Scholars and Practitioners

We are researchers and practitioners from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. We are diverse with respect to gender, gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability status, family status, socioeconomic background, and more.

James Cart

James Cart is Assistant Director of Institutional Research at his alma mater, Williams College. As an undergraduate, James achieved a liberal arts trifecta by studying psychology, English, and astrophysics. In his current professional role, James gathers and analyzes data about Williams students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni. Using his skills in data ethics and survey design as well as his technical knowledge of statistical analysis and data visualization in SQL, Python, Tableau, and more, James supports planning, policy formation, and decision-making for diverse constituencies on and off campus. An experienced teacher and administrator, James has previously worked in secondary education, health care staffing, and higher education human resources.

Keywords: statistics; data analysis; data visualization; survey design; databases; data ethics; institutional research

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Maria-Veronica Ciocanel

Veronica Ciocanel is currently a President’s Postdoctoral Scholar at The Ohio State University and the Mathematical Biosciences Institute. She completed a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Brown University and her B.S. in Mathematics and French Studies at Duke University. She is interested in using mathematical modeling and analysis to address questions in cell biology, providing insights into healthy development and function of organisms. Recently, she has been developing topological data analysis and other data analytics tools to understand cell organization, infer network dynamics, and carry out quantitative social justice research. Veronica was awarded the Reginald Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015 and the Sigma Xi Award for excellence in research from the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown in 2017. She is also passionate about inclusive outreach, which includes serving as a teaching assistant for the GirlsGetMath at ICERM summer math camp for high school girls in the RI area, mentoring applied mathematics female students in the undergraduate mentorship program at Brown University, and founding local mathematical contests for modeling at Brown and at OSU.

Keywords: applied mathematics; mathematical modeling; cell biology; data science; inclusive outreach

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Sara Clifton

Sara Clifton is J.L. Doob Research Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and she will begin a position as Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Olaf College in Fall 2019. Sara completed her undergraduate degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics at the Colorado School of Mines, and earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics under the supervision of Danny Abrams. Her current research interests are mathematical modeling of complex social and biological dynamical systems.

Keywords: mathematical biology and sociology; evolution and ecology; epidemiology; mathematical modeling; dynamical systems; mathematical self-efficacy and anxiety

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Phoebe Cohen

Phoebe Cohen is Associate Professor in Geosciences at Williams College. Phoebe is a paleontologist who researches how life and environments have co-evolved throughout earth history, with a focus on life before the evolution of animals. She earned a B.A. in earth systems science from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Phoebe has worked to implement codes of conduct and sexual harassment policies for her professional societies, scientific meetings, and her own department. She has helped to organize events around science communication, diversity and equity in teaching, and best pedagogical practices including inclusive teaching. She was awarded the Geological Society of America Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award in 2012. Her research is funded by the NASA Astrobiology program, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, and the National Science Foundation.

Keywords: paleontology; geoscience; pedagogy and diversity in geoscience;  earth science; gender

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Margaret Gibson

Margaret F. Gibson (BA Harvard, MSW & PhD University of Toronto) is an assistant professor in Social Development Studies and Social Work at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada. Dr. Gibson was the collection editor for Queering Motherhood: Narrative and Theoretical Perspectives (Demeter Press, 2014), and has published widely in disability studies, sexuality studies, social work, and gender studies journals. Dr. Gibson’s scholarship and teaching focus on LGBTQ parents and families, critical disability studies, feminist research methods, and the history and philosophy of social services.

Keywords: LGBTQ studies; disability studies; parenting and families; critical social work practice; feminist research methods; history of science and medicine

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Pamela Harris

Pamela E. Harris is an Assistant Professor in the department of Mathematics and Statistics at Williams College. She received her B.S. from Marquette University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests are in algebra and combinatorics, particularly as these subjects relate to the representation theory of Lie algebras. Her recent research on vector partition functions and projects in graph theory has been supported through awards from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics. She co-organizes research symposia and professional development sessions for the national conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), was an MAA Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) Fellow from 2012-2013, and is an editor of the e-Mentoring Network blog of the American Mathematical Society. In 2016, she helped develop and create an online platform that features prominently the extent of the research and mentoring contributions of Latin@s and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences.

Keywords: measurements of diversity; equitable pedagogy; community building

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Jude Higdon

Jude Higdon is Chief Information Officer at Bennington College. Jude received a B.A. from Northwestern University, an Ed.M. from Harvard University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Southern California. With over two decades of experience, Jude has worked for numerous institutions of higher learning, including Minnesota State Mankato, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, the City Colleges of Chicago, the University of Southern California, and for not-for-profit organizations such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Red Cross, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. An experienced teacher and scholar, Jude has taught organizational psychology and leadership to undergraduate and graduate students, and he carries out research at the convergence of education and technology. Jude recently helped to found a scholarship at Bennington College focused on recruiting and retaining women of color in STEAM disciplines. Jude’s honors include the 2013 Outstanding Service Award at Minnesota State Mankato and the 2016 Outstanding Innovation Award from the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

Keywords: educational psychology and learning science; organizational efficacy; equity, inclusion, diversity and STEM; access; learning technology

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Kaitlin Hill

Kaitlin Hill is currently a MathCEP Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, she will be a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Mathematics at Wake Forest University. Kaitlin completed her doctorate in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University. In addition to her research on diversity in professional fields, she is committed to inclusion-focused outreach, including founding Girls Learning and Exploring Applications of Mathematics, a mathematics enrichment program for students in diverse Twin Cities middle schools.

Keywords: mathematical modeling, nonlinear dynamics, complex systems, Mathematics of Planet Earth, human systems, gender diversity

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Sarah Jacobson

Sarah Jacobson is an Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College. She completed her PhD in Economics at Georgia State University in 2010 and her Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College in 1998. She is an environmental and behavioral economist who studies interactions between preferences and institutions, mostly using laboratory experiments. Themes in her research include reciprocity, cases in which social preferences yield inefficient outcomes, punishment, and regulatory enforcement. She is also engaged with efforts to promote inclusivity in the economics profession.

Keywords: environmental regulation, social preferences, laboratory experiments, penalties and punishment, risk and uncertainty, applied microeconomics, inclusion in economics

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Daniel Maes

Daniel Maes is a graduate student in applied mathematics at the University of Michigan, supported by the Marjorie Lee Brown program. Daniel received a dual BA in mathematics and statistics from Williams College, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. During his time at Williams, he was the founding head advising fellow for the Williams chapter of Matriculate, whose mission is “to empower high-achieving, low-income high school students to make the leap to our best colleges and universities.” Based on his honors thesis work, which modeled the college admissions pipeline with a focus on assessing critical mass in affirmative action, Daniel won an Outstanding Presentation Award from the Mathematical Association of America at MathFest 2018. Finally, for his achievements in applied mathematics during his undergraduate years, Daniel won Williams’ Morgan Prize for Achievement in Applied Mathematics.

Keywords: applied mathematics, mathematical modeling, statistics, diversity, affirmative action

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Melissa McGuirl

Melissa McGuirl is a doctoral candidate in applied mathematics at Brown University, advised by Bjorn Sandstede and co-advised by Andrew Blumberg (University of Texas at Austin). Her research interests include applied topology and dynamical systems. In particular, most of her dissertation research utilizes methods from topological data analysis to study dynamical systems, pattern formation, and biological phenomena. In addition, she is interested in machine learning applications.  Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross in 2015 and her Masters of Science in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 2016. She is currently a recipient of the National Science Foundation GRFP award, and she received the Archambault Teaxching Award for Brown’s Summer Session in 2018 and the Sigma Xi Award for excellence in research and high potential for future contributions from the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University in 2019.

Keywords: applied mathematics, data science, machine learning

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Steven Nelson

Steven Nelson (B.A. Yale, Ph.D. Harvard) is Professor of African and African American Art at UCLA, Director of the UCLA African Studies Center, Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the National Gallery of Art, and former president of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. His book From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum Architecture In and Out of Africa has won multiple awards. His writings on the contemporary and historic arts, architecture and urbanism of Africa and its diasporas, African American art history, and queer studies have appeared in anthologies and exhibition catalogues as well as in African ArtsArchitecture New YorkArt BulletinArtforumArt JournalDocumentsJournal of HomosexualityMuseums InternationalNew Formations, and Politique Africaine. Professor Nelson has received numerous fellowships and visiting appointments. He is currently completing two new books titled “Structural Adjustment: Mapping, Geography, and the Visual Cultures of Blackness,” and “On The Underground Railroad.”

Keywords: arts, architecture, urbanism, Africa, African diasporas, African American art history, queer studies

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Miles Ott

Miles Ott is a biostatistician with research interests in public health and the statistical analysis of social network data. He is particularly interested in network sampling methodology, the statistical implications of missingness in network data, and public health interventions that leverage the structure of social networks. His research application areas include substance use in emerging adults, HIV surveillance in hard-to-reach populations, and transgender health. Ott earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science from Smith College. He went on to receive a master’s of public health degree in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, a master’s of science in biostatistics (with a concentration in women, gender and health) from Harvard University, and a doctorate in biostatistics from Brown University.

Keywords: transgender, LGBT, public health, statistics, biostatistics, data science

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Nancy Rodríguez

Nancy Rodríguez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at CU Boulder. Her research focuses on nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), in particular those with applications to urban crime, segregation, biological aggregation, chemo- taxis, and ecology. Fundamentally, she interested in the mathematical modeling and the use of numerical and mathematical analysis to shed light into social, biological and ecological systems. Her publications have contributed to the advancement of the theory for non-local PDEs and have brought insight into crime propagation and prevention, social segregation, and pest-control. Rodriguez received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the University of San Diego (USD) in 2006. While at USD, she was a McNair and Goldwater scholar and graduated summa cum laude. She then went to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue an applied mathematics degree with a Ford Foundation fellowship. At UCLA she joined the applied math group of Andrea Bertozzi. She graduated in 2011 from UCLA, becoming the first McNair Scholar from USD to obtain a PhD. Upon graduation, Rodriguez obtained the NSF Postdoctoral fellowship, which she took to Stanford University. While at Stanford, Rodriguez was a co-director of a new research for experience for undergraduate students and volunteered for the Prison University Project teaching math classes at San Quentin Prison. In 2014 she joined math mathematics department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) as an assistant professor and moved to Boulder in 2018.

Keywords: applied mathematics; differential equations; mathematical modeling; crime; segregation/aggregation; ecology

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Karen Saxe

Karen Saxe is Director of Government Relations for the American Mathematical Society. She works in Washington DC to connect the mathematics community with decision-makers who impact scientific research and education. She is also DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics, Emerita at Macalester College in St Paul, MN. She has been awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award by the Mathematical Association of America, the Macalester College Excellence in Teaching Award, and honorary doctorates from Bard College and Macalester College. She has long been active with policy and advocacy activities for both the Mathematical Association of America and the Association for Women in Mathematics. Karen has been a resource in Minnesota on redistricting, consulting with city governments, is currently part of the Common Cause Redistricting Leadership Circle, and served on the Minnesota Citizens’ Redistricting Commission, created to draw congressional districts following the 2010 census. As the 2020 Census approaches, her consulting work has expanded to other states. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math), an initiative sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, aiming to effect constructive change in mathematics education at community colleges, 4-year colleges and research universities. 

Keywords: analysis; redistricting; politics; science policy; measurements of social inequalities; broadening participation in mathematical sciences

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Shilad SEn

Shilad Sen is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and a data science research fellow for Target Corporation. He studies the relationship between algorithms, software, and people and focuses on biases and inequalities along dimensions such as race, gender, and geography. Sen’s research has been recognized through grants from the National Science Foundation, best papers awards at top computer science conferences, and coverage in popular press venues including The Atlantic. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and Bachelor’s Degrees in Math and Saxophone Performance from Northwestern University.

Keywords: social computing; human-centered algorithms; recommender systems; machine learning; deep learning; visualization; wikipedia; algorithmic bias; content bias

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Christian Smith

Christian Michael Smith is a Sociology PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin – Madison. He received an MS in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a BA from Macalester College in Applied Mathematics/Statistics and Educational Studies. Christian’s research has focused on socioeconomic inequalities in college attendance and completion. His current dissertation research, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, examines how state policies widen or narrow socioeconomic inequalities in higher education and uses statistical methods designed to establish causal relationships when experimental methods are not feasible. In other scholarship, he examines gender-related climate in quantitatively-focused classrooms and seeks to identify ways to improve this climate.

Keywords: social stratification; social class and poverty; college attendance; college completion; causal inference; teaching and learning

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Chad Topaz, Co-Founder and President

Chad Topaz, Professor of Mathematics, is an applied mathematician and data scientist at Williams College. Chad received his AB in applied mathematics from Harvard University and his PhD in applied mathematics from Northwestern University. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation since 2006 and his work at the intersection of social justice and quantitative approaches has been covered in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, MIT Technology Review, Nonprofit Quarterly, Smithsonian Magazine and numerous other outlets. Passionate about scientific communication and discourse, Chad has delivered over 160 talks at colleges, universities, and scientific meetings. His research honors include a New Directions Research Professorship at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, the Outstanding Paper Award of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, a Board of Trustees Award from Macalester College, and a Kavli Frontiers Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences. A passionate advocate for inclusive classrooms, Chad won UCLA’s Sorgenfrey Distinguished Teaching Award in Mathematics and Macalester College’s Rossmann Excellence in Teaching Award.

Keywords: data science; applied computational topology; nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation; mathematical modeling; mathematical biology;  educational psychology and learning science; technology; diversity; art

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Timothy Yu

Timothy Yu (AB Harvard University, Ph.D. Stanford University) is Professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A celebrated poet and researcher, he studies race in literature, poetry, and culture. His poems include the collection 100 Chinese Silences, the Editor’s Selection in the 2014 NOS Book Contest, and Journey to the West, winner of the Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize from Kundiman. He also won the Book Award in Literary Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies for Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965. Tim is the editor of the collection Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street Press). His essays and reviews have appeared in Jacket, The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Volta, Meanjin, and on Tim’s current book project, Diasporic Poetics, examines English-language poets of Asian descent working around the Pacific Rim – in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, and Australia.

Keywords:  modern and contemporary American literature; contemporary poetry; Asian American literature and culture; the avant-garde; race in American literature; diaspora

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