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Clarkson University Senior Xiaojing Fu Receives Levinus Clarkson Award

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Graduating senior Xiaojing (Ruby) Fu of Changsha, China, was awarded the Levinus Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s 118th commencement ceremony today. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Levinus Clarkson Award to Xiaojing (Ruby) Fu.The Levinus Clarkson Award was established by University founders Elizabeth and Frederica Clarkson in memory of their brother, Levinus, and was first awarded in 1909. This award and the Frederica Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.

Fu received her bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and statistics, with a minor in computer science and a minor in computational science, and was a member of the Honors Program. For her honors thesis, she studied an inverse problem in 1-D heat equation.

She met her research mentor, Prof. Kathleen Fowler in 2008 through a recommendation by David Craig, former Honors Program director. She spent all her three summers in Clarkson with Fowler and worked on five different projects that span the fields of groundwater contamination remediation, strawberry farm modeling, derivative-free optimization, re-contamination phenomenon, and inverse problems on temperature profiles. Her research projects are mainly funded by the Honors Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Her work on re-contamination phenomenon, advised by Fowler and in collaboration with Prof. Michelle Crimi from the Environmental Health Science, started in spring 2009. The purpose of this work is to predict the behavior of trapped contaminant left out from previous treatment, especially on the interface of low and high permeability soil media. This work will help engineers better plan remediation strategy to prevent re-contamination.

In summer of 2010, Fu started working on optimizing farming strategies to help strawberry farmers in California reduce farming water consumption and maintain profit. Together with her partner, she built a mathematical model that describes farming activities and simulates cost and profit of growing berries. This is an ongoing project and is supported by American Institute of Mathematics and Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc.

Fu started her honors thesis in Spring 2010, where she studied methods to inversely extrapolate soil parameters from known temperature data from subsurface media. This work is done to assist a modeling package being developed in Army Corps of Engineers.

Fu has presented her projects in several national conferences including the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Annual Meeting 2010, the SIAM conference on Computational Science and Engineering 2011, the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics 2010, and Mathfest 2010.

Fu was the co-founder of Clarkson Math Club, the president of the SIAM Clarkson Chapter, the president of Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Clarkson Chapter, the co-chair of Clarkson Honors Program Activity Committee, the president of International Student Organization, and the treasurer of Pi Mu Epsilon, the mathematical honor society, Clarkson Chapter.

She interned in Lenovo, China, and has worked on campus as a tour guide, an undergraduate tutor for math and physics, a teaching assistant for Calculus III, a counselor assistant at the admissions office, an IMPETUS fellow for the summer roller coaster camp, and a student worker at Subway.

Fu is a recipient of the Kristin Bandy Craig Memorial Scholarship and received a meritorious win in the 2009 COMAP mathematical contest in modeling. Her team also won the third annual St. Lawrence Valley Mathematics Symposium Math Jeopardy.

Fu is also a member of the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI) and WTSC radio station.

After graduation, Fu plans to study in the master's program in computation for design and optimization at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She plans to continue her research in helping the environment with a mathematical mind.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Levinus Clarkson Award to Xiaojing (Ruby) Fu.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or]

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