a database for effective divisors on the “moduli space of stable rational curves”—an important collection sought by the mathematical community. Opie quickly finished the database, then tackled a complicated mathematical conjecture to boot. In the time it would have taken other students to fully understand the general conjecture itself, she found a series of counterexamples, shedding new light on the basis for the theory.
“Morgan rapidly achieved truly impressive and remarkable progress in her studies,” says her advisor, Jenia Tevelev. “Her drive and stamina became legendary in my department, where she is known as a true force of nature.”
Renée Barouxis ’14, a Political Science major and student of the Commonwealth Honors College, was born to lead. When she saw that UMass Amherst students weren't fairly represented on Amherst Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body, she ran for a seat and rallied her peers to do the same. When Barouxis first got involved with UMass student government she learned that her mentor, Tina Kennedy, was one of only two women in the 50-seat Student Senate. To address that disparity, Kennedy started an informal women’s caucus. Barouxis has been very active in expanding Kennedy's vision to spur female participation in the Student Senate.
Barouxis’s presence can be felt across campus and beyond. She recently won an award through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences that enabled her to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she observed the national parliament in action. She is a recent winner of the Sheldon E. and Joan S. Smith Scholarship for Public Service, awarded through the Department of Political Science.
"Dan is an exceptional researcher who is already making significant contributions in theoretical computer science,” says Stubbs’ advisor, Andrew McGregor. “His uncanny knack of finding the right approach to a problem and his impressive mathematical skills have already led to two publications at international conferences, and I'm confident that more are on the way.”
These four outstanding young researchers will be honored during a reception with Chancellor Subbaswamy in the spring.
Amanda Drane '12
The Rising Researcher program acknowledges the excellent work of UMass Amherst undergraduate students.