The EDGE Foundation is delighted to announce the 2024 Karen EDGE Fellow!

The Karen EDGE Fellowship Program was established with a generous gift from Karen Uhlenbeck on the occasion of her 2019 Abel Prize. The Fellowship is designed to support and enhance the research programs and collaborations of mid-career mathematicians who are members of an underrepresented minority group.

Mariana Smit Vega Garcia earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Universidade de São Paulo, in Brazil. She then received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Purdue University in 2014. She was a post-doc in Germany and at the University of Washington. In 2018, she joined Western Washington University as an Assistant Professor, being promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. Her research has been funded by the NSF, which also allowed her to fund a conference (Jumpstart 2023) focused on first-generation students interested in Mathematics. In 2023, she received the Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award, which is the highest teaching award available to faculty members at Western Washington University.

Dr. Smit Vega Garcia’s main research interests lie at the interface between Geometry and Partial Differential Equations, particularly free boundary problems. Recently, she has also been interested in combinatorial problems.

The Karen EDGE Fellowship will allow Dr. Smit Vega Garcia to enhance her research program by allowing her to travel to meet collaborators and travel to conferences to present her work, while maintaining her commitment to her students and to building a supportive mathematical community.