Quotations from former Noetherian Ring presidents


Susan Shepler (Fall 1991)

I started graduate school at Berkeley in 1990. I felt lonely and a little overwhelmed. A few of us had the idea to start a group for women mathematicians. We had no firm idea about what this group would do or could do, but I remember putting up posters around Evans Hall saying something like “Come to a meeting for women in math – Room 1015.” My office mate, Steven Hillion, came up with the name for the group – an inspired one, I think.

I think, personally, I was looking for a place to get to know the older women in the department and to talk about our experiences in math. At the first meeting, we decided that math should always be a large component of the meetings and that the meetings should always include a half hour for socializing and a half hour for a math talk by one of our members. I think that format has turned out to be a near perfect mix. I remember those talks as among the highlights of my life as a math student.

Although I am no longer a mathematician, I remember the Noetherian Ring and my term as the first president of the group very proudly. I am especially heartened to know that the group continues to thrive and change to meet the needs of its members.

Leanne Robertson (Fall 1992-94)

Participating in the Noetherian Ring was one of my most positive experiences in graduate school. It was wonderful to meet and learn about the research of women graduate students, post docs, and professors at UC Berkeley and MSRI. As president, I helped start a program of bringing women mathematicians to Berkeley to give the department colloquium, and I am very pleased that the speaker series is continuing today.

Gillian Elston (1994-95)

I gave a presentation about the Noetherian Ring at the Association for Women in Mathematics Workshop during the Joint Mathematics Meeting in January of ’95. Several months later, I found out that some graduate students at MIT had heard the presentation and started a Noetherian Ring at MIT. It was amazing to me to think that this group that had started at Berkeley just a few years earlier could have an influence on another university in that way.

Concha Gomez (Spring 1992 and 1995-96)

My first term as president was during the first year of the group. Before we formed the Noetherian Ring, I didn’t know any women in the math department. It really meant a lot to me to meet people who had similar backgrounds and experiences in grad school.

My second term as president was after the Noetherian Ring had become an established and well-known group in the department. By then, I had made it through some of the most stressful years of graduate school, and I wanted to be there for the new women students the way people had been there for me. I think it really does make a difference.

Christine Heitsch (1996-97)

As the fifth president of the Noetherian Ring, I was pleased that we were able to increase the scope of our activities this past year; from welcoming incoming and returning students in the fall to phoning prospective women students in the spring; from inviting and/or funding colloquium speakers like Fan Chung, Judith Grabiner, Cathleen Morawetz, and Olga Ladyzhenskaya to working with Lynne Butler who invited a variety of outside speakers to our regular Thursday meetings. We organized a trip to the joint AMS/MAA conferences and maintained a vital and significant presence in the Berkeley Mathematics Department. The Noetherian Ring enjoyed an active and mathematically stimulating year!

Monica Vazirani (1997-98)

More than anything, I want to build on the foundation past members have set, to insure the Noetherian Ring will continue to exist and thrive. From day one, on entering Berkeley, I have relied not only on the informal mentoring of older members to guide me through this maze, but more recently on the mathematical mentoring of our invited speakers. It will be a full-time job just to continue the projects Noetherian Ring has started in the past years – I have some big shoes to fill.

When a friend heard I’d been elected Noetherian Ring president this year, she wished me congratulations, and then on second thought, condolences.