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Graduate Alumni Highlights

Our alumni have used their applied math training to go on to do rather noteworthy things. Here are a few of our esteemed alumni.

Jessica R. Taylor (Ph.D. 2019)
Jessica grew up in Modesto, California and completed her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics at UC Merced. Jessica began her graduate studies in Applied Mathematics at UC Merced in Fall 2015, receiving a Master’s degree in 2017 and a PhD degree in 2019. Her research area was nonlinear waves. She developed analytical and computational methods for Schrödinger equations with application to quantum mechanics, including Bose-Einstein condensates and systems with broken Parity-Time symmetry, with her advisor, Prof. Boaz Ilan. Jessica served as President of the UC Merced SIAM Student Chapter in 2016-17. She was awarded the Southern California Edison Fellowship for Spring 2018. Currently, Jessica is a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Physics Division. Her research interests lie at the intersection of applied and computational mathematics and physics.

Mario Banuelos (Ph.D. 2018)
Mario grew up in Delano, California and completed his undergraduate degree at California State University, Fresno. Mario began his PhD in Applied Mathematics at UC Merced in Fall 2013. His research area was in mathematical and computational biology with a special focus on genomic variants. He developed mathematical models to study the distribution of repetitive sequences and developed optimization methods for variant detection. While completing his PhD Mario was first author on 8 publications with other applied mathematics graduate students, Prof. Roummel Marcia, and his advisor Prof. Suzanne Sindi. Immediately after graduating from UC Merced, Mario began a Postdoc at MSRI with the MSRI-UP program and in Fall 2018 he joined his alumni institution, California State University, Fresno, as an Assistant Professor. Mario's time at UC Merced and his commitment to higher education in California's Central Valley were featured in UC Merced News.

Johannes Brust (Ph.D. 2018)
Johannes is from Germany. Prior to his graduate studies at UC Merced, he was a software developer in the financial industry. For his doctoral research, he developed optimization methods for large-scale problems under the supervision of Prof. Roummel Marcia. He spent the summer of 2017 on an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working with Dr. Cosmin Petra. Johannes received the Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship for the Spring, 2018 semester. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory for the Mathematics and Computer Science Division. His research interests are in optimization, numerical linear algebra, and algorithm development.

Vaibhav Gupta (M.S. 2018)
Vaibhav is from India. He received his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur in India in 2008. He received a first Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 2012. He joined UC Merced in August 2016 and completed his Master's degree in December 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Maxime Theillard and Prof. Francois Blanchette. His capstone project was based on computational electrohydrodynamics. He is currently working at Intel Corporation in Folsom, CA as a GPU validation engineer. His research interests lie in high performance computing for data centric applications.

Greg Rainwater (Ph.D. 2017)
Greg Rainwater received his B.S. in Mathematics from California State University, Monterey Bay and his M.S. in Mathematics from Portland State University. With a new found interest in applied mathematics, Greg decided to pursue a Ph.D. at UC Merced. Under the supervision of Prof. Mayya Tokman, Greg developed new time integration methods and algorithms that enable efficient and accurate simulations of large-scale complex computational models. He received the School of Natural Sciences Dean's Distinguished Scholars Fellowship (Spring 2016) and Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship (Spring 2017). The application of his research in numerical weather modeling brought him to the Naval Research Laboratory's Marine Meteorology Division as a postdoctoral researcher.

Lasith Adhikari (Ph.D. 2017)
Lasith is from Sri Lanka. During his Ph.D. studies, he developed novel nonconvex sparse-promoting algorithms with applications to medical imaging, signal/image processing, and computational genomics. Lasith published 19 peer-reviewed manuscripts with his advisor Prof. Roummel Marcia. He was awarded the Graduate Student Opportunity Program Fellowship 2015 and the School of Natural Sciences Dean’s Distinguished Scholars Fellowship 2017. He took a postdoctoral research associate position in the Department of Medicine, University of Florida. after graduating.  He is currently a Research Scientist at Philips Research North America in Cambridge, MA.  

Jane Lee (Ph.D. 2015)
Jane was born in Seoul, Korea. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and applied mathematics and a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 2008, she came to US to study at the University of California, Merced for her Ph.D. in applied mathematics under supervision of Prof. Mayya Tokman. Jane finished her Ph.D. in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor of mathematics at Stonehill College, Easton, MA.

Elizabeth Owens (M.S. 2015)
Elizabeth is from Visalia, CA and entered UC Merced's Applied Mathematics program to pursue a Master's degree. Elizabeth completed a Master's thesis with Prof. Suzanne Sindi where she developed mathematical models of evolutionary biology. She has a strong commitment to education and while UC Merced decided she wanted to pursue a career in academia. After finishing her Master's degree she joined the mathematics faculty at Las Positas College where we are confident she is continuing to inspire future scholars.

John Loffeld (Ph.D. 2013)
John graduated with a Ph.D. from the applied mathematics department at UC Merced in 2013 (Advisor: Prof. Mayya Tokman).  From 2013 to 2015 he was a postdoc at the Center for Applied Scientific Computing (CASC) at Lawrence Livermore National Lab.  Since then he has been a member of technical staff in CASC.  He currently works on time integration and neutron transport.

Derya Sahin (Ph.D. 2013)
Derya graduated with a Ph.D. from the applied mathematics department at UC Merced in 2013 (Advisor: Prof. Boaz Ilan).  In 2015 she was a ORISE  (Oak Ridge  Institute for Science and Education) postdoctoral  research fellow at National Exposure Research Laboratory.  Since 2017 she has been a Senior Associate Analytical Consultant at SAS Institute.

Daniel Thompson (M.S. 2011)
Daniel received his B.A. from Willamette University in Mathematics and his M.S. in Applied Mathematics from UC Merced under the supervision of Prof. Roummel Marcia.  As a graduate student, Daniel published three peer-reviewed IEEE conference papers on sparse signal recovery algorithms for image reconstruction.  After graduating, he worked as a systems engineer and imaging scientist with Boeing and the AMOS observatory in Maui, Hawaii.  His work covered research topics in image processing, algorithm development, and analysis of large data sets, and his responsibilities included project development, research, software development, analysis of imagery, and system and software maintenance.  He is currently working as a modeling and simulation engineer for Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

David Hambley (M.S. 2009)
David is a long time Merced resident who joined the Applied Math Graduate program when it first opened in 2006. He lived through the tribulations of our first years and graduated with a Masters degree (advisor: Prof. Francois Blanchette). Since then, he has been a lecturer at UC Merced, where he acts as the coordinator for Math 5, the largest class on campus. His works reaches over a thousand student every year! You can find him on campus in the Academic Office Annex, Room 174.

Paul Tranquilli (B.S. 2009, M.S. 2011)
Paul was part of the first class to attend UC Merced. He joined our major in 2005 and graduated 4 years later. Paul stayed to get a Masters with Prof. Mayya Tokman, before moving to Virginia Tech for his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences, which he obtained under the supervision of Prof. Sandu in 2014. After working as a post-doctoral researcher with Prof. Barton in the Process Systems Engineering Laboratory at MIT, Paul joined Center for Advanced Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National lab.