Outstanding undergraduates in computational and applied mathematics (CAAM) at Rice University are eligible for a $1,000 award established in the name of Michael Ross Franco.
When he graduated from Rice with a B.A. in 2014, Franco had a double major in CAAM and mathematics. At the start of his senior year, Franco was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For eight months he underwent chemotherapy while completing course work and graduated on time.
The award was established by Franco’s family “to annually recognize one or more outstanding undergraduate juniors or seniors majoring or minoring in computational and applied mathematics who have demonstrated exemplary performance or excellence in a class and/or undergraduate research.” Applicants should contact the CAAM departmental office.
Franco’s senior design project focused on developing a prototype therapy-modeling tool for MRI-guided laser ablations to treat brain tumors. His advisers were Tim Warburton, formerly a professor of CAAM at Rice, and David Fuentes, assistant professor of imaging physics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
After graduating and during the remainder of his cancer treatment, Franco worked at BP’s Center for High-Performance Computing, where he focused on improving parallel methods for acoustic wave propagation. In 2016, Franco joined the applied mathematics doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research focuses on developing high-order methods for numerically solving partial differential equations.