The Department of Mathematics is pleased to welcome four outstanding new faculty members this year.
A new Assistant Professor, Filiz Dogru comes to Grand Valley after earning an undergraduate degree at Ankara University in Turkey and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests are in hyperbolic geometry and dynamical systems. In particular, she is working to understand the trajectories followed by billiard balls in the hyperbolic plane. When asked what drew her to Grand Valley, Filiz says, “When I was in grad school, I always mentioned to my friends that I wanted to work in a friendly, but not small, department with an excellent teaching reputation. I also wanted to have the opportunity and support from the department to grow in mathematics. At that time, my friends told me it was a dream, but I believe I found that mathematics department at GVSU. I am extremely happy to be here. When I first came to the USA, I knew only two words of the language: yes and no. Today I am proud of myself to be part of such a great department at GVSU. I love what I am doing.”
This year, Karen Heidenreich joined the Department of Mathematics as an Assistant Professor after working here for three years in a post-doctoral Visiting Assistant Professorship. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and her Ph.D. from Notre Dame, Karen came to Grand Valley to “experience teaching at a school that emphasizes undergraduate education.” Karen’s research interests lie within the field of algebra and focus on a study of the highest weight representations of infinite dimensional Lie algebras. During her time at Grand Valley, Karen has served as an active advisor to the Math and Stats Club.
This is Nathan Wodarz’ first year of a three-year post-doctoral Visiting Assistant Professorship. The aim of this position is to give mentoring and teaching experience to recent Ph.D.’s who have a strong interest in teaching but may not have worked in a rich teaching environment as a graduate student. Nathan comes to us after earning both his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. His scholarly interests are in homotopy theory, a branch of algebraic topology. Of his interest in Grand Valley, Nathan says, “I really liked the concept of a school that didn’t shortchange either teaching or research. I felt uncomfortable teaching last year at a school that put a large emphasis on research. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to go to a school which expected me to teach to the detriment of research either. Grand Valley offered a nice medium.”
Paul Yu, a new Assistant Professor, comes to the Department of Mathematics from Illinois State University, where he is expecting to complete his Ph.D. in the coming year. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Paul’s scholarly interests lie in mathematics education, especially semiotic applications to learning theory. In addition, he is interested in dynamic geometry software and curricula at the K-12 levels. Finally, he is intrigued by the relationship he sees between mathematics and art. Paul was attracted to Grand Valley for its “commitment to teaching with strong support for research and service.” Not finding his first-year faculty position stressful enough, Paul and his wife recently welcomed a new child over spring break.