Sally Dong was awarded the 2018 Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in the Faculty of Mathematics. Sally was an undergraduate research assistant in Spring 2017 working with Professor Jim Geelen.
Sally's work with Jim resulted in a significant breakthrough on a conjecture of Gian-Carlo Rota from 1989. The conjecture, known as Rota’s Basis Conjecture, was the subject of considerable attention last year as the topic of a Polymath project (Polymath 12). Her contribution significantly improved upon the best known bounds. A joint paper has been accepted for publication in Combinatorica, which is one of the two best journals in combinatorics.