May 31, 2016

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

Dr. Denise Reid Honored with President’s Award for Excellence in Service

Pictured is Dr. Denise Reid, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

VALDOSTA – Dr. Denise Reid is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 2016 President’s Award for Excellence in Service.

The President’s Award for Excellence in Service is presented to a full-time faculty member who has worked at VSU for a minimum of three years and displays a strong and consistent commitment to service on the university campus, in the community, and/or in their professional discipline.

Reid, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, was selected by the College of Arts and Sciences Presidential Award Committee for her continuous dedication to increasing the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines within her department, the College of Arts and Sciences, Valdosta State University, the University System of Georgia, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County community.

“Some of the service that everyone does at VSU is out of duty,” said Reid, who joined the Blazer Nation family in August 1995. “Other service is self-motivating. You find something you enjoy, and if you’re blessed, then you get to do that. For me, this has been trying to make STEM more interesting to students of all ages.

“I truly enjoy helping others. I always have. Hebrews 13:16 says, ‘Do not neglect to do good and share what you have.’ I can recall many people who have given of themselves to help me over the years. They gave of their time and energy because they wanted to help me. I can see from personal experiences what a difference one person can have. I know that I would not be where I am now without the influence, assistance, inspiration, and encouragement of others through the years.”

Throughout her more than two decades of service at VSU, Reid has served on numerous committees within the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, the College of Arts and Sciences, Valdosta State University, and more.

Dr. Connie L. Richards, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the three most notable projects in which Reid has left her mark on the VSU campus community are the annual Sonya Kovalevsky Day, Camp Invention, and the College Algebra Tutoring Lab.

Founded in 1996 and named for the first major female mathematician before the 20th century, Sonya Kovalevsky Day is sponsored by the Association of Women in Mathematics through the National Science Foundation to encourage young women of high school age to pursue a career in mathematics and other STEM fields.

“Area high schools are invited to bring female students to VSU for a day of activities and to explore STEM fields,” said Richards. “Denise has been coordinating and directing this event for over 20 years, with last year’s participation being the highest ever. She writes grants to get local grocery stores to contribute the breakfast items, gets the prizes for the drawings that make the event fun and exciting, and plans the day’s activities. The event takes a tremendous amount of effort and while she has had co-directors to help along the way, the one constant is Dr. Reid. She has been at the heart of this project for over two decades and is working to keep the project going and growing.”

In 2011, the College of Arts and Sciences was approached by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition to create a location for Camp Invention, a weeklong summer day program for rising first through sixth graders.

“We needed 35 students to make the camp successful and we needed someone willing to direct it,” said Richards. “Dr. Reid immediately stepped forward. While we worried about getting 35 students, in the end we had nearly double that number. Dr. Reid was thoroughly prepared with her staff and curriculum in order. I have to say that the woman has the patience of Job to listen to nearly 70 excited, talking, rambunctious kids every day for a week. But, she takes it all in stride and pays close attention to each student and his or her needs.”

Richards also noted that Camp Invention is a much anticipated event each year and that Reid is highly successful at helping to build excellent public relations for Valdosta State University.

Reid is also best known for serving a vital role in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science’s new College Algebra Tutoring Lab located in Nevins Hall. As a lab coordinator, she oversees the retention efforts for the department by assisting students who are inadequately prepared for college algebra courses at VSU. She also led the committee that designed the MATH 1111: College Algebra enrichment workbook and coordinates the activities for students who attend the lab on a daily basis in order to help them develop a firm foundation in mathematics.

“There’s an expression called ‘pay it forward,’" said Reid. “I hope that I can do that. I want to help others. Honestly, this is a bit selfish because I love the feeling I get when I know I’ve made a difference. It’s so rewarding to have a VSU student come tell me that she came to one of the 20 Sonya Kovalevsky Days I’ve directed. I enjoy having a child or parent from Camp Invention come up to me to share how much their child enjoyed camp. It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I’m working with kids and they learn that math can be fun. Imagine that — math is fun. I hope that I’ve made a difference and these students, children, and parents can ‘pay it forward’ and make a difference for someone else.”

Reid earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in mathematics and computer science from Troy State University in 1990, as well as a Master of Science in mathematics with a specialization in differential equations in 1992 and a Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics in 1995, both from Auburn University.

She has served on a number of committees that have provided her with the opportunity to be more involved at various levels within her department, the College of Arts and Sciences, Valdosta State University, the University System of Georgia, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County community.

Within the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Reid has served on the Assessment Committee, the Academic Honors and Awards Committee, the Assessment Subcommittee for the Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics degree, the Curriculum Committee, the Awards Committee, the Faculty Evaluation Committee, the Math 1111: College Algebra Learner Support Committee, the Math Education Committee, the Mathematics Program Committee, and the Public Relations Committee. She has also attended numerous VSU Open House events as a representative for the department.

Within the College of Arts and Sciences, Valdosta State University, the University System of Georgia, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County community, Reid has served as a member of the Recruitment and Retention Committee, the Academic Advising Committee, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Honors College curriculum, the Bell BioEnergy Inc. Committee, the International Students Committee, and the Innovation in Undergraduate Math Statewide Seminars Committee.

She has also served as a co-founder and co-advisor for the VSU student chapters of the Mathematical Association of America and Kappa Delta Pi: The International Honor Society in Education; advised students seeking degrees in mathematics, computer science, and legal assistant studies; taught a mathematics course at South Georgia State College, a state college of the University System of Georgia (USG) in Waycross, the MATH 1112U: Independent Study Trigonometry course for the USG, and the MATH 2261: Analytic Geometry, Calculus I, and MATH 3340: Ordinary Differential Equations courses for VSU’s Honors College and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; educated VSU students in numerous independent mathematics study courses; supervised projects for the Honors College and the ITED 7300: Instructional Design & Development I course; sponsored five Science Saturday events and five student papers and posters at various VSU Undergraduate Research Symposiums; performed several peer reviews; and designed 16 contests for Pi Mu Epsilon: The National Mathematics Honorary Society.

The sole author and co-author of more than two dozen publications, Reid has also written and co-written 49 external grants ranging from $50 to $600,000, 34 of them having been selected for funds; hosted more than a dozen workshops and advanced placement presentations for middle and high school students in the surrounding region; served as a mentor for the Association of Women in Mathematics; and graded advanced placement calculus for high school students and teachers in Kansas City, Mo.

Contact Dr. Denise Reid at or (229) 333-5784 for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

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