Rachel Pries named Fellow of Association for Women in Mathematics

Rachel Pries, professor in the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University, was recently named a Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics, adding to her list of notable accolades.

Pries, also a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, strives to be a steward of both inclusivity and equity in math and is a student of those who pioneered such work.

Rachel Pries portrait.
Rachel Pries, Math Department, Colorado State University

She is a founding member of the Women in Number Theory Network, whose goal is to support the research careers of women by developing collaborations among small groups of faculty and graduate students.

As part of this network, she co-organized two conferences in 2008 and 2014, obtained several grants, and was a co-editor on two conference proceedings.

“Together with Rachel’s previous recognition as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2018, this admission to the select group of Fellows of the Association for Women in Mathematics is a significant and much-deserved acknowledgement of Rachel’s contributions to the field of mathematics and to her sustained commitment to the support and advancement of women in the mathematical sciences,” said Simon Tavener, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

Pries also led eight research collaborations outside CSU from 2011-2020, which led to publications for many junior authors.

“We helped many young women develop their skills and contribute to publications,” said Pries. “This helped many graduate students and postdocs stay in the research pipeline. It helped change the atmosphere within the larger mathematical community from being fairly hostile and competitive, to being more vibrant, supportive and collaborative.”

Pries also lent a hand with events to encourage younger women in math at CSU. She served as the faculty advisor for Sonia Kovalevsky Day at CSU in March 2022.

“All of these activities were co-organized with valuable partners,” said Pries. “Working with these collaborators is one of the most valuable and fun parts of my career.”

For Pries, it is a high honor to join a lineage of women trailblazers in the world of mathematics.

“The AWM was founded in 1971, before I was born,” she said. “Many people worked their whole careers to make mathematics more inclusive and equal … without their commitment, I probably would have picked a different career. The AWM award made me feel like I did my part to make mathematics a more vibrant, friendly and diverse space.”

This feeling of accomplishment invigorates Pries to keep doing this work.

“There are a lot of areas that can still be improved,” she said. “I’d like to see the math community be more accessible and friendly to people from many different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. I’d like to help find ways to support young people who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. At the moment, I’m focused on supporting the people I interact with regularly, but I hope to continue to have a broad positive impact in the future.”