Professor Ming Li and his family have created this award in honour and memory of his late wife, Jessie Wenhui Zou.
Jessie was born August 27, 1968 in Wuhan, China. She received a PhD degree from Wuhan University in physics when she was 26 years old. Jessie loved the field of finance and continued to pursue her studies and graduated from the University of Waterloo’s statistical finance master’s program in 2000. During this time, she also studied Computer Science (CS) at Waterloo and took a course in Java programming (CS134). Upon graduation, she worked at the Bank of Montreal, specializing in risk control management.
With this award, the family wishes to support research activities at the undergraduate level within the Faculty of Mathematics to carry on Jessie’s passion for education.
The Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research is valued at $1,000 and presented annually to an undergraduate student enrolled in his or her final year of any program within the Faculty of Mathematics. Students must have demonstrated excellence in research and have been nominated by a faculty member who has supervised that research. The awardee is chosen by the Faculty of Mathematics Research Advisory Committee, chaired by the Associate Dean, Research.
The inaugural winner of the Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research is Matthew Harrison-Trainor. Matthew is pictured here with (left-right) Robin Cohen (Associate Dean Research, Mathematics), Ming Li and Ian Goulden (Dean of Mathematics).
Matthew graduates from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics degree in June 2012. He won the Julie Payette-Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Research Scholarship, awarded to the top 24 applicants across Canada and has accepted the Berkeley Fellowship to pursue doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Matthew Harrison-Trainor was selected for this award by the Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics Research Advisory Committee, and the members were unanimous in their praise for his outstanding accomplishments. He was nominated by Professor Rahim Moosa, who supervised Matthew’s work as an NSERC undergraduate student research assistant. Professor Moosa labeled Harrison-Trainor’s work as “PhD level”, to be published in the top international Journal of Algebra. He notes that a number of established international mathematicians have shown an interest in Matthew’s work. Harrison-Trainor was invited to address the Kolchin Differential Algebra Seminar at the City University of New York Graduate College – a very rare honour for an undergraduate student. Read more on Matthew from Pure Mathematics.
In this inaugural year, a total of eight excellent Faculty of Mathematics undergraduates were nominated, spanning all of the Faculty's departments. Their research included such significant achievements as:
- new algorithms for private information retrieval (Casey Devet) (PDF)
- improved collaborative filtering recommendation using matrix factorization (Jennifer Nguyen) (PDF)
- numerical solutions for Einstein's gravity for quantum physics (Marius Oltean) (PDF)
- generalizing the Jordan Curve theorem (Max Tabord-Meehan) (PDF)
- novel proofs for self-similar probability measures (Cam Bruggeman) (PDF)
- proving syntactic complexity of regular languages (David Liu) (PDF)
- characterizing non-Newtonian fluid flow (Jason Olsthoorn) (PDF)
- non-standard methods for bounds in differential algebra (Matthew Harrison-Trainor) (PDF)
These students will all be convocating in 2012 and we look forward to reviewing new nominations next year. Indeed this award clarifies the valuable research environment that exists within the Faculty of Mathematics for our outstanding undergraduates.