Faculty and Staff Updates

See what's new with the Carleton College Mathematics and Statistics 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 Dobrow

Bob Dobrow is marking his 16th 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. He recently completed his second textbook "Introduction to Stochastic Processes with R'' (Wiley). He also authored "Probability with Applications and R'' (Wiley).  Bob is married and has three boys. Favorite activities include martial arts, cooking, music, travel, playing cards, reading and home brewing beer.  He directs the Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu karate school and instructs the Carleton Karate Club.

This is not only Bob's 16th year, it is also his last, as he is retiring at the end of the academic year. Bob and his wife Angel are then moving to Duluth and opening a bookstore -- Zenith Bookstore. See www.zenithbookstore.com for more information.

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.

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 a co-Editor of Math Horizons, co-directed for eighteen years the Carleton College Summer Mathematics Program for women, a program designed to encourage women to earn advanced degrees in mathematics, and she will serve 2017 and 2018 as the President of the Mathematical Association of America, the largest organization in the world focusing on undergraduate mathematics.

Rafe Jones

Rafe JonesRafe Jones joined the Carleton faculty in the Fall of 2012. He loves doing research on open problems at the intersection of number theory and dynamical systems, and especially enjoys bringing to these problems ideas from still other fields like geometry and probability. A few months after starting at Carleton, he welcomed his daughter Victoria into the world, and she was joined by Isabelle in the Spring of 2016. He has a longtime interest in French language and culture, stemming from having lived in Paris for a year as a newly minted college graduate. He is sometimes found at the lunchtime French table in the LDC. In his barely extant free time, he enjoys running, cycling, poetry, and baking bread. His 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 has taught at Carleton since 1988.  His research areas are Dynamical Systems and Mathematical Neuroscience.  Sam enjoys teaching all of the courses offered in our department, especially those relating to applied mathematics and mathematical physics.  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, especially knotting in DNA and proteins and braiding in topological quantum computation.  Helen has two adorable young daughters, Grace and Clare, who run circles (topological, not geometric) around her.  In particular, Helen now wakes up with the dawn and often reminisces about spending late nights in her office at the CMC.        

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.

Jack Goldfeather

Jack GoldfeatherJack Goldfeather is the William H. Laird Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science, and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus.  He retired in 2015 after 38 years in the department. Over the years, he did research in algebraic topology, chip design for rapid graphics display, tracking in virtual reality systems, numerical methods for curvature computation on surfaces, and analyzing and visualizing vortex behavior in turbulent fluid flow.  Over the years he taught 25 different courses in both mathematics and computer science, helped to design the computer science major as well as courses in computer graphics and image processing.  Since retirement from Carleton, he has worked as a consultant for Boston Scientific doing mathematical analysis for tracking systems in medical devices.  Inexplicably, he became a golf fanatic about 25 years ago and plays as much as possible during Minnesota's short golf season.  His wife Christie is a retired high school art teacher, so together they have a total of one well-developed left brain and one well-developed right one.  In recent years, they have traveled widely, with trips to New Zealand, Bora Bora, the Galapagos Islands, China, Amsterdam, and Italy.  With upcoming trips to Costa Rica, Spain, and the Amazon river.  Their daughter Sarah is a musician living in Brooklyn, NY.

Richard Nau

Richard Nau, Professor Emeritus of Math and Computer Science, was born on a farm in in 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, especially 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, Boeing, 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 college-aged grandchildren. When not visiting them, they like to travel, read, write, sing, dance, hike, bike and geocache - occasionally with his former students.