# Math Emporium awarded a Wolfram Innovator Award!

October 24, 2021

The Math Emporium at Virginia Tech was awarded a Wolfram Innovator Award at the 2021 Wolfram Technology Conference held virtually this year on October 15^{th}.

Winners are nominated by Wolfram Research employees and selected by a panel of experts. The Math Emporium was nominated for the VT Math Emporium's in-house testing system which uses *Mathematica* and Wolfram language to author randomized questions. The recipients of Wolfram Innovator Awards are "*leaders in many top organizations and institutions who have played a major role in using computational intelligence and pushing the boundaries of how the Wolfram technology stack is leveraged for innovation across fields and disciplines.*" (Wolfram Blog 2021)

Dr. Mike Willliams first envisioned the Math Emporium over 20 years ago as a change from a passive mode of learning, where an instructor delivers a 50-minute lecture to an active learning experience that is completely one-on-one. He, along with Lawrence Sewell, led the design of the award winning testing system that uses *Mathematica* and Wolfram language to generate hundreds to thousands of versions of a particular question. This innovative way of programming questions enables students to practice solving particular types of problems until they feel they have learned the material and can move on.

The award is very much a team award, relying on a number of different members over the years, who were tasked to work with *Mathematica* each year to build and improve the question and assessment banks for the VT Math Emporium courses.

In accepting the award on behalf of the Math Department and Math Emporium, Senior Instructor and current Lead *Mathematica* Programmer for the VT Math Emporium, Jessica Schmale said, *"The recipients of the Wolfram Innovator Award come from around the world, from various fields and disciplines. It is an honor to be recognized alongside these leaders in computational excellence."*

You can watch the presentation of the award by Stephen Wolfram below.