The Mathematics Department is pleased to welcome into our community two new fixed-term assistant professors, Patrik Nabelek and Kristen Vroom, as well as two new instructors, Samaneh Yourdkhani and Stacey Vaughn.

Patrik Nabelek earned a BS in Mathematics from Oregon State University in 2012, an MS and PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2015, and 2018, respectively, working with PhD advisors V. Zakharov and K. McLaughlin. Dr. Nabelek’s research is on completely integrable systems, from solitons to spinning things. He has recently been an instructor in the mathematics department. His favorite theorem is Euler’s rotation theorem. He also enjoys walking his dog.

"I believe teaching begins with mutual kindness, compassion and respect between the teacher and student. Students should not see mistakes as failures, but should instead see them as learning experience. Students should be encouraged to take risks, and accept the occasional failures" – Patrik Nabelek

Kristen Vroom earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education in June 2020 from Portland State University, and an M.A., in Mathematics from Appalachian State University. Dr. Vroom’s research focus is supporting undergraduates in engaging in authentic proof activity. Currently, she is part of a team that is conducting design research to develop inquiry-oriented instructional materials in real analysis. She received the Shepard Freshman Resource Center teaching award as an instructor at Portland State University.

"As an instructor, I aim to promote meaning-making and foster an inclusive space. Mathematics is a creative, sense-making activity and so I take great care in planning my classes to incorporate materials that promote this activity. In my classroom, students must learn to be transparent about their thinking, and such transparency requires vulnerability. To support this safe classroom culture, I remind students that their role is to be respectful and supportive of their own as well as other students’ thinking and understandings." -Kristen Vroom

Her favorite mathematical theorem is the Intermediate Value Theorem. She loves to be outside with dogs Mowgli and Parker and also loves to read and cook.

Samaneh Yourdkhani earned a BS and MS in Mathematics from Iran, and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Biology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, under the support of Dr. John Rhodes and Dr. Elizabeth Allman. Her research interests have revolved around mathematical biology and specifically, concerns developing new mathematical methods of inferring evolutionary relationships between species from their sequenced genomes. While this is an interesting problem involving elements of mathematics, statistics, computer science, and biology, it is also a fundamental one for many other areas of science and medicine. Dr. Yourdkhani has been teaching for more than 12 years.

"In my view, teaching is not just presenting a subject. As a teacher, I am always trying to convey and deliver my knowledge as clear as I can. Teaching and learning complete each other. You must first develop the skills of a successful learner, then be a successful teacher. Everyone deserves to see the beauty of mathematics. If we still have people who panic by hearing the word “Mathematics”, then we are still teaching in an improper way." -Samaneh Yourdkhani

Stacey Vaughn earned both her BS and MS in Mathematics from Oregon State University. Her primary focus has always been teaching, with an emphasis on students and student experiences in undergraduate mathematics. Ms. Vaughn wants her students to feel that mathematics and their mathematics education is accessible, equitable, and useful.

"Students need time to digest information, explore concepts, make mistakes, and have successes with mathematics. Our current mathematics education structure overwhelms students with very advanced topics in mathematics and does not give students ample time to explore, fumble, and reinvent. As a teacher, I hope to help my students with this feeling of overwhelm as best I can. As an educator, I hope to help reform mathematics education to cut the number of topics studied in a given time frame in half." -Stacey Vaughn

In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family, including her two children Lily and Leo. For hobbies, she enjoys chess, poker, cooking, and good conversation.

** This article was created by the Newsletter/Media Committee. Please email alumninews@math.oregonstate.edu with any comments.**