New Faces in the Department of Mathematics
January 29, 2023
You may have noticed some new faces around the Mathematics Department! This fall semester the Department welcomed twelve new research and instructional faculty members, and two more joined in Spring 2023.
Peter Haskell, the Interim Chair, said, "We had a great hiring season last year, and I eagerly look forward to experiencing the many ways in which these new colleagues will make our department better."
The research faculty represent emerging strengths in a broad set of strategic areas, including numerical analysis, scientific computing, mathematical modeling, high-perfomance computing and coding theory, and the instructional faculty brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will be invaluable to our students and community.
The new faculty who started in Fall 2022 have hit the ground running! They have engaged in coordinating undergraduate research fellowships, outreach events, and workshops. Impressively, several new faculty have already drawn recognition from the College of Science and beyond through funding awards.
Learn more about our new faculty members' background and interests in the brief profiles of each below.
Visiting Assistant Professor Vladislav Kokushkin is a recent VT graduate! Dr. Kokushkin graduated in December 2022, advised by Dr. Anderson Norton.
Professor Kokushkin's research objectives are understanding the cognitive challenges experienced by undergraduate students when they are engaged in various proving activities, and determining the ways in which they can successfully navigate these challenges.
I received my doctoral degree at VT in December 2022. I am thankful for the opportunity to stay here and continue working on the Proofs Project with Rachel Arnold and Andy Norton, as well as to teach a variety of undergraduate courses. This should be a terrific experience for me as I begin my faculty career!
Associate Professor Agnieszka Miedlar joins the faculty from the University of Kansas where she was an Associate Professor in Mathematics.
Professor Miedlar conducts research in numerical analysis and scientific computing, with a focus on iterative solvers for large-scale linear systems and eigenvalue problems, and adaptive finite element methods (AFEMs).
The Applied and Computational Mathematics group at the Department is absolutely world class. I wanted to be its member since I was a graduate student and lucky enough to meet Serkan Gugercin, Chris Beattie, Mark Embree and Eric de Sturler early on. My interest in joining the group got even stronger after my research visit at VT in 2018 which was spectacular.
I always knew that VT provides a unique research environment for scientists interested in truly interdisciplinary work, but it became very clear to me that this is indeed the case during my on campus visit when colleagues from Statistics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics came to my interview colloquium presentation and took their time to talk about research. Last but not least, being at the Heart of Appalachia is a pretty good bonus!
Assistant Professor Michael Robert joins the faculty from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Professor Robert's research builds and analyzes mathematical models to study biological phenomena.
Professor Robert's research builds and analyzes mathematical models to study biological phenomena.
I wanted to join VA Tech because the university is home to such a diversity of research expertise that is relevant to my work.
As an interdisciplinary scientist, the potential for new collaborations on campus is very exciting. I already work with a number of people in the department and across campus, and I look forward to building new collaborations.
As an additional perk, my husband has worked here for two years, so now we get to live and work in the same city for the first time in a decade!
Assistant Professor Paul Cazeaux's joins the faculty from the University of Kansas where he was an Assistant Professor in Mathematics.
Professor Cazeaux's research in applied mathematics covers a range of subjects in mathematical modeling, rigorous analysis of partial differential equations and numerical simulations of multiscale phenomena arising from applications in materials science and biology.
I am excited to join the applied and computational mathematics group at VT - I was really impressed by the collegiality and tight-knit atmosphere during my visit.
Virginia Tech will be a great place to grow my research with new collaborations both within and outside the Mathematics department, for example with the strong groups in Quantum Chemistry and Materials Science.
The innovative Computational Modeling and Data Analytics program (CMDA) is also a fantastic opportunity to teach mathematics in a new way, emphasizing quantitative skills that have direct applications in today’s real-life, data-oriented jobs.
Finally, the New River Valley is full of outdoors opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and many other activities in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains which I am ready to explore!
Assistant Professor Johann Rudi joins the department from the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at the Argonne National Laboratory.
Professor Rudi's research is interdisciplinary and spans large-scale parallel iterative methods for nonlinear and linear systems, development and implementation of algorithms for high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, computational aspects of inverse problems, and quantification of uncertainties in the inferred parameters.
Immediately after arriving on campus, Professor Rudi has been busy. He received an award from the Academy of Data Science Discovery Fund (ADSDF) for AY 2022-2023. The award will support his research in mathematically modeling the Earth’s mantle convection, a central geophysical process that controls Earth’s geological evolution and the motion of tectonic plates.
I chose to come to Virginia Tech because of the opportunity to work on interdisciplinary research at the intersection of applied mathematics and high-performance computing and to tackle new problems by connecting with domain experts throughout the university.
Assistant Professor Jason Legrow joins the department from the University of Auckland, where he was a Research Fellow in the Mathematics Department.
Professor LeGrow's research is in the design, analysis, and optimization of isogeny-based cryptographic protocols.
I chose Virginia Tech because I was excited by the research in post-quantum cryptography that is being done in the math department.
Dr. Outrata's research interests include numerical analysis, numerical PDEs and numerical linear algebra with particular focus on Krylow methods, domain decomposition methods and related topics.
I chose to come to VT for couple of reasons. First of them is Prof. Eric de Sturler who I am very lucky to work with and who offered to be my mentor and supervisor.
Second is the numerical research group at Virginia Tech, including Prof. Eric de Sturler, which is at a world-class level on one hand and perfectly complements my research interests on the other - their topics of interest are close to mine but at the same time give me an opportunity to work on problems I have not encountered before.
Last but not least, for my first postdoc position I wanted to have mentors which will help me grow not only as a researcher but also as a teacher, supervisor and a human being - I believe I've found them here.
Dr. Antonides' research concentrates on building psychological models that capture and explain students' mathematical experiences.
I chose to come to Virginia Tech so that I could continue to build my research program under the mentorship of Anderson Norton.
I wanted to take these two years to continue pursuing my existing research, to expand into additional research areas, and to continue thinking deeply about theoretical and conceptual issues related to mathematical thinking and learning.
Andy was an ideal mentor to help me pursue these goals, and I count myself extremely fortunate to benefit from his mentorship and collaboration.
Dr Yan studies partial differential equations (PDEs) that are motivated from the modeling of physical phenomena and real-world problems in general.
Dr. Giuseppe Cotardo joins the department as a recent graduate of the University College Dublin, Ireland.
Dr. Cotardo's research interest is in algebraic coding theory, with a focus on algebra, geometry, combinatorics, and their applications to the invariant theory of codes endowed with the rank metric.
The main reason why I decided to join Virginia Tech for my postdoc was to work together with Professor Matthews, a prominent expert in the applications of algebraic geometry to coding theory and cryptography, and her team (Applied Algebra Research Group - AARG).
My choice was also motivated by the fact that Virginia Tech is an institution highly committed to research and that the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech provides an interdisciplinary environment with experts in different areas of mathematics.
I believe that Virginia Tech is ideal place to broaden my research interests and develop into a well-rounded scientist.
Dr. Weihong Xu studies combinatorial algebraic geometry, especially quantum Schubert calculus and questions concerning generalized flag varieties.
Dr. Paul Jones joins the department from Christ Covenant School in Winterville North Carolina where he was the Head of School.
I chose to come to Virginia Tech because of the people I met during the interview process. I got a strong sense from them that this is a place I could not just come and fit in, but thrive as well. As I was considering my options, Virginia Tech was the clear choice as to where I wanted to be.
Dr. Cvitanov's PhD is in Number theory, specifically Iwasawa Theory. Much of his work is concerned with non-Archimedean linear algebra.