“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work I’ve done advocating for women to be successful in mathematics—and, more broadly, for diversity,” Mast said.
Mast was among 18 U.S. scholars recognized for increasing the visibility and success of women in the mathematics field.
As a mathematician and a woman, Mast said she knows firsthand the challenges that women in STEM face. She was one of the few female graduate students in her mathematics Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina in the 1990s—and the only one in her original class to finish the program, she said. She also recalled people who told her, “You’re not going to have a problem getting a job because you’re a woman. Universities are supposed to be hiring women now.”
But thanks to the work of Mast and her colleagues, women are getting closer to achieving parity with their male counterparts.
Over the past two decades, Mast has promoted the participation of women in math through her leadership in several organizations. As co-chair of the Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences, she designed panels for women in math, including a panel on balancing professional and family life. As a member of the AWM executive committee, she helped mitigate implicit bias in the honors and awards processes in the mathematics community. With three colleagues, she co-edited the book Women in Mathematics: Celebrating the Centennial of the Mathematical Association of America (Springer International Publishing, 2017), which celebrates the contributions of women in mathematics.
As the first female dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, Mast has mentored women in STEM student groups. Last fall, her office secured funding to create the ASPIRES Scholarship program, which provides mentorship and monetary support to underrepresented students in STEM—including young women. A few months ago, she became the director of the Clare Boothe Luce Program at Fordham, which provides scholarships for outstanding women undergraduate students and graduate fellows in the sciences.
“I’m very excited to work with the other deans and with the faculty to strengthen the support that we give to the Clare Boothe Luce scholars and to create a stronger community for women in STEM at Fordham,” Mast said. “We’ve got some amazing scientists and mathematicians here, and I’m really excited about bringing them together so that we can be even stronger.”
Mast will be honored at the AWM Reception and Awards Presentation in Denver on Jan. 16, 2020.