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About Me

I am a full 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.

While I still mentor undergraduate research projects during the academic year, since 2019, my summers have taken a different path as I becoming increasingly involved with Math Path, a summer camp for middle schoolers who love math. Each summer since 2019, I've served on the camp faculty, and in more recent summers I've become increasingly involved behind the scenes with activities such as grading Qualifying Tests as part of the application process. It's a fantastic and engaged group of faculty and staff who put the camp together, and has become one of the most energizing parts of my academic year. In fall 2021 I accepted an offer to join the senior staff of MathPath as the camp's executive director.

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 served 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 been to all 50 US states 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, or solving crossword puzzles. In September 2020 I bought my first guitar (a blue Yamaha APX600) in May 2021, I bought a blue ukulele to match. In August 2022, I bought my first banjo (a not-blue Ibanez B200). While I'm playing mostly for my own entertainment, my long term guitar goal is to work through every page of Mel Bay's Complete Method for Modern Guitar (and as of summer 2022, I'm 60% of the way there!). 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 currently attend worship services at the Chapel of the Resurrection.

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