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Aparna Higgins receives the 2014 Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Mathematical Association of America.

Certificates for Meritorious Service are presented, on the recommendation of the Sections of the Association, for service at the national level or for service to a Section of the Association. The first such awards were made in 1984. Each year, honorees from several Sections are recognized.  


Aparna Higgins, Ohio Section

Aparna Higgins is probably best known within the MAA for her work with Project NExT. She was a codirector of the program 1998–2009 and is currently the director. As such, she has influenced numerous early career mathematicians. Even before assuming a leadership role in Project NExT, Aparna served as a consultant and workshop presenter for early cohorts of Project NExT Fellows.
Aparna has also served on numerous MAA committees, among them committees that select award winners, speakers for national meetings, and nominees for national offices. She has served on the Advisory Boards for Math Horizons and Focus, and as the chair of the Committee on Student Chapters. In the Ohio Section, Aparna has served as Section President, chair of a number of committees, and has helped with local arrangements at several Section meetings; she has given Ohio Project NExT Workshops. Aparna was recognized with the MAA’s Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2005. She was a presenter of an MAA minicourse on undergraduate research at JMM 1997 and then has been every year since 1999, many of these with Joe Gallian. Aparna has given many invited talks at various Section meetings, undergraduate conferences, and undergraduate summer research programs.


Biographical Note

Aparna Higgins received a B.Sc. from the University of Bombay and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1983. She has taught at the University of Dayton since 1984, except for a few leaves of absence. Aparna directed several undergraduate Honors theses (her most fulfilling professional experiences), and she codirected NSF-sponsored REUs in 1990–91. She has presented workshops on undergraduate research at MAA Section and national meetings (often with Joe Gallian) and at Project NExT Workshops. Aparna feels lucky to have been involved at early and crucial times in two wonderful programs of the MAA—Student Chapters and Project NExT. Aparna served on committees that created MAA Student Chapters and provided programming for undergraduate audiences at national meetings (1988–97), and she was invited by Chris Stevens to join the Project NExT leadership team in 1998. Aparna is married to Bill Higgins, with whom she enjoys attending meetings of the Ohio Section of the MAA.


Response from Aparna Higgins

I have had the good fortune of being connected to many mathematical communities, including the Ohio Section of the MAA, Project NExT, and proponents of undergraduate research in mathematics. It seems natural to help out in one’s community, but one cannot do it alone. I thank all those in the Ohio Section who set a fine example for service, including the recently departed Leo Schneider,
Dick Horwath, and Doug Faires. Joe Gallian has my thanks for partnering with me often to help other faculty discover the fulfillment in directing student research. I am grateful to Chris Stevens for bringing me into the Project NExT community and providing me with one of my most satisfying, challenging, and fun service activities. I thank the Ohio Section, and in particular, Barbara D’Ambrosia and Wiebke Diestelkamp, both Project NExT Fellows now serving in the governance of the Ohio Section, for nominating me for this award. I am grateful to the MAA for this Certificate of Meritorious Service and for providing me the opportunity to participate in the leadership of two wonderful programs of the MAA—Project NExT and student activities. I appreciate the University of Dayton’s support of my sustained service to the MAA. I am grateful to my husband Bill for supporting my service activities.