SUNY Potsdam Alumni Present 2013 Minerva Award to Mary Helander '83

IBM Master Inventor Dr. Mary E. Helander '83 Earns Prestigious Accolade from her Alma Mater

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SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dr. Dennis L. Hefner presents the 2013 Minerva Award to Mary E. Helander ’83, along with Amy Kellogg ’99, first vice president of the College’s Alumni Association.

POTSDAM, NY (07/29/2013)(readMedia)-- The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association recently presented Dr. Mary E. Helander '83 with the 2013 Minerva Award during the College's annual Reunion Weekend.

The Minerva Award is presented annually to an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in his or her field. It is the highest honor that a SUNY Potsdam graduate can receive from the association.

Helander was recognized for her outstanding professional achievements and exceptional generosity to her alma mater.

Although SUNY Potsdam has many accomplished alumni, very few have achieved the high level of distinction that Dr. Helander has earned in her 30-year career. As a math research scientist with the mathematical sciences department at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, most of her research has involved the development of network based algorithms to solve business problems across a number of domains and industries.

She has more than 25 years of combined industry and academic experience in operations research, optimal network and transportation planning, software engineering and supply chain management. In 2010, in recognition of her mastery of the patent process -- she and her teammates are credited with 15 U.S. patents -- Helander was one of only 38 people out of 368,000 IBM employees worldwide to receive the prestigious honor of being named an IBM Master Inventor. This elite group of researchers is charged with assisting in the identification of new inventions, mentoring others in the use of the patent process and serving as a resource to IBM's intellectual property legal office.

Helander is widely published in a number of international journals on computer science, and she has delivered lectures on her work at a number of distinguished universities.

In addition to her bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics from SUNY Potsdam, she also holds a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University, a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, and a docent in quality technology and software engineering from Linköping University in Sweden. The title of docent is a research distinction beyond Ph.D. given by Scandinavian institutions.

Helander is also incredibly generous to her alma mater. She was among the first donors to commit a major leadership gift to the College's Take the Lead Campaign. She also serves as a trustee on the Potsdam College Foundation Board and as an important member of the Campaign Planning Committee.

To find out more about how SUNY Potsdam connects with its devoted alumni, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam.