The EDGE Foundation is delighted to announce Amy Buchmann and Hwayeon Ryu as the inaugural recipients of the Mary Beth Ruskai Research Fund for Women. With a generous bequest from the estate of Mary Beth Ruskai, The EDGE Foundation established The Mary Beth Ruskai Research Fund for Women. Every year, two grants of $5,000 are awarded for a 12-month grant period for women in the mathematical sciences to advance their research careers through travel, collaboration, or other activities. The scope of these grants reflects Beth’s commitment to women and to interdisciplinary work. Read more about the Ruskai Research Fund here.

Amy Buchmann is an associate professor in the Mathematics Department at the University of San Diego.  She did her undergraduate studies in mathematics at Chapman University and received her PhD from the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Notre Dame. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Center for Computational Science at Tulane University.

Amy does research in mathematical biology, where she studies complex biological systems using mathematical and computational models. The main focus of her research is in the field of computational fluid dynamics, and she is particularly interested in creating mechanical models of microorganisms to study their coordinated behavior and interactions with their environment.

Hwayeon Ryu is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Elon University, one of leading liberal arts institutions and nationally recognized as the premier student-centered environment for experiential learning. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics from Korea University in South Korea in 2008, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Duke University in 2011 and 2014, respectively. She is a 2016 MAA Project NExT Fellow and a recent recipient of 2024 Distinguished Teaching Award by a Beginning College Mathematics Faculty Member recognized by Southeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America. Hwayeon is the faculty lead for organizing a regional STEM conference for undergraduate students in collaboration with Wake Forest University, and recently started serving as a faculty advisor for a student planning committee of AWM Elon Student Chapter.

Hwayeon’s research interests are focused on mathematical modeling and analysis of dynamical systems arising from other disciplines, like systems biology, neuroscience, and immunology. Her current work on mathematical modeling of immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is supported by the NSF research grant in which she serves as a sole PI. In addition, she was awarded a prestigious AWM-NSF Mentoring Travel Grant twice (2021 and 2024), which supports her international visit for collaboration work.

Hwayeon has a great passion for the development of a bridge curriculum and program between mathematics and biology, and strong commitment to increasing the access to higher education in STEM fields for women and historically underrepresented minorities. She has served as a research advisor for nearly 30 undergraduate students in conducting a variety of interdisciplinary projects in mathematical biology. Approximately 50% of the mentored students are women or from underrepresented groups. Student accomplishments include numerous talks at national conferences including JMM or NCUR, and an Outstanding Presentation Award at MAA MathFest. She is a regular judge/mentor for undergraduate programs organized by SCANAS, AWM, JMM, SIAM, and MAA MathFest. She also served as an associate editor of MAA FOCUS (for 2020-2022), an official newsmagazine of MAA.