Dr. Kristen (Kobylus) Abernathy, a 2004 Catawba College mathematics alumna, was recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Junior Professor at Winthrop University, where she is an assistant professor of mathematics. This recognition indicates a reputation for inspired teaching, research or creative excellence and dedication to the welfare of students.
Abernathy joined the faculty at Winthrop in 2011 and has distinguished herself there as an excellent teacher. Recognized at the regional level, she received the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Southeastern Section's Beginning Teaching Award in 2015. She also is an MAA Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) fellow, an undergraduate mentor for the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences and student activities coordinator for the MAA Southeastern section.
Abernathy teaches a wide range of courses from introductory level and general education courses to advanced courses in undergraduate mathematical research. Her colleagues noted that she demonstrates maturity and professionalism in the classroom, and she constantly seeks to find new ways for students to better connect with mathematics. In addition, she was one of the organizers of her department's successful Sonia Kovalevsky Day, which is an outreach program designed to spark interest in mathematics in middle school girls.
Equally committed to student intellectual development outside of the classroom, Abernathy has mentored 14 undergraduate research projects, and she encourages students to attend regional and national mathematics conferences.