Sisters of the Holy Cross » North America » Endowment honors Sister Miriam P. (Cooney), CSC

Endowment honors Sister Miriam P. (Cooney), CSC

posted in: Education, North America
Sister Miriam P. (Cooney), CSC
Sister Miriam P. (Cooney), CSC

For thirty-two years Sister Miriam P. (Cooney), CSC, energized and inspired women at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, in her role as a professor in mathematics. To honor her dedication and positive influence, the Sister Miriam Cooney, CSC ’51 Endowed Grant for Undergraduate Student Research in Mathematics was established.

These funds will allow an undergraduate math major to participate with a professor on in-depth research in her field during the summer. The grant includes a stipend, housing on campus, funding for materials and travel costs to collect data off campus and/or attend a conference to present research findings. The recipient of the grant is senior Yufei Zhang, who will conduct research with Professor Ranjan Rohatgi.

“The grant allows faculty to introduce our students to the world of mathematical research and turn our students into our collaborators. Thanks to the donors, a student’s summer job can be actively participating in research with our faculty,” noted Professor Ranjan Rohatgi. “This summer, Yufei and I are studying variations of graceful and harmonious graph labeling.” 

Karen "Kae" Bichimer Sobczyk
Karen “Kae” Bichimer Sobczyk

The donors of the endowment are Michael and Karen “Kae” Bichimer Sobczyk ’81. Kae’s daughter graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2009. 

As a math major, Kae was inspired by Sister Miriam’s passion for the beauty and application of mathematics and the confidence she had in her students. “Her example of a strong woman, leading with confidence and the love of Jesus, positively influenced me during college and into my professional life,” said Kae.

“When my husband and I decided we were ready to ramp up our contribution to Saint Mary’s College, we discussed options with Carrie Mueller of the college’s Development Office.  I attended the Saint Mary’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) poster presentation in the fall of 2017 (a showcase that recognizes the accomplishments of STEM students) and was very impressed by the students’ explanations of their summer internships and research projects. So, when one of the options Carrie presented was an endowment to fund math students’ participation in summer research projects, I knew we’d found a match. I feel strongly that the theoretical math learned in the classroom comes alive in unique ways when integrated with real world experiences. Mike and I hope this endowment encourages math students to accept the challenge of using their math, communications, data mining and problem solving skills to complete a research project that expands their understanding of the roles of mathematics in our world today. We look forward to learning what these faculty-student research teams produce for many years to come and we feel blessed to be a part of it.”