How to succeed in my classes, research opportunities, and more!
Anything you'd like to talk about?
Come talk to me during my office hours or anytime my door is open! If you'd like to make an appointment, please contact me.
Looking for a recommendation letter?
First, see my policy about which letters I'm able to write.
In general, I am happy to write a letter of recommendation for anyone who has taken a class with me. The purpose of this page is for students to get a feel for the process of asking for one, and to lay out clearly when I will not be willing to write a letter so that no one feels blind-sided.
As a matter of moral principle, I will not write letters of recommendation for programs or jobs involving any of the following:
Policing (including but not limited to predictive policing, development of algorithms that predict recidivism, etc.);
Military applications (such as internships at the Department of Defense or any of its international counterparts);
Weapons manufacturing, broadly construed;
Intelligence gathering (such as internships at the NSA, FBI, or any international counterpart).
I am very happy to discuss this policy with any student who has questions. Conversations about when and how mathematics should be used are lacking in our community, so in fact I encourage questions and discussion! However, this policy is non-negotiable. Therefore, if it's invoked when I am asked to write a letter, know that it is not personal.
The Just Mathematics Collective has compiled a list of resources for students on making ethical career decisions, which is available here.
Finally, my colleagues and I all write many such letters each year. It's a very important part of our job, and we want to do it as well as possible. So, when requesting letters from any of us, please give as much advance notice as possible, ideally something more than one month.
Then, send me the following relevant info:
In order to write a thorough letter or recommendation about you please send me an email (and/or give me a folder) containing:
An unofficial copy of your transcript,
a copy of your personal statement
a copy of your curriculum vitae or resume
all necessary forms, and
Furthermore, at least one month before the first letter is due, e-mail me your answers to the following questions (the more details the better):
What is your name, year (classification), and major?
For what are you applying? (scholarship, graduate school, summer research experience, etc.)
List the programs to which you are applying, together with due dates and submission information.
How long have I known you, and what is my relationship(s) to you? (instructor, advisor, etc.) Have you graded or tutored for me? If so, for what class(es) and when?
For what class(es) have I had you, what final grade(s) did I assign you, and how did you distinguish yourself in my class(es)?
How would you describe yourself? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Your response to this question is very important to me, so the more details the better.
What are some of your academic accomplishments?
What are some of your nonacademic accomplishments?
What makes me particularly qualified to write a letter for you?
What makes you particularly qualified for this position/honor/award?
What are your long term goals and will this position/honor/award help? If so, how?
Additional comments (REU's, summer research, interesting jobs, hobbies, etc.)?
Please send me e-mail reminders as deadlines approach, and feel free to chat with me about other ways you can make the letter writing process go as smoothly as possible for you and your letter writers. Good luck!
Free tutoring for Westminster math, CS, and physics students
Westminster students can sign up for free tutoring in MATH, CS, and PHYS courses through the linked Westminster MATH/CS/PHYS Tutor Center website.
How do I succeed in your course and other math courses?
First, study by focusing on solving problems with what you've learned throughout the semester (not necessarily studying more, though that often helps too). See these study tips for math classes (and beyond)!
For more info, see the following links:
How to Study for MATH & DATA courses (at Westminster and beyond)
How to Survive Your College Math Class (If you're able to "survive", you're able to thrive in math and other STEM fields. Ideally, "survival" (especially in terms of grades) should not be a main goal in math classes, but it often is considered as such. Please come make a mathematical/course plan with me if you feel you're barely "surviving" in my classes or if "survival" seems like a main goal in your math classes. You deserve more than merely "surviving' the classes you're spending thousands of dollars on in college.)
How to Work Smarter by Changing the Way You View Intelligence
Interested in learning more about mathematical research?
To learn about all of the possible opportunities for students at any mathematical level to participate in mathematical research, please come talk to me during my office hours or anytime my door is open!
My most accessible research project for students is probably the "Analysis of Racial and Gender Bias in SLCPD's Use of Force and Street Checks, 2014-2017" project, which uses SLCPD's own data about instances in which they stopped people on the street or used force against civilians in Salt Lake City. So far, this project has found statistically significant evidence of racial bias against Indigenous and Black Salt Lakers in SLCPD's use of force and street checks.
I'm very much interested in formally writing up and publishing the existing work I've done on this project, as well as extending the work to determine whether, in all contacts between the police and the public, there is evidence of people of color being more likely to be the "accused" or "victim" instead of the "accuser", for example. This project could be used by local groups like Black Lives Matter SLC to convince more people, and more police officers, that work is needed to combat racial bias.
Informative links on using math to better the world:
Here is a list of Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs at colleges and universities across the country. These programs allow you to experience how mathematicians do research!
Interested in learning more about graduate programs in the mathematical sciences?
Please come by during my office hours or make an appointment so we can chat!
I am a mentor with the Math Alliance, which connects undergraduates interested in doctoral degrees in the mathematical sciences to mentorship, summer research experiences, graduate schools, and professional opportunities. This program targets people from "ethnic groups, families and/or regions that have had little prior experience with doctoral study in the mathematical sciences". If you're interested in having me as a mentor, please come chat or contact me!
If you are a senior or Master’s student who will be graduating in the spring and will be applying to graduate programs for fall, and if you're a member of one of the underrepresented categories above, you're eligible for Math Alliance mentorship through the grad school application process. Please contact me if you're interested!
If you are a low-income, first-generation Westminster student (neither parent has a bachelor's degree) or a member of a group that is under-represented in graduate education (Native American, Hispanic/Latinx, African American, or Pacific Islander), check out the McNair Scholars Program for scholarship opportunities! Come talk with me for assistance with and tips on the application.