Message from the Chair

June 7, 2024
Dorina Mitrea 2024

Greetings, Esteemed Alumni and Friends of the Mathematics Department!

As the summer unfolds, we are delighted to share with you the exciting developments and remarkable achievements that have taken place in the Math Department since the last edition of this newsletter. 

Gratitude for Your Support

Through the generosity of your gifts, we are able to support our students by awarding them scholarships, by funding research projects, and by providing them with unique opportunities for growth. To learn about some of our recent graduates, Victoria Agbeibor, Alea Brummel, Kinley Carlson, Carson Hooker, Chloe Povey-Rowe, and Jessica Rumsey, including their experiences at Baylor, visit here and here.

By virtue of your contributions, this summer we are able for the first time to run a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. With the guidance and mentorship of one of our faculty, Dr. Christoph Fischbacher, the undergraduate students enrolled in this program are given the chance to explore research problems on the topic of Dissipative Differential Operators. 

We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to a very generous endowment from Jim and Lisa Meyerhoff, starting in the Fall of 2024, it will be possible to award our top graduate students the Lance Littlejohn Endowed Scholarship for Graduate Research in Mathematics. This scholarship has been established in honor of Dr. Lance Littlejohn, who served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics from January 2007 to July 2019.  A wholehearted thank you to Jim and Lisa from all of us in the Mathematics Department. We are much indebted for your continuous support!

New Faculty and Leadership in the Department

The Math Department welcomed four new faculty in August 2023: Dr. Antonio Ismael Cano Marmol, as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Josiah Ireland, as a Lecturer, Dr. Marcos Mazari-Armida, as an Assistant Professor, and Dr. Kyunglim Nam, as a Lecturer. To learn more about their stories visit here. The Fall 2023 has also seen some changes in the department’s leadership team. After having served as the Associate Chair for seven years, Dr. Ron Morgan has stepped down from this position and we have welcomed Dr. John Davis as the new Associate Chair, and Dr. Markus Hunziker as the new Undergraduate Program Director. I would like to express once again my sincere appreciation for Ron’s diligent work, selfless dedication, and commitment to the department. Last but not least, we are pleased to welcome Julie Posey in the role of Office Manager in the Math Department. 

Celebrating Academic Excellence in Research and Scholarship

The research conducted by our faculty and graduate students, the collaborative visits and talks given by scholars from other academic institutions at our seminars, colloquia, special events and the conferences organized on the Baylor campus, have all been pivotal in fostering and maintaining a vibrant research environment in the department. Highlights include: 

  • a 2023 George Polya Award, received by Dr. Will Erickson (for more details visit here);
  • securing four new external grants by faculty: two research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded to Dr. Marcos Mazari-Armida and Dr. Rob Kirby; one grant from the Simons Foundation awarded to Dr. Paul Hagelstein; one NSF grant providing funding for future editions of the Brazos Analysis Seminar conference series, awarded to Dr. Tao Mai and Dr. Sheng Yin;
  • the nomination of Dr. Dorina Mitrea as a 2024 Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (for more details visit here);
  • the completion of a five volume research monograph, co-authors including Dr. Dorina Mitrea and Dr. Marius Mitrea (for details visit here);
  • the promotion of Dr. Jeonghun Lee to Associate Professor, effective August 1, 2024;
  • three one-semester research leaves awarded to Dr. Tao Mei, Dr. Ron Morgan, and Dr. Tim Sheng for Fall 2023/Spring 2024;
  • a research conference honoring the career of Dr. Friz Gesztesy (for details visit here); 
  • the Fourteenth Annual Baylor Lecture Series in Mathematics featuring Dr. Carlos Kenig, the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Chicago (for details visit here);  
  • the Fifteenth Annual Baylor Lecture Series in Mathematics featuring Dr. Gigliola Staffilani, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Mathematics at MIT (for details visit here);
  • special Solar Eclipse public lecture featuring Sir Michael Berry, the Melville Wills Professor of Physics at the University of Bristol, UK (for more details visit here); 
  • hosting the Fall 2023 edition of the Brazos Analysis Seminar (for details visit here);
  • hosting the 2024 Texas Differential Equations Conference (for details visit here).

Teaching Excellence: Inspiring Minds and Shaping Futures

By supporting students from a wide range of disciplines through courses that empower them with a strong mathematical foundation, our department plays a central role in Baylor University’s teaching mission. Our faculty take much pride in the fact that they are entrusted with designing courses that support academic and personal development, nurture intellectual growth, and prepare students for successful futures, while fostering a broader appreciation for the power and beauty of mathematics. In their commitment to excellence in teaching, faculty stay informed in the best practices in the field and search for new innovative ways to employ diverse teaching strategies. Our faculty collaborate and network with educators across disciplines to share ideas and concepts in teaching and assessing college students. Highlights in this regard include:

  • the efforts by Dr. Tommy Bryan, Dr. Amy Goodman, and Dr. Ian Grigsby to re-design some of our service courses (including precalculus and calculus); 
  • the work of Dr. Amy Goodman and Dr. Reeve Hunter to create open educational resources aimed at alleviating some of the financial burden imposed by the high cost of textbooks;
  • the promotion of Dana Gwynn to Senior Lecturer, effective August 1, 2024; 
  • the selection of Dr. Josiah Ireland as a Fellow in the 2024 Summer Faculty Institute organized by the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University;
  • the inclusion of Dr. Christoph Fischbacher to the Mathematical Association of America, Texas Section Next Fellows Program.

The dedication of our faculty to continuous improvement ensures that our students receive a top-notch education, paving the way for successful future careers.

Student Success

At the end of this academic year, three of our graduate students have earned PhD’s in math: Adam Kraus, advised by Dr. Brian Simanek, Marcus Laurel, advised by Dr. Marius Mitrea, and Zhen-Chuan Liu, advised by Dr. Tao Mei. For more information see here. In addition, four of our graduate students earned a Master’s degree: Kingsley Michael, Aarthi Raghavan, Maricela Ramirez, and Kyle Rosengartner.

No Spring semester is complete without our traditional end-of-semester luncheon. This year’s edition, which has been abundantly attended, was the perfect venue to recognize some of our top achievers! The undergraduate award recipients were: Benjamin Waldo, winner of the Beth Wilson Award; Alea Brummel and Jess Rumsey, winners of the Outstanding Mathematics Major Award, and Ashlen Bergethon, winner of the Outstanding Mathematics Education Major Award. This year’s Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award recipients were Adam Kraus, Kingsley Michael, and Pedro Takemura. To read more about this visit here.

We are always excited to welcome our very own alumni back home, and this year our students had the privilege to attend the informative presentation of Dr. Brian Streit; for more information regarding this event click here.

Our department’s Möbius Mathematics Society continues to engage in impactful activities, including participating in Baylor’s Homecoming Parade (see here). This year, Baylor’s Mathematics Department in collaboration with Math Education faculty in the School of Education, organized in Dawson residence hall a special event for Pi Day, March 14, 2024, for undergraduate students at Baylor; see more here

Back to the social arena, the Graduate Student Appreciation Week has provided a forum for a lively, memorable sequence of activities (including an ice cream social and math games); a mini-album is here. On the windy afternoon of Sunday, March 24th the Baylor Math Department hosted our 1st Annual Mathematics Family Picnic out at Cameron Park. In spite of uncooperative weather, the picnic was a great success, bringing together about 100 enthusiastic participants (plus family pets!), and has involved everything from bouncing castles to desserts galore. To see some of the happy faces click here. These events have been masterfully choreographed by Julie Posey and Markus Hunziker.

Looking Ahead

Your unwavering support and genuine generosity have played a pivotal role in these successes, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our donors. As we look forward to the upcoming academic year, we are excitedly making plans for new projects and initiatives.  Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt,

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." 

Together we can dream boundlessly as we remain fully committed to Baylor’s mission.


Dorina Mitrea