CWU News

CWU Math Professor Receives MAA Meritorious Service Award

Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University math professor, received the Pacific Northwest Section of the Mathematics Association of America’s 2016 Meritorious Service Award. The award will be presented at the 2016 MathFest in August, in Columbus, Ohio.

“This is an honor,” said Boersma. “I was completely surprised by this announcement since there are so many others who volunteer enormous amounts of their time to improve the quality of undergraduate mathematics education.”

“Dr. Boersma’s award is clearly deserved,” said Tim Englund, dean of the College of the Sciences, and fellow mathematics professor. “His dedication to his discipline, colleagues and students sets a very high bar for all us in the profession.

In addition to the PNW-MAA service award, Boersma received the award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2013, and the MAA Trevor Evans Award for “A Mathematician's Look at Foucault’s Pendulum” in 2006. The Trevor Evans Award goes to exceptional articles that are accessible to undergraduates and published in Math Horizons.

Boersma also co-hosts the annual “codebreaking” competition at CWU. In 2011, he and Cheryl Beaver started the Kryptos contest, which is an annual cryptanalysis contest for undergraduate students. The first competition featured about 50 undergraduate students from the Pacific Northwest. It has rapidly grown in popularity and in 2015 had 150 entrants from across the United States and Canada.

Boersma received his bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound in 1988 and his PhD in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1994.  He taught at Alfred University in western New York for six years before coming to CWU in 2000.

The PNW-MAA ( is a regional section of the national Mathematical Association of America (, one of the two largest professional organizations of mathematicians. Established in 1915, the MAA currently has 20,000 members. The Pacific Northwest section is the largest geographically as it includes 10 states, provinces, and territories—Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, parts of Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut (Canada’s northernmost territory).

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,