Congratulations to our 2023 PhD and MS graduates!
Congratulations to our 2023 PhD graduates, Cordell Hammon, Joel Henningsen, Jorge Marchena-Menendez, Jasmin Mohn and our MS graduate Alan Lang. Several of this year's graduates share about their time at Baylor and their plans for the future. You may click on any of the names below to jump to the new graduate of your choice.
In August 2018 I moved to Waco and started calling Baylor “home”. I was pursuing a PhD in Mathematics because (a) I had always been pretty good at math and (b) I didn’t know what else to do. I came to Baylor because of a simple cost-benefit analysis: Baylor’s stipend was higher than any other place that accepted me and Waco’s cost of living was lower than any place that accepted me. The choice was clear.
That choice ended up being a great one. The community at Baylor is second to none. The faculty are incredibly supportive and the graduate students foster a collaborative atmosphere – in which I can more easily thrive – rather than a competitive one – in which I would shrivel away.
Coming to Baylor, I knew only one thing: “I don’t want to do research in Topology. It’s lame”. Fast-forward five years and I ended up doing my dissertation under Dr. Jonathan Meddaugh, a Topologist, on the subject of non-homeomorphic inverse limit spaces of a certain class of dynamical systems. Specifically, distinguishing between various inverse limits of Hubbard trees by counting the endpoints and branch points of these infinite dimensional spaces. I still think Topology is kind of lame, but in an endearing way.
One of the things for which I am most grateful is the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses. I loved getting to watch the kids grow in their understanding and I relished the chance to be performative and energetic in the classroom. Along the way I was lucky enough to receive an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award which I hold dear.
After I leave, I will start a position at Capital One as a Business Analyst and I look forward to the next chapter of my life. I am blessed to have spent a significant chunk of my life (19.2%!) surrounded by these people at this place I am happy to call home.
Joel's advisor is Ronald Morgan.
My journey to Baylor was not an easy one. I was born in Havana, Cuba, and I had always been interested in mathematics and computer science. Close to my graduation date from the University of Havana, I realized that my passion lay in Applied Mathematics. During this time, I heard of Baylor University, thanks to Dr. Andrei Martinez-Finkelshtein, who spoke highly of the mathematics graduate program at Baylor and encouraged me to apply. As someone who had never been to the United States, I was worried about what my path would entail, but his support, along with Dr. Mark Sepanski and the ISSS, made my journey possible.
Unfortunately, I was unable to visit the campus beforehand, and making my way to Baylor was quite a ride. But once I arrived, I knew I had made the right decision. The supportive and nurturing community was present in every aspect of campus life and made me feel like I found a new home.
At Baylor, I continued my research in Applied Mathematics under the advisory of Dr. Robert Kirby. During these four years, I incorporated new knowledge and started getting my hands on Machine Learning, a topic that fully captured my heart. My work focused on improving Finite Element Methods packages to solve certain constraints and limitations from some of the currently available frameworks, specifically Firedrake, exploiting the capabilities of ML to boost these further. It was challenging but rewarding work, and I was proud to have accepted a full-time position as a Machine Learning Scientist in healthcare.
Looking back on my time at Baylor, I am grateful for the opportunities I had and the support I received. It was a journey that started in Havana and led me to a fulfilling career, all thanks to the recommendation and support of Dr. Martinez-Finkelshtein and the supportive community at Baylor University.
I began my college career at Belmont University as a biology major. Throughout college I was on the medical school track and ended up taking Calculus I through III. This is where my path started changing. My professor for my Calculus III class was unlike any other math professor or teacher I had known. His enthusiasm for math encouraged me to explore math even further and led me to register for his Abstract Algebra course. This course sparked my interest and led to my professor encouraging me to explore graduate school for math.
As I was still newly introduced to the math world, I applied to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) for their master’s program in math. While at MTSU I found my passion for math, specifically teaching mathematics at the college level. When the time came to look for PhD graduate schools, I focused on schools at which I could teach during my time there. When one of my friends mentioned Baylor to me, I looked into Baylor and found it was exactly what I was looking for in a school and applied. After being accepted, my campus visit sealed the deal as the community I saw during my visit was exceptional.
During my time here at Baylor, I have been doing research with Dr. Brian Raines. Our work primarily has been on different types of chaos, distributional chaos and '?'-chaos. Specifically, we investigated the conditions necessary for the Baire Space to exhibit distributional chaos and the conditions necessary for a Lindelöf space to exhibit '?'-chaos.
I value the opportunities I have had at Baylor to grow my teaching abilities. I had the opportunity to teach a variety of classes and complete the TeaCHE program. Throughout my time here, I was also able to attend several Seminars for Excellence in Teaching.
After graduation, I will be starting at the United States Military Academy West Point as an Assistant Professor. Thank you to the graduate students and faculty in the Math Department for your support and encouragement throughout my time here at Baylor. Sic ‘Em Bears!
Alan has secured employment with a construction company in the Oil & Gas industry