"All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice." 

                                                                                                                                                                        ~Poet Laureate Joy Harjo at MSU's 2020 Celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day


The Department of Mathematical Sciences wishes you a well-deserved Happy New Year!

While this has been an extremely challenging year for all, we would like to update you with some of our 2020 silver linings.


Four of our students earned their PhDs and used online presentations and discussions to conduct their dissertation defenses

Allison Theobold earned her PhD in Statistics this spring.  The title of her dissertation is "Supporting Data-Intensive Research in the Environmental Sciences: Data Science Skills for Scientific Practitioners of Statistics."  

Eric Fink completed his PhD in Mathematics in June.  The title of his dissertation is "Markov Partitions and Sofic Codings for Anosov Diffeomorphisms of Nilmanifolds."

This fall, two students, Kenneth Flagg and Moses Obiri, earned their PhDs in Statistics.  Kenneth's dissertation title is "Bayesian Computing and Sampling Design for Partially-Surveyed Point Processes."  Moses' dissertation is "Space-filling Designs for Mixture/Process Variable Experiments."

We are extremely proud of their academic achievements and wish all of them the best of luck in their future endeavors.


New Faculty

Asst Professor Dr. Blair Davey

Blair Davey

Blair Davey, PhD, joins the mathematics group.  Dr. Davey's research interests are in partial differential equations (PDEs), harmonic analysis, and geometric measure theory (GMT).  She studies the theory of elliptic PDEs through the perspectives of unique continuation, solvability of boundary value problems, and the connections to parabolic theory.  Her work on unique continuation is motivated by Landis' conjecture, which seeks to determine the optimal rate of decay at infinity of entire solutions to Schrödinger equations.  She uses harmonic analysis techniques to understand when systems of generalized Schrödinger equations are uniquely solvable subject to certain boundary conditions.  She relies on probabilistic tools to understand the non-trivial connections between elliptic and parabolic theory.  She also works on GMT, studying purely unrectifiable (fractal) sets, generalized Favard lengths, the Besicovitch projections theorem, and various quantifications of these notions. 
New assistant professor Nicole Carnegie

Shinjini Nandi

Shinjini Nandi, PhD, joins that statistics group.  Nandi is primarily interested in the development of new statistical theory and methodology in the realm of multiple comparisons.  Multiple comparisons is a highly active research area in the broad domain of high-dimensional statistical inference.  Her current research focuses on the development of new methods of multiple comparisons to test complex structures of hypotheses that are frequently obtained from a wide variety of scientific studies, including but not limited to genomics, brain-imaging studies, and astronomical data.  The objective is to identify signals in high-dimensional datasets with greater precision than existing methods, typical metrics of precision being control on false discoveries and power in identifying the true signals.  Dr. Nandi is interested in developing such new multiple comparisons methods using both frequentist and Bayesian techniques.  Her other interests lie in collaborative research projects that apply statistical methods to analyze environmental and ecological data and healthcare data.

Tenure & Promotion to Associate Professor

We are also proud to announce that five faculty members earned tenure in 2020.  They are David Ayala (Mathematics); Mary Alice Carlson (Mathematics Education); Nicole Carnegie (Statistics); Scott McCalla (Mathematics); Megan Wickstrom (Mathematics Education).  We are excited both by the contributions these individuals make to the Mathematical Sciences Department, and the interest and energy they invest in our students.


2020 was an Impressive Year for both our Undergrad and Grad Students


  • Catherine Potts, a doctoral candidate in mathematics, was one of three students in the College of Letters and Science who received the Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowship.  Catherine studies the development of machine learning and data science techniques for biomedical image analysis applications.
  • Moses Obiri, a doctoral candidate in statistics, was awarded the PhD Dissertation Completion Award from MSU's Graduate School, providing him full funding during his final ter.
  • Each year, the Graduate School gives out Excellence Awards, and we are proud that three of our students received an award in 2020.  They are Allison Theobold as the recipient of the Land Grant Excellence Award; Scott Tilton, winner of the Scholarship Excellence Award; and Brynn Okeson, the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award.
  • William Johns, PhD student in mathematics, won first prize at the poster contest during the 2020 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting.
  • Kyle Rutten, an undergraduate student in Mathematics-Teaching, was awarded the Undergraduate Research Scholarship through the Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis.
  • The department also inducted 19 new undergraduate students into the Montana Beta Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon and awarded degrees to a total of 92  students - 53 BS, 33 MS, and four PhD. 


NEW! Dual Enrollment Certificate
We are excited to announce a new fully online graduate certificate program in Mathematics Teaching.  The program is intended for practicing teachers who are interested in becoming certified to teach dual credit courses at their local high schools, or for those interested in slowly re-entering graduate school.  The certificate can be transferred towards partial completion of the MSMME degree or other Master's programs for recipients who wish to continue with graduate school.
Celebratory Side Note
We have graduated our first cohort of students in the new MS in Data Sciences Degree!

From Emeritus Faculty 

Finally, a few updates from our emeritus faculty.  This year, Marty Hamilton and Richard Lund, each a Professor Emeritus of Statistics, have written an e-book, History of the Statistics Program at Montana State University.  You may read it at https://www.montana.edu/hosp/.  This book has been developed over several years and includes data collected about the Statistics Program during its evolution, brief histories of MSU, and the statistics profession, presented in parallel with contemporary changes in MSU's Statistics Program.  Both Dr.s Hamilton and Lund want this book to develop and grow and are asking for input from both students and faculty in reviewing and adding content.  You are welcome to reach out to Dr. Hamilton at marty_h@montana.edu.

Warren Esty, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, was selected to be a Fellow of the American Numismatic Society as a "leading authority on statistics in numismatic process."  Congratulations Dr. Esty! 


Tran Tan teaching a course

We have definitely faced some challenges this year, like everyone globally.  We do hope that you have taken your hurdles in stride.  We have been fortunate to still be able to assist our undergraduate and graduate students.  If you are interested in making a gift to the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the MSU Alumni Foundation maintains charitable funds that benefit the students, faculty, and programs in the department.

The Mathematical Sciences General Scholarship fund enables us to award scholarships to deserving students.  The Kenneth J. Tiahrt fund lets us support the needs of graduate students.  The John W. Hurst Faculty Excellence fund and the Mathematics Education Faculty Enrichment fund support faculty scholarship and research.  Gifts to the Mathematical Sciences General Support fund and the Academic Improvement in Mathematical Sciences fund enable us to support a variety of programs, research, and students in the department.  Visit www.msuaf.org/give-mathematics to make a gift.