Andreas Malmendier: Faculty Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year
Andreas Malmendier joined USU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor in 2014. Since his arrival, Andreas is proud to have mentored numerous undergraduate students with majors in math, physics, and engineering. Under his supervision, Andreas’ students have earned impressive accolades for their research, including: two Goldwater Scholarships, two Cryptoanalysis Summer Internships with the National Security Agency, one USU Capstone Thesis of the Year Award, one College of Science valedictorian, one USU Scholar of the Year Award and four USU research grants. In addition to these awards, Andreas’ students have presented at 15 national conferences and departmental colloquia and have published or submitted three articles for peer-reviewed research publication.
Andreas holds a PhD in Mathematics (MIT) and a Masters in Theoretical Physics (University of Bonn). Using his interdisciplinary background, Andreas is able to connect with undergraduate students from different scientific backgrounds and introduce them to the beauty and rigor of pure mathematics research. A committed advocate for broadening participation in STEM, Andreas is proud that 50 percent of his students are gender minorities in STEM. He was awarded the USU Distinguished Capstone Mentor Award in 2018 and is the two-time winner of the Undergraduate Mentor of the Year Award from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Brynja Kohler: Faculty Graduate Mentor of the Year
Dr. Brynja Kohler has been working with teachers at USU for 15 years. She joined the university as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, having just completed her PhD in mathematical biology at the University of Utah, and with four years of experience teaching high school.
With her first master’s student and collaborators, Dr. Kohler published an award-winning educational paper in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. This effort, along with other achievements, earned her promotion to associate professor, and she now directs mathematics education programs and outreach for the department. She works closely with regional secondary teachers, manages pre-service teacher education in our department, and leads the Master of Mathematics (MMath) professional graduate program, which provides access to advanced pedagogical, mathematical and statistical training to pre- and in-service educators in the Intermountain Region.
Dr. Kohler currently conducts federally funded research in curriculum development for secondary teachers and models bumble bee foraging behaviors in agricultural landscapes. Dr. Kohler’s numerous graduate mentees working as secondary and post-secondary educators continue to put research-based pedagogy into practice and inspire students to engage in authentic mathematical modeling activities.
KimberLeigh Hadfield: Faculty Teacher of the Year
Many students who arrive in Mathematics and Statistics Lecturer KimberLeigh Hadfield’s classes think “I can’t do math.” They complete her classes with a new appreciation for the discipline, along with solid quantitative skills and confidence in their ability to continue to pursue and succeed in mathematics and statistics study.
Hadfield’s students and colleagues praise her classroom enthusiasm and skill in implementing a variety of active-learning techniques with real-life data that instill interest and understanding, while encouraging students to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Says one student, “Ms. Hadfield has the ability to inspire students to overcome self-defeating ideas about mathematics.” Adds another, “In a class of 300 students, Ms. Hadfield makes you feel as though you’re her only student. When I enrolled in her class, I thought I was a lost cause. She not only showed me I can ‘do math’; she showed me I can ‘do life.’”
Zhi-Qiang Wang: Faculty Researcher of the Year
A professor in USU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Zhi-Qiang’s research ranges from abstract theory in nonlinear functional analysis to applied analysis and computational mathematics, providing new tools and techniques for tackling challenge questions in partial differential equations from classical and emerging fields of applied science. He has published 190 papers and was named to the Highly Cited Researcher List for 2018 and 2019 by the Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science Group). Zhi-Qiang was elected a Fellow of American Mathematical Society in 2015.
Zhi-Qiang’s research has been supported by several National Science Foundation programs, including Analysis, Applied Mathematics, Computational Mathematics, and International, as well as number of agencies around globe, including NATO-CRG, NATO-CLG, Simons, NSF of China, DAAD and DFG of Germany. A member of USU’s faculty science 1991, this is the second time Zhi-Qiang has earned the honor of Faculty Researcher of the Year for the College of Science.
Zhi-Qiang graduated from Jilin University Chinain 198 2and received his PhD degree from the Chinese Academy of Science in 1986. Prior to joining USU, he completed post-doctoral training at Peking University and New York University, and held visiting positions at the University of Utah and the University of Wisconsin.
Greg Hoffmann: Dean's Scholar
Greg is a Statistics, Actuarial Science emphasis, major, with a minor in Quantitative Finance. He graduated from Syracuse High School near his hometown of Clinton, Utah, in May 2014.
Greg received USU’s Presidential Scholarship and was on the College of Science Dean’s List. Throughout his undergraduate career, he worked in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as a grader, a tutor and a recitation leader.
While studying at USU, Greg enjoyed participating in student organizations and events, including the USU Symphonic Band, Days for Girls, and Poetry and a Beverage “PoBev”.
After deciding on the Actuarial Science emphasis as a freshman, Greg passed the Society of Actuaries’ Exam P in May 2019. Following graduation, Greg will work in Denver, CO, as an actuarial intern and continue pursuing the ASA designation from the Society of Actuaries.
Jesse Wheeler: College of Science Valedictorian
Roosevelt, Utah, native Jesse Wheeler, a dual mathematics and statistics major, is the College of Science’s 2020 Valedictorian. His faculty escort at commencement ceremonies will be Dr. Brennan Bean, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
A 2014 graduate of Roosevelt’s Union High School, Wheeler entered USU on an academic scholarship and is the recipient of a USU Seely-Hinckley Scholarship, as well as scholarships from the Mathematics and Statistics Department.
With Mathematics and Statistics faculty mentors Bean and Kevin Moon, Wheeler has been involved in a number of research projects. One of these, for which he received an URCO grant, involves creating a method for estimating Snow Water Equivalence (SWE). Such estimates, used for estimating the weight of snow, are important to structural engineers and hydrologists.
Findings from this project are an integral part of another project Wheeler and Bean, along with other students, are pursuing, called the National Snow Load Project. Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Historical Climatology Network Daily stations throughout the United States, the team is developing a snow load map that provides uniformity, while incorporating the unique requirements of each location into the map. This tool will help to ensure safety in residential, commercial and public building construction across the nation.
Jesse serves as president of the USU Data Sciences Club, which he counts as one of his favorite campus activities, along with attending USU sporting events. He graduates with his wife, Haylee Braunersrither Wheeler, who has earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics education. Following graduation, Jesse plans to pursue doctoral studies.
Kelvyn Bladen: Dean's Scholar
A Cache Valley native from Hyrum, Utah, Kelvyn Bladen is a Math and Statistics Composite major with a minor in Finance.
Since graduating as a Valedictorian from Mountain Crest High School in 2014, Kelvyn has continued to achieve notable scholastic accolades. He is a recipient of the USU Presidential Scholarship, the Utah Regent’s Scholarship, and the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship. He’s on the Dean’s List and is a two-time recipient of the Utah State A-pin award.
Kelvyn has actively pursued business opportunities for using statistics. As an intern for the Utah Department of Transportation, he’s explored effective models for statewide vehicle collisions. He has applied similar algorithms in different statistics programs for Goldman Sachs, where he interned last summer. He plans to expand on his professional education this summer by providing credit risk analysis for Zions Bancorporation.
Kelvyn served as secretary of the Data Science Club, where he provided introductory training for using various statistical programs. He has also been involved in the Finance Club, Investing Club, and the Honors Program.
Following graduation, Kelvyn will pursue a Master of Science in Statistics at Utah State University.
Tyler Bowles: Graduate Student Teacher of the Year
A native of northern Utah, Tyler Bowles is an MS mathematics student at USU. Since graduating from high school, teaching has been Tyler’s primary career goal and it shows in his passion for teaching, leading recitations, preparing for classes, developing lesson plans and contributing to efforts to improve mathematics instruction at Utah State.
As a graduate teaching assistant, Tyler has instructed Calculus I and Linear Algebra, led recitations for various math courses, developed and presented “Introduction to LaTeX” seminars, and served as a member of the Mathematics and Statistics Graduate Professional Development Committee. He received a 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award and is the recipient of a number of other academic accolades and scholarships.
Tyler earned a triple bachelor’s degree, in mathematics, computer science and statistics, from USU in 2018. His current graduate research, conducted with faculty advisor Dariusz Wilczyński, is in modern algebra, where Tyler works to identify universal localizations of noncommutative rings. This work has applications not only within algebra, but also in topology, geometry, and related subjects.
Following completion of his master’s degree, Tyler plans to pursue a PhD in pure mathematics, emphasizing in algebraic topology or algebraic geometry, with a final goal of a career in academia. Beyond campus, he is an avid record collector and music aficionado. Tyler enjoys dinner with friends, video games, playing the piano, rock climbing and yoga.