Mary Hopkins, 36, will soon graduate with a math doctorate from Florida Atlantic University, one of five math PhDs expected to go to the largest class of women in the school’s history. She also will be the first black woman to earn a doctorate in math from FAU and only the third among all state universities since at least 1990.
“I just had very encouraging teachers. I’ve heard of math teachers not encouraging females, especially minorities, but all of my professors are so great, and they’re all old white men,” said Hopkins, who spent a full hour last week working out a lengthy math question in front of her classmates and professors.
FAU will award four other women with math PhDs: Bashak Ay, Marcela Chiorescu, Zhihua Liu and Viktoria Villanyi. FAU math administrators said they didn’t do anything special to recruit more women into their doctoral program and believe there’s a natural increase of women studying math as traditional stereotypes fall away.
TEEN COMMITS SUICIDE ON WEBCAM
Abraham K. Biggs, a 19-year old member of Bodybuilding.com — screen name: Candy Junkie, purposely overdosed on pills while streaming a video of himself live on Justin.tv. He left a virtual suicide note on Bodybuilding.com, which was removed once he was found dead.
He committed suicide by taking pills, turning on his webcam and lying on his bed. Moderators at Bodybuilding.com did not take him seriously because he had made similar threats in the past. Several forum members even encouraged him to kill himself. After several hours, viewers realized he wasn’t joking and called the police who found a dead body and shut off the webcam.
Biggs was a student at Broward College and suffered from bipolar disorder and depression. The autopsy shows Biggs died from a toxic combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, a drug used to treat insomnia and depression.
Abraham Biggs Sr. said his son had been prescribed benzodiazepine to treat bipolar disorder. The 19-year-old had been “doing better,” his father said, “He was a good kid.” Biggs said he was upset that Justin.tv streamed his son’s suicide live. “There seems to be a lack of control as to what people put out on the Internet,” he said. “There’s a lot of garbage out there that should not be, and unfortunately this was allowed to happen.”
UNIVERSITY APOLOGIZES FOR RACIST PAST
In an online statement, Bob Jones University of Greenville, South Carolina apologized for “racially hurtful” practices of its past, including prohibiting married African American students until 1971 and unmarried African American students until 1975, and banning interracial dating until 2000.
The letter stated that BJU’s former policies were “shaped more directly by that [segregationist] ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures.” “In so doing,” the letter said, “we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry.”