Undergraduate Awards

Mathematics Awards Spring 2019

Congratulations Sandra Nair and Shane Kennerly, recipients of one of our Mathematics Awards in 2019! Both received $1,000 awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the Mathematics major—Pure Mathematics concentration. We are honored to recognize their hard work and to be able to present them with an award.

They were selected by Mathematics faculty as recipients of this year's J.W.T. Youngs Memorial Undergraduate Award in Mathematics. The family and friends of Professor Youngs, a former professor at UCSC, established the award after he tragically passed away in 1970. Professor Youngs was a member of the Mathematics Department and a Fellow of Crown College. The endowment was established to honor his memory by supporting two annual prizes, one for an outstanding student of mathematics enrolled in Cowell College, and one for an outstanding student of mathematics enrolled anywhere on the Santa Cruz campus. The Youngs award is administered by the Mathematics Department.

We wish them all success in their future endeavors!

Youngs Awards:

Sandra Nair

sandra_nair1.jpgMy name is Sandra Nair. I am an international student from India, currently in the third year of my double major in Pure Mathematics and Physics. I am constantly amazed by the intersection of these two incredible subjects, as found in string theory and quantum field theory. It is my ardent faith that a final unified theory of mathematics is indistinguishable from the physics counterpart, as Nature has a way of projecting the most fascinating objects into reality. I aim to be a mathematical physicist who studies and explores these abstract territories for a living.The only way for us to make progress in the fundamental sciences is through the influx of ideas and new approaches- both of which are directly proportional to the background of the next generation of scientists. Therefore, it is our duty to encourage and promote underrepresented minorities in STEM- women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, differently abled persons etc. to name a few categories. It is my hope that the recognition brought forth by this award would lead to a greater diversity in the people considering mathematics as a career. We need more people like Noether, Ramanujan, Turing and Hawking to get to the next level. We need scientists who are in touch with their humanity if our kind is to survive the next millennium.


Shane Kennerly

shane_kennerly.jpgHi, I’m Shane Kennerly, and I’m currently finishing my undergraduate degrees in Pure Mathematics and Computer Science here at UCSC. I had originally intended to apply to the university as a proposed physics major, but after taking a couple more math-heavy courses at the end of high school, I realized that what I really liked about physics was the underlying mathematics. Throughout my four years of studying math here, my love for the subject has only grown as I’ve been able to engage more deeply in these concepts through my coursework. I am honored to receive this award, and would like to thank Prof. Junecue Suh, Prof. Robert Boltje, and Prof. Ed Karasiewicz, as well as the rest of the Mathematics Department and the professors I’ve had for giving me these opportunities to learn and helping me along the way. I have thoroughly enjoyed these past four years here, and am extremely grateful for the friends I’ve made, the things I’ve learned, and the experiences I’ve had, both academic and extracurricular. I plan to begin my Master’s in Pure Mathematics here this coming fall, and will hopefully pursue a Ph.D. in the future.