A Brief History of Women and Mathematics at Wisconsin

Charlotte Pengra
PhD 1901

Elizabeth Stafford
PhD 1930

Mary Ellen Rudin
taught at UW 1959-1991

Georgia Benkart
taught at UW 1974-2006

Sylvia Wiegand
PhD 1974

Leslie Smith
Professor & Chair

Julie Mitchell
Professor of Math

Gloria Mari-Beffa
Professor of Math

Tullia Dymarz
Asst Professor

Melanie Matchett-Wood
Asst Professor

The first American Woman to receive a PhD. in math (from Columbia University) was Winifred Edgerton Merill who was born and raised in Ripon, WI.
The third person to receive a PhD in Math at UW was Charlotte Elvira Pengra . She was also the sixth American Woman to receive a PhD in mathematics.
The fourth person to receive a PhD in Math at UW was Florence Eliza Allen. She taught in the math department at Wisconsin for 30 years (1914-1944) retiring with the title Assitant Professor Emeritus. (her PhD advisor was Van Vleck)
Elizabeth Stafford receives a Math PhD (advisor Mark Ingraham) She later married Ivan Sokolnikoff (PhD 1931), who was on the faculty from 1927-1944. She taught from 1944-1954 as an Assistant Professor with tenure.
Etta Falconer earns a Master of Science degree in Mathematics at Wisconsin. She was an AFrican American woman. After earning her M.S. at Wisconsin, she moved to Atlanta with her husband so he could coach football. She finished her PhD at Emory with Trevor Evans and became a Professor and Dean at Spelman College. She became a national leader in advocating for African American women in Mathematics. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science from UW in 1996. Read her MAA biography.
Mary Ellen Rudin taught at UW during these years. She was promoted from Lecturer to Full Professor (in 1971)
Sylvia Young Wiegand receives a PhD (advisor Larry Levy). Sylvia and her husband Roger moved to Nebraska after she graduated. She served as president of the AWM (from 1997-99)
Georgia Benkart taught at UW until she retired in 2006. She was President-Elect of the AWM in 2008 and President during 2009-11.
Linda Rothschild taught at UW during these years. She was president of AWM from 1983-85.
Thaleia Zariphopoulou taught at UW.
Gloria Mari-beffa teaches at UW. Initially hired as a Faculty Associate, Gloria was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006. She has done a lot of work in outreach.  Gloria was elected Chair in 2014.
Claudia Neuhauser taught at UW.
Leslie Smith at UW. Leslie was elected Chair in 2005-2008, and again in 2012-2014.
Eleny Ionel taught at UW.
Olga Holtz received a PhD (advisor Hans Schneider). She now holds professorships at UC Berkeley and in Berlin, Germany.
Julie Mitchell teaches at UW.
Tullia Dymarz appointed Assistant Professor.
Melanie Matchett Wood appointed Assistant Professor.
Other Resources and links