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Graduate Student Profile

Aug. 26, 2009

Andrea Bruder graduated with a Ph.D. in May. She now has a position at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

Andrea Bruder

I spent much of the first year of my life in a chemistry lab, as my mother was finishing her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. Being raised by two chemists, I grew up around science, and mathematics was always my favorite class in school, closely followed by physics. After my junior year in high school (the German Gymnasium), I spent a year in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as a foreign exchange student. I decided to take an AP Calculus class, and spent many afternoons going through the proofs of the theorems I had learned in class.

After completing the coursework for a medical degree, I found my way back to mathematics and received a master's degree (Diplom) from the Technical University of Munich in 2004. The lectures that I enjoyed most were the ones in analysis taught by Professor Rupert Lasser. He taught us for seven consecutive semesters, starting with convergence of sequences and series via measure theory and functional analysis through spectral theory. I am very thankful for this solid and consistent education in analysis.

Early on during my time in Munich I met my thesis advisor Dr. Andreas Ruffing. He gave me the opportunity to write my master's thesis on completeness of q-Fourier systems at Arizona State University. A dedicated teacher and mentor, he took a group of students under his wings, encouraged us to do research early in our careers, took us to conferences, and organized seminars for us. It was during one of his seminars in Slovenia that I first met my current academic advisor, Dr. Lance Littlejohn. I had just taken Prof. Lasser's spectral theory course, and Dr. Littlejohn's lectures on left-definite spectral analysis really caught my attention - the subject hasn't let go of me since. I wanted to learn more, and started working on my Ph. D. with Dr. Littlejohn at Utah State University in 2005.

In 2007, Dr. Littlejohn became the new chair of the mathematics department at Baylor, and I transferred to Baylor to continue studying with him. My dissertation is on the Jacobi polynomials for negative integer parameters, their Sobolev orthogonality and self-adjoint operators. I use left-definite theory as well as techniques from functional analysis and operator theory in my research. Currently, I am exploring an application in mathematical physics, and in particular in quantum mechanics.

My advisors and mentors have inspired my research and my teaching: it's their enthusiasm and their passion for their field that makes things come across, and I strive to pass this on to my students. I hope to be a mentor who makes a difference myself some day. I have taught analysis courses in Munich, calculus at Utah State and precalculus classes at Baylor.

In my spare time, I started rock climbing at Baylor, and I have become quite passionate about it. I love to climb outside, but do most of my climbing at the Baylor rock wall. I tell my students to check at the Rock when they can't find me at my office. What I enjoy most about climbing is the very thing that I enjoy most about mathematics: the challenge, and succeeding after hard work.