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About Me

I am an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana). I earned my bachelors degrees (B.S. in mathematics, B.A. in Computer Science) from Valpo in 2003; it's good to be back!

For graduate school, I attended Rutgers -- the State University of New Jersey. I defended my thesis under Dr. Doron Zeilberger on April 7, 2008, and graduated with my Ph.D. in May 2008. My main research interests are combinatorics and experimental math. My thesis focused on using Maple to study pattern avoidance problems.

One highlight of my work is mentoring undergraduate research projects. For summers 2005, 2006, and 2007, I was the graduate coordinator for the DIMACS REU at Rutgers. Now, I enjoy seeing undergraduate research from a different perspective as I direct undergraduate research projects at Valpo. Since fall 2009, I have directed undergraduate research teams of Valpo students during the academic year, and for summers 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018, I mentored teams of undergraduate researchers in the Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians (VERUM) program. I coauthored the book A Mathematician’s Practical Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Research (published September 2019) with Michael Dorff and Allison Henrich.

Other miscellanous mathematical activities? In 2009, I was one of a cohort of Project NExTers who began to resurrect the Indiana Section NExT program. For 2010-2012, I served as vice chair of Indiana NExT, and for 2012-2014, I was the Indiana Section NExT chairperson. For 2017-2020, I'm serving a term as vice chair, then chair, then past-chair of the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America. I have been on the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Permutation Patterns since 2012.

I strongly believe in helping others achieve their educational goals. I have been a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood since 2010 through which I've greatly enjoyed helping others apply for educational grants and scholarships. Also, in April 2013, I was initiated into Chapter Alpha Gamma of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional honor society of women educators, which is also involved in education-related service to the community.

As far as non-math/educational interests, I have several:

I very much enjoy reading. At Rutgers several other math students and I found a renewed love for Dr. Seuss books, but I do a bit of non-picture book reading as well. :-) Favorite books include A Certain Ambiguity by Gaurav Suri and Hartosh Singh Bal, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, Magnus by Sigmund Brouwer, City of Glass by Paul Auster, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglass Hoffstadter, and just about anything by Douglas Adams or C.S. Lewis (especially his space trilogy). These days, I also read a lot of nonfiction.

Besides reading, I also love to travel. I have currently been to 49 out of 50 states (with Hawaii still to go) and 9 out of 10 Canadian provinces (with Newfoundland still to go). I've made short trips to Mexico, Iceland, Scotland, England, Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and New Zealand. I also spent a fabulous semester in Budapest, Hungary in Fall 2002. I absolutely loved it there and I'm always counting down the time until my next trip back.

Otherwise it's not surprising to find me bicycling around Valparaiso (weather-permitting), bowling, solving crossword puzzles, or working to improve my juggling skills. I thoroughly enjoy playing euchre whenever I can assemble a crew for it. I enjoy live theater (community theater, broadway, etc.) much more than movies. I'm also a fan of my students, and it's not surpring to find me on campus regularly for various Valpo athletic events, concerts, and plays.

Finally, above all my interests comes my faith. I've spent much time evaluating and re-evaluating what I believe. Through all my struggles, I find the existence of God and His love for all creation undeniable. I am currently a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church (Valparaiso, IN) where I help run the sound system on Sunday mornings and play in the adult handbell choir. I was also an at-large member of the congregation council for 2015-2016.

And that is me in a nutshell. Enjoy the rest of the site.