Stanford University

Class of 2020 Undergraduate Honors and Awards

This academic year, the Mathematics Department received many exceptional Honors theses and would like to recognize the hard work and dedication the eight award winners have put into their research. This year, there were three awards given: The Firestone Medal, the George Pólya Prize, and the Undergraduate Research Award.

Katharine Woo and Eric Kilgore have earned the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. This award recognizes the top theses in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences.

Katharine Woo


Katharine Woo’s thesis was advised by Dr. Kannan Soundararajan and is titled, “Analytic Number Theory and Exponential Sums in the Function Field Setting”

Eric Kilgore’s thesis was advised by Dr. Jonathan Wing-hong Luk and is titled, “Global Non-Linearly Stable Solutions to the Spherically Symmetric Einstein Scalar Field System.” Eric’s thesis was also nominated by the department for the Kennedy Award.


Due to the high number of outstanding theses that were submitted for award consideration this academic year, the department has created a new departmental award that will be considered in the same tier as the Firestone Medal: The George Pólya Prize. The Pólya Prize has been awarded to Pengda Liu and Jae Hee Lee.

Jae Hee Lee

Pengda Liu

Pengda Liu

Jae Hee Lee’s thesis was advised by Dr. Yakov Eliashberg and is titled, “Double Ramification Contact Homology.”

Pengda Liu’s thesis was advised by Dr. Amir Dembo and Dr. Nicholas Cook and is titled, “Large Deviations for Erdős-Rényi Graphs and Hypergraphs.” Dr. Cook was a Stein Fellow at Stanford’s Statistics Department until June 30th, 2020 and will be a Mathematics faculty member at Duke University starting July 1st, 2020.


And for the final rounds of awards, four students have received the departmental Undergraduate Research Award: Niven Achenjang, Javier Echevarría Cuesta, Prasanna Ramakrishnan, and Jonathan Seymour. 

Niven Achengjang

Javier Echevarría Cuesta

Niven Achenjang’s thesis was advised by Dr. Rafe Mazzeo and is titled, “Singular Fibers on Elliptic Surfaces.”

Javier Echevarría Cuesta’s thesis was advised by Dr. András Vasy and is titled, “On the Propagation of Singularities.”

Prasanna Ramakrishnan

Prasanna Ramakrishnan

Jonathan Seymour

Jonathan Seymour

Prasanna Ramakrishnan’s thesis was advised by Dr. Jacob Fox and is titled, “Independent Sets in Hasse Diagrams.”

Jonathan Seymour’s thesis was advised by Dr. Yakov Eliashberg and is titled, “Construction of Surfaces Transverse to Engel Structures.”

The Mathematics Department wants to extend many congratulations for your hard work in your theses. We wish you the very best in what is next to come!