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CSU math student one of only seven nationally to receive American Mathematical Society Award

November 28, 2011
by Amanda Ford

David Samuel Allen, a mathematics major at Colorado State University, is one of only seven students nationwide to be awarded a $3,000 Trjitzinsky Scholarship - a scholarship based on financial need - from the American Mathematical Society.

Mathematics major David Samuel AllenThe American Mathematical Society or AMS has several hundred institutional members, which are mainly universities, as well as 30,000 individual members.

Student found his calling

Faculty members in CSU’s math department have come to realize Allen’s talents, but he has taken a long road here: At one point in his life, he even failed his community college’s math placement exam. Now that he’s at CSU, he has found his calling but struggled with tuition.

“David immediately stuck out because he not only excelled academically, but also because we knew of this financial need,” said Alexander Hulpke, undergraduate director in the math department. “David has been working as a grader for the department and had been eager to increase his hours as he was struggling to pay for tuition. We had not been able to award him any of our regular scholarships, as they are limited to in-state students.

“From talking to colleagues who actually had him in class, I heard that his academic performance was excellent and he had also volunteered to become student representative on the undergraduate committee.”

Helping with a hand up

The Waldemar J. Trjitzinsky Memorial Fund is used to assist students who may be in danger of not completing the degree program in mathematics for financial reasons. The AMS chose seven geographically distributed schools in a random drawing from the pool of the Society's institutional members, and the mathematics departments at those schools then chose students to receive the funds to assist them in pursuit of careers in mathematics.

“In high school, my focus was primarily placed on the arts and because of this, I only took three years of math during my high school career,” said Allen. “My plan was to obtain a degree in exercise science, however, not mathematics.
“Despite this, I was curious about calculus. So - and to this day I'm not sure how - I persuaded the CSU math department to waive my prerequisites for calculus. What I found was that math is very artistic - a revelation which has only been confirmed with time.”

Allen is completing his bachelor's degree in general mathematics at Colorado State. He plans to pursue graduate studies so that he may work in academia.

“Knowing that I pay out of state tuition, I was recommended for this award by a faculty member who serves on the mathematics undergraduate committee with me,” said Allen. “For this I am extremely grateful. As a 28 year-old undergrad paying out-of state through part-time employment, I find it very difficult to get by. This award has helped alleviate some of that burden.

“I plan to continue my education in mathematics into post-graduate studies so that I may someday work within academia, impacting students in the same positive way the excellent faculty at CSU has influenced me.”

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336