Press Releases

Mills College Mathematics Professor to Receive Prestigious Math Award

Oakland, CA–January 03, 2011 Zvezdelina Stankova, professor of mathematics at Mills College, is scheduled to receive the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics on January 7, 2011 in New Orleans.

The Haimo award honors college or university teachers “who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions.” Considered to be the highest award for teaching mathematics in the U.S, the Haimo award is presented annually to, at most, three individuals, by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), one of the leading professional associations for collegiate mathematics in the country.

A gifted math teacher who has been at Mills since 1999, Professor Stankova was also the first recipient of the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member. Professor Stankova is the only person who has ever won both the Haimo and Alder awards.

“Mills College is immensely proud of Professor Stankova’s achievement in receiving this prestigious award,” said Mills College Provost Sandra Greer. “Her dedication and passion are evident by the rave reviews she has received from her students, who consistently cite professor Stankova’s teaching ability, enthusiasm for math, and her capacity to dramatically change their attitudes about mathematics.”

In addition to her full-time work at Mills as Frederick A. Rice Professor of Mathematics, Stankova is credited with creating the Berkeley Math Circle in 1998, which she currently heads as director. The Math Circle programs are widely regarded as helping math students go beyond what is taught in the classroom, by solving challenging mathematical questions on their own. Stankova, who participated in math circles while growing up in Bulgaria, went on to participate in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1987 and 1988.

Professor Stankova also helped co-found The Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad, an annual competition among 250 students in 45 Bay Area schools. Many of those students have gone on to participate in the international competition, including Evan O’Dorney, a gold medal recipient of this year’s 51st International Mathematical Olympiad, who Stankova tutored. O’Dorney was personally congratulated by President Obama for making a difference in being a role model for kids in the U.S.

Stankova holds BA and MA degrees from Bryn Mawr College, and received her PhD in 1997 from Harvard University. Her current research interests include classification of restricted patterns, specifically, Wilf-equivalences and shape-Wilf-ordering, in the area of enumerative and algebraic combinatorics.

In presenting the Haimo award, the MAA recognizes Professor Stankova’s achievement and “outstanding work in teaching, mentoring, and inspiring students at all levels, and in leading development of Math Circles, and promoting [student] participation in mathematics competition.”

Stankova will receive the Haimo award citation, along with an award prize of $1,000 at the Joint Prize Session during the annual 2011 Joint Mathematics Meeting taking place in New Orleans. The MAA along with the American Mathematical Society, will be presenting the awards on Friday, January 7, 2011, from 4:25 pm–5:35 pm, in the Great Ballroom of the Sheraton.

About Mills College
Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to over 950 undergraduate women and more than 600 graduate women and men. The College ranks as one of the Best 373 Colleges in the country and one of the greenest colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills one of the top-tier regional universities in the country and second among colleges and universities in the West in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. For more information, visit

Pam Gould
Media Relations Manager

Last Updated: 8/30/11