Award Winners & Faculty Highlights
#FacultyFriday highlights the work of Maria Emelianenko
Meet #MasonScience Mathematical Sciences Professor Maria Emelianenko. Emelianenko is an interdisciplinary mathematician who applies mathematical theory to a wide range of problems across the sciences. She directs Mason's Industrial Immersion Program and advises the Women in Mathematics student organization George Mason University. She is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Additionally, Emelianenko researches the interface between mathematics and other areas of science and engineering, such as materials science, chemistry, and biology.
2020 Teaching Excellence Award
Professor Sean Lawton won the university level Teaching Excellence Award by the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning.
The Teaching Excellence Awards are both institutional recognition and a monetary acknowledgment of the significant work that faculty members devote to course planning and preparation; curriculum development; and innovative teaching, advising, and undergraduate and graduate mentoring.
2020 Mentoring Excellence Award
The purpose of the OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award is to recognize and reward outstanding Mason community members who mentor undergraduate students on research and creative activities and who foster a culture of student scholarship.
Research Highlight Covid-19/Spread of Diseases in the Built Environment
One of Harbir Antil's research project has made into the National Science Foundation (NSF) newsletter. This is the first time a project from Computational Math Program at NSF has been chosen for this newsletter.
Researchers simulate air flows to understand, minimize, and suppress the spread of pathogens such as COVID-19.
Harbir Antil is the Director of the Center for Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (CMAI) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, George Mason University. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, AirForce Office of Scientific Research, Department of Navy, and Department of Energy. He has published many articles in leading journals and has given numerous plenary lectures at national and international meetings.
Math faculty engage students from diverse and underrepresented groups virtually on opportunities to pursue graduate studies in mathematical sciences
Members of the math department at George Mason University Drs. Anderson, Emelianenko, Seshaiyer, Warma and I (Sander) attended the Math Alliance’s graduate student fair. The Math Alliance is a group committed to promoting diversity in doctoral studies in the mathematical sciences; GMU math has recently become an institutional member. While some members of our group had previous experiences with the group, I never had. It was a great experience, to meet prospective graduate students from underrepresented minorities from all over the country. The meeting was on Sococo, a platform which looks a bit like a moving map of a conference with little dots for each of the participants. I had a chance to chat in the lobby with a number of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students who were attending the event. It gave students an opportunity to ask questions on graduate admissions and career preparation, and it gave faculty a chance to profile their programs and get their names onto the map. It was quite inspiring to see how many of the highest rated universities in the country were represented at this event. It gives me hope that as a community, we will be able to address the striking underrepresentation in the profession. I look forward to working in a greater capacity with the Math Alliance, by attending the career fair next month, and in future by serving as a mentor, and working with underrepresented students in helping to prepare them for graduate school and careers in mathematics.
Mason professor Rebecca Goldin has been elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society for "contributions to differential geometry and service to the mathematical community, particularly in support of promoting mathematical and statistical thinking to a wide audience." Rebecca is the first GMU math professor to be so honored. Congratulation, Rebecca!
Professor Padmanabhan Seshaiyer (left) traveled to Tanzania as part of the Volunteer Lecturer Program of the International Mathematical Union. He taught mathematical modeling to students and professors, and helped to strengthen STEM infrastructure in Tanzania as well as establish a new research program for M.S. students in the country. He wrote an article on his experience, which can be found in the August 2018 issue of the Notices of the AMS.
Professor Padmanabhan Seshaiyer and SIAM student chapter members Amy Tucker, Samuel Cogar, Ratna Khatri, Cigole Thomas from GMU and other nearby universities promoted mathematics and its applications at the 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival on April 6-8 in Washington, DC. Prof. Sehsaiyer's article on the experience can be found in the May 2018 issue of SIAM News.
Professor Padmanabhan Seshaiyer and other faculty and students from GMU were volunteers for the largest regional MATHCOUNTS event in the nation on Feb. 2, 2019. The competition included 520 mathletes from 58 schools including Fairfax, Northern Virginia and Washington school districts. Winners from the competition will compete at the state level in Richmond.
Jack Love is the outreach coordinator for the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab, where he helps to develop and deliver fun and engaging mathematics activities for local elementary through high school students. He was interviewed by Fairfax County Television (view youtube) before leading a workshop on symmetry at Patrick Henry Library.
Professor Emeritus David Singman receives the rarely-awarded GMU Math baseball cap at the spring 2019 Mathematical Sciences luncheon. The prestigious honor was conferred by Chair David Walnut.
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Ph.D. student Ratna Khatri spent the summer of 2017 at Argonne National Lab as part of the prestigious NSF Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship Program. This summer, she will return to Argonne as a Givens Associate.
Stephanie Mui won a first place award of $2000 from the American Mathamtical Society at the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her research on visualizing geometric surfaces with the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab (MEGL). Her work and a wider discussion of MEGL and similar labs across the country can be found in the October 2018 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Undergraduate MEGL member Marvin Castellon (left) won best poster/presentation at the Spring 2018 GMU COS Undergraduate Research Colloquium. His project team includes undergraduate Seth Lee, graduate student Cigole Thomas, and faculty supervisor Sean Lawton. The project concerns asymptotic properties of families of dynamical systems governed by algebraic structures.
Alathea Jensen is a participant in the GMU Industrial Immersion Program, sponsored by the GMU Provost Office, which funds 4 Ph.D. students per year to spend part of their time in research labs and industry. She has been working on a stochastic enumeration project with advisors Jim Lawrence and Isabel Beichl (NIST) for two years. Alathea has accepted a tenure track position at Susquehanna University starting fall 2018.
Patrick Bishop, graduate student and Math Makerlab member, showed Lanier Middle School students how to design 3D printed mathematical objects in OpenSCAD. Although it was the last week of school, the 7th graders showed great enthusiasm for 3D printing and design.
Marvin Castellon, an undergraduate MEGL participant, has been accepted in the mathematics Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley with the Chancellor's Fellowship. Marvin has been a central member of Sean Lawton's MEGL research team exploring dynamics on algebraic varieties over finite fields since summer 2017. He has written powerful exploratory programs and created important visualizations leading to provocative conjectures and helped direct the search for proofs of those conjectures.
Undergraduate math major Robert Argus spent summer 2018 at the Park City Mathematics Institute in Utah, run by Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. Robert has done research as part of the GMU EXTREEMS-QED program and has participated in several research programs in the last couple of years, including NIST SURF, the UCLA RIPS program, and a Math in Moscow semester.
Ryan Vaughn, Aneesh Malhotra, Orton Babb
Graduate student Ryan Vaughn and undergraduates Aneesh Malhotra and Orton Babb discuss a project on data analysis in the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab (MEGL). They are supervised by faculty member Tyrus Berry.
Marilyn Vazquez is a Ph.D. student in the GMU Industrial Immersion Program and spends one day a week as a guest scholar at NIST in Gaithersburg, MD. She expects to finish her degree this summer and has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with ICERM at Brown University in the fall.
Jiajing Guan received an honorable mention in the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship competition. She is the fourth math major in four years with this recognition, following Lucas Bouck, Harout Boujakjian, and Austin Alderete. Jiajing, a GMU EXTREEMS participant, has been accepted in the prestigious UCLA Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) program to continue research this summer
Lucas Bouck is a 2018 awardee in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program. He has done research on multivariable equation solvers at NIST in Boulder CO, and on fractional PDEs with GMU mentor Harbir Antil. Upon receiving his B.S. degree in spring 2018, Lucas plans to attend the Ph.D. program in applied mathematics at the University of Maryland in the fall.
Congratulations to Micheal Belete for his Outstanding Poster Award at the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings. Micheal presented his work on equilibrium stability in a model for diblock copoloymers mentored by Dr. Sander and Dr. Wanner as part of the EXTREEMS-QED undergraduate research program. The research was part of a team project with Andrew Hornstra.
Orton Babb and Aneesh Malhotra
Congratulations to Orton Babb and Aneesh Malhotra on their Outstanding Poster Award at the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings. Their work on diffusion maps for dimensionality reduction was mentored by Dr. Berry in the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab (MEGL).
Avery Austin, Heath Camphire and Sam Schmidgall
Congratulations to Avery Austin, Heath Camphire and Sam Schmidgall, who took part in the MEGL project "Nonholonomic motion planning for self-driving cars" with Dr. Lukyanenko. Schmidgall's poster presentation on the project won an Outstanding Poster Award at the 2019 Joint Mathematical Meetings in Baltimore.
Orton Babb, Aneesh Malhotra, Yemeen Ayub, Patrick Bishop and Arsah Rahman
Undergraduate and graduate GMU students talking math at the Joint Math Meetings 2019 in Baltimore. Left to right: Orton Babb, Aneesh Malhotra, Yemeen Ayub, Patrick Bishop and Arsah Rahman.
Math major Brendan Gramp at the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore explaining bilevel optimization generalized to infinite dimensions. Brendan was mentored by Dr. Antil as part of the EXTREEMS-QED undergraduate research program.
Julian Benali is a co-recipient of the 2019 Klaus Fischer Award for Academic Achievement in Mathematics. Research mentor Rebecca R.G. presents Julian with the award.
Brendan Gramp (right) is a co-recipient of the 2019 Klaus Fischer Award for Academic Achievement in Mathematics. Research mentor Harbir Antil presents Brendan with the award. Brendan plans to enter the Ph.D. program in applied math at the University of Maryland in the fall.
Savannah Crawford is the winner of the 2019 Genevieve G. Feinstein Award in Cryptography. Anton Lukyanenko presents Savannah with the award.
Zachary Richey is the co-winner of the 2019 Amer Beslagic Award for outstanding performance in mathematics in the first two years. Chair David Walnut presents Zachary with the award.
Deborah Myung is the co-winner of the 2019 Amer Beslagic Award for outstanding performance in mathematics in the first two years. Tyrus Berry presents Deborah with the award.
Yemeen Ayub is the winner of the 2019 Clarke Family Award for Excellence in Analysis, Algebra, or Topology. Graduate coordinator Flavia Colonna presents Yemeen with the award.
Peter Rizzi (left) is the co-winner of the 2019 Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching. Graduate committee memeber Walter Morris presents Peter with the award.
Calvin Stanley (left) is the co-winner of the 2019 Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching. Graduate committee memeber Walter Morris presents Calvin with the award.
Deepanshu Verma (left) is the recipient of the 2019 Achievement in Analysis Award. Graduate mentor Harbir Antil presents Deepanshu with the award.
Brent Gorbutt, Munirah Aljuaid and Thom Ales
Ph.D. students Brent Gorbutt (second from left) and Thom Ales (second from right) receive ceremonial hoods representing conferral of the Ph.D. degree at the spring 2019 Mathematical Sciences luncheon. Munirah Aljuaid (not pictured) also receives the Ph.D. degree this year. Thesis advisors Flavia Colonna, Rebecca Goldin, and Neil Epstein perform the honors.
Jiajing Guan (left) is the recipient of the 2019 Mary Cabell Award. Research mentor Tim Sauer presents Jiajing with the award. Jiajing will use her NSF Graduate Research Fellowhip to attend the Ph.D. program in applied math at the University of Maryland in the fall.
Arsah Rahman and Patrick Bishop
Arsah Rahman and Patrick Bishop captivated a crowd lining up to learn about math at Makerfaire NOVA. Topics included plane tessellations, one-sided surfaces, and the five regular solids, which come in pairs (even though there are an odd number of them).
GMU Ph.D. student John Maxwell (right) at the 2019 SIAM Computational Sciences and Engineering conference in Spokane, WA.