Faculty and Staff Updates

See what's new with the Carleton College Mathematics Faculty and Staff.

Laura Chihara

Laura ChiharaLaura Chihara has been on the Carleton faculty since 2000. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. Prior to Carleton, she worked at another small liberal arts college in Northfield as well as at a software company in Seattle. Laura has been busy strengthening the statistics program at Carleton as well as developing connections with outside organizations to provide statistical projects for students.  She has supervised teams of students working on problems from Faribault Woolen Mills, Northwest Airlines, Target Corporation, CMS Direct and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  She has recently completed a textbook "Mathematical Statistics with Resampling and R" with co-author Tim Hesterberg.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, biking, hiking and trying to move beyond Noble in Civilization IV. She also is on the board of Glacier Park Foundation, a non-profit group devoted to the public's interest in Glacier National Park in Montana.

Bob Dobrow

Bob DobrowBob Dobrow is marking his 13th year at Carleton and is part of the probability and statistics program. His math interests are in Markov chains and stochastic processes. In the last few years he has supervised comps groups that studied the birthday problem in probability, worked with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources modeling the otter population in southern Minnesota, and studied what group theory says about how many shuffles it takes to mix up a deck of cards. Bob is married and has three boys. Favorite activities include martial arts, cooking, music, travel, playing cards and home brewing beer. He recently completed a textbook "Probability with Applications and R," and is working on a new book "Markov Chains and Stochastic Processes." He directs the Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu karate school  and instructs the Carleton Karate Club.

Eric Egge

Eric EggeEric Egge graduated from Carleton in 1994, and returned to join the faculty in 2005. His research interests are in algebra and combinatorics, and he has published papers on the Terwilliger algebra, pattern-avoiding permutations, Legendre-Stirling numbers, Jacobi-Stirling numbers, and symmetric functions. Eric has a particular interest in mentoring undergraduate research, and he has worked with students on projects involving pattern-avoiding permutations, Legendre-Stirling numbers, Jacobi-Stirling numbers, alternating sign matrices, harmonic functions on Young's lattice, and the Pfaffian transform of a sequence.  Most recently, Eric and four of his students introduced a new family of Catalan objects, which they call snow leopard ermutations. In his spare time Eric enjoys running, baking, photography, and playing board and card games with his family.

Jack Goldfeather

Jack GoldfeatherJack Goldfeather is the William H. Laird Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science, and the Liberal Arts.  He has been in the department since 1977 when he was the youngest member of the department and now has several department colleagues who weren't born when he arrived at Carleton. Over the years, he has done research in algebraic topology, chip design for rapid graphics display, tracking in virtual reality systems, and most recently in analyzing and visualizing vortex behavior in turbulent fluid flow.  Inexplicably, he became a golf fanatic about 20 years ago and plays as much as possible during Minnesota's short golf season. His wife Christie is a high school art teacher, so together they have a total of one well-developed left brain and one well-developed right one.  Their daughter Sarah is a musician living in New York City.

Deanna Haunsperger

Deanna HaunspergerDeanna Haunsperger started at Carleton in 1994, and is now a Professor of Mathematics. She took a specific interest over the past few years in developing a Calculus with Problem Solving course for under-prepared students starting the Calculus sequence and a Methods of Teaching Mathematics course for students considering teaching math in a secondary school after graduation. She enjoys staying busy professionally, and has, over the years, been an Editor of Math Horizons, served as the Second Vice President of the Mathematical Association of America, and co-directed, since 1995, the Carleton College Summer Mathematics Program for women, a program designed to encourage women to earn advanced degrees in mathematics.  She and Steve Kennedy have two children:  Sam and Maggie.

Rafe Jones

Rafe JonesRafe Jones joined the Carleton faculty in the fall of 2012, and nearly simultaneously welcomed a daughter into the world. He comes to Carleton after spending four years teaching at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and before that three years as a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When not teaching or trying vainly to catch up on sleep, he likes to think about the intersection of number theory and dynamical systems. Recent projects include computing Galois groups of iterated maps in a number of different settings, and using iteration to produce polynomials that are irreducible but become reducible modulo every prime. His equally sleep-deprived wife, Michelle, is a Spanish professor.

Steve Kennedy

Stephen KennedySteve Kennedy is currently Professor of Mathematics.  He hopes to complete his book on the life, work and impact of the American mathematician R.L. Moore, in particular his effect on mathematics education, during that sabbatical.  He remains interested in dynamical systems, geometry and the history of mathematics. Most of his recent comps research projects have been concerned with problems in geometry and the use of computer software to frame and solve new kinds of problems.  This term he is reading Euler's amazing Introduction to the Analysis of the Infinite with a senior math major.  His children, Sam and Maggie, are in eleventh and eighth grades, respectively, and looking forward to college and high school.

Gail Nelson

Gail Nelson

Gail Nelson has been a part of the Mathematics Department since 1988.  Since joining the department she has taught a wide range of courses, including Topology, Abstract Algebra, Partial Differential Equations, and Set Theory, although her first love continues to be Real Analysis.  On her last sabbatical she turned her notes from our Real Analysis 2 course into a draft of a textbook and is planning to complete that project on her next leave.  She is the co-author of a book, "Recurrence and Topology" (with John Alongi). Outside of her mathematical life, Gail continues to spend a lot of time playing her violin. For several years she has spent a week each summer at the Adult Chamber Music Camp at Interlochen, MI.  And for those who know Gail, she is still hoping to learn everything about the Cantor Set, and welcomes any insights you may have.

Sam Patterson

Sam PattersonSam Patterson is in his 26nd year at Carleton.  His research areas are Dynamical Systems and applications to mathematical biology.  Sam is also working with Carleton students on a translation of the first book on calculus:  l'Analyse des Infiniment Petits pour l'Intelligence des Lignes Courbes written by the Marquis de l'Hôpital in 1696.  Sam enjoys teaching all of the courses offered in our department, especially those relating to applied mathematics and mathematical physics.  Next year he is mentoring a comps group studying spontaneous emergence of synchrony among weakly coupled biological oscillators.  When not doing mathematics, Sam loves to cook, canoe the north country, and forage for wild mushrooms.

Katie St. Clair

Katie St. ClairKatie is a native Minnesotan who received her Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Minnesota in 2004.  She has been teaching at Carleton since 2007 and is excited that the department now offers a mathematics/statistics major.  Her research interests are in Bayesian methods for finite populations and link-tracing sampling designs and she has worked on research projects with scientists from the MN DNR and the USGS. She has supervised a senior comps projects that modeled ozone levels collected by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, developed demand forecasting models for 3M, and constructed a Bayesian model to estimate moose abundance with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Outside of Carleton, Katie likes to forge her own cross-country ski trails and attempts to garden during the few snowless months of the year. She is on maternity leave during the 2012 fall term after she and her husband welcomed their first son Henry into the world at the end of May. 

Helen Wong

Helen Wong

Helen joined the faculty at Carleton in 2009.  Her research interests are in quantum topology and hyperbolic geometry.  In particular, she studies how knots in thickened surfaces can encode geometric information about the surface.  She is also interested in the applications to topology to other sciences and recently published a paper on DNA topology with a former comps group.  Helen returned to Carleton in Spring 2014 after an extended sabbatical/maternity leave and is very much enjoying teaching again.  Unfortunately, her daughter Grace now dictates her sleep schedule, so late nights in the CMC are no longer the norm.  She is also a renewed fan of the Cookie monster.  

Former Faculty and Staff

Dave Appleyard

Dave Appleyard graduated from Carleton, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and, beginning in 1966, taught at Carleton for 41 years, the longest he ever held a job. He taught over 4400 wonderful students in 19 different math courses and four different computer science courses.  He was Carleton's dean of students for six years, president of its faculty for three, and department chair for five; he twice delivered Carleton's annual Honors Convocation address. He received a Mathematical Association of America Award (MAA) for Distinguished College or University Teaching in 2006. Dave and his wife Joey have three sons, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren and enjoy traveling to see them (and elsewhere). Dave currently is an active member of the Northfield Senior Center, sings (with Rich Nau) in the Troubadors (Northfield’s senior men’s chorus), and heats his home with wood he harvests on his own property while bearing the overlong Carleton title Lloyd P. Johnson-Norwest Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science, and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus.

Steven Galovich

Steven Galovich passed away in December 2006 as Professor of Mathematics and former Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Lake Forest College. 

Richard Nau

Richard Nau, Professor Emeritus of Math and Computer Science is a native of southwestern Minnesota and received his B.S. at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Applied Math and Computer Science. He came to Carleton in 1970 where he taught mathematics, esp. the applied courses, and developed much of the computer science curriculum. He also enjoyed visiting positions at the University of Virginia, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, Michigan State University as well as at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria as a Fulbright Lecturer. He did research during summers or while on leave at IBM, NASA, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and Dow Corning. He and his wife Sharol, a Carleton art graduate, are blessed with two grown children and two growing grandchildren. When not visiting them, they like to read, travel, hike, and bike since retiring in 2007.