Congratulations to our 2021 PhD graduates, Tavish Dunn, Ian Grigsby, Alexandra Pasi, Taylor Poe, and Jack Rebrovich. Continue reading to hear more 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.

I first heard of Baylor while at California Lutheran University. I had been interested in math for a long time, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it. After being exposed to interesting math questions, I decided pursuing a PhD would allow me the opportunity to dive deeper into mathematics and tackle open problems.

After I applied to Baylor, I received a call from Dr. Sepanski, in which he told me about the program and offered me the chance to visit the campus. I saw a strong sense of community in which the faculty looked out for the well-being of the students, and the graduate students helped each other, whether in class, in teaching, or just hanging out. I knew this was a collaborative environment in which I would thrive and decided to come to Baylor.

Over the past few years, I have done research with Dr. Ryden in generalized inverse limits, focusing on inverse limits of set-valued bonding functions with an appropriate notion of the intermediate value property. This allows us to capture some of the structure of classical inverse limits, which use continuous bonding functions to “glue” different spaces together to make exotic spaces, and to construct a bridge between continuum theory and dynamical systems. Dr. Ryden’s attention to detail and supportiveness have been invaluable for my growth as a researcher.

While I had no experience teaching prior to graduate school, the support of my advisors and colleagues helped me see what an exciting experience it was. I taught many first-year courses and worked with students who were adjusting to the pace of college life, some of which would describe themselves to me as “not a math person”. Working with them and watching them grow and start to see mathematics as a subject they can understand has been a consistent joy in my time teaching.

After graduation, I will be starting as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Oxford College of Emory University. I am blessed to have been at Baylor for graduate school. Sic ‘Em Bears!

I first heard of Baylor from my mathematics professor at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Gail Hartsock (a Baylor alum herself!). Having never set foot in Texas, I was unsure of what to make of her idea that I apply for the mathematics graduate program here. On faith in her judgement alone, I did so. It turned out to be a life-changing decision.

Here at Baylor University, I have had the opportunity to grow in mathematics beyond my wildest dreams. Coming from a smaller institution where I was very much focused on my pitching statistics, I knew that I would need to put in the work to be successful here. Professors such as Dr. Markus Hunziker, Dr. William Brian (a postdoc at the time, now an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte), and Dr. John Davis all put my fears aside with their expert instruction, as all three were always open for my questions.

Ultimately topological dynamics has called my name. I have been doing research with Dr. Jonathan Meddaugh for the last couple of years. We work on the shadowing property on Fréchet spaces, which are generalizations of Banach spaces. The presence of this property allows us to know that approximate orbits of a system (think of numerically computed orbits with rounding errors at each step) are uniformly traced by a true orbit of the system.

While at Baylor, I have had the privilege of teaching many first-year undergraduate courses, such as Business Precalculus and Calculus 1. This is where I have found my true passion: changing minds on the subject of mathematics. The ultimate job satisfaction to me comes from a student entering the classroom on the first day professing that “they are not a math person,” only to have them walk out of the final with a new perspective on mathematics, knowing that while it may not be easy, it is a concept that they can grasp.

Despite all of the above, I would not have had the complete experience at Baylor if I had not spent time outside of my studies in the community. I have had the pleasure of serving as the AMS Graduate Chapter President for two years, been involved in the Graduate Student Association, and have taken up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my time in Waco. Most importantly, I met my wife while in Waco. Although she is a Texas Tech graduate, I even convinced her to hold the ceremony on campus!