Professor Ruth Corran (1989)

2022 Alumnae Award for Academia

Professor Ruth Corran (1989) is the Professor, Department Chair - Computer Science, Mathematics & Science in the Department of Computer Science, Math and Environmental Science of the American University of Paris.

Ruth graduated from the University of Sydney with a BSc (Mathematics) with First Class Honours and the University Medal in Mathematics. She subsequently won a scholarship to the University of Sydney and was awarded a PhD in Pure Mathematics (on monoids related to braid groups) in 2000. In that year, she also held a post as Assistant Lecturer at the University of NSW.

In 2001 Ruth was the recipient of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant to work on ‘reflection groups’ at the University of Leicester, England. Then in 2002 she was awarded a two-year European Union Marie Curie postdoctoral award with the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. In 2004, she took up a postdoctoral position at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. She joined The American University of Paris in 2005.

Ruth’s mathematical research interests are in group and semigroup theory, particularly in terms of presentations and decision problems. She has been looking at reflection groups, braid groups, and Garside groups and monoids. Current projects include new presentations for complex reflection groups and root systems for complex reflection groups. She has published in Advances in Mathematics and the Journal of Algebra, among others.

Ruth has two young daughters. In the ‘We Salute our Women in Science’ article published in Lucis, 2013-2, she wanted to pass on this message: ‘to girls studying science, you can achieve great things in science and have a rewarding family life!’

A message from Ruth

I am delighted and honoured to receive an MLC School Alumnae Award.

I am sure that my experiences at MLC School positively affected many of my later study and career choices. I was surrounded by a remarkable group of academically gifted and confident young women, inspiring me to aim for excellence. My teachers at MLC School were committed, generous and talented – thinking of some of my math, science and language teachers - Mrs Fulcher, Mrs Piper and Mrs Sutherland; Mrs Tacon and Mr Hayes; My German teacher - she was the one who arranged my german exchange. I know that my teaching today at the American University of Paris is influenced by their rigour, enthusiasm and simply their joy in teaching their subjects. The wider and extra-curricular opportunities afforded me at MLC School contributed to my life-long interests in music, sport and theatre.

Moreover, I'm sure that MLC School's mission, "to educate and inspire young women to be fearless thinkers with moral courage and compassion, to be agents of change in their own lives and the lives of others," explains my own commitment to and excitement about our very similar project at the American University of Paris, preparing our "global explorer" graduates to confront contemporary global realities; forming critical thinkers in the liberal arts heritage who are able to move fluidly across cultural and linguistic boundaries.

And I know that my formative years at MLC School gave me the confidence to believe that girls and women need to be part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines, are just as able as their male counterparts and take as much enjoyment in pursuing their studies and careers in STEM. This confidence has allowed me and so many of my MLC School peers to succeed in STEM careers, and moves me to inspire the same confidence in my daughters and AUP students to enjoy and excel in math and science.

All of these experiences were possible because of my parents' wisdom and investment in choosing MLC School for me, and I'd like to thank them most of all, for giving me the wonderful opportunity that was my MLC School education.