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MSRI UP 2017 People

MSRI-UP 2017: Solving Systems of Polynomial Equations

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MSRI-UP 2017 Staff

Dr. Federico Ardila, Site Director

Federico ArdilaFederico Ardila received his Ph.D. in 2003 from MIT and is a Professor at San Francisco State University and the Universidad de Los Andes in his native Colombia. He studies objects in algebra, geometry, topology, and applications by understanding their underlying combinatorial structure. Federico serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Ser. A. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Premio Nacional de Ciencia de Colombia.

Federico is strongly committed to helping build an increasingly equitable and diverse community of mathematicians. With that goal, he founded and directs the SFSU-Colombia Combinatorics Initiative, he hosts over 200 combinatorics lectures on YouTube, and he co-directs the MSRI-UP undergraduate research program. Federico has advised more than 40 thesis students, including 15 women and 30 members of underrepresented groups.

When he is not at work he is probably on a futbol field, or treasure hunting in little record stores and sharing what he's found with La Pelanga DJ Collective.

Dr. J. Maurice Rojas, Research Director

J. Maurice Rojas is Professor of Mathematics and (by courtesy) Computer Science & Engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1995 and an M.S. in Computer Science in 1991, both from UC Berkeley. He did his undergraduate work in mathematics and electrical engineering at UCLA. In Fall 2015 he was John von Neumann visiting professor at Technical University of Munich, and earlier in his career he was an NSF CAREER Fellow and an NSF postdoc at MIT and MSRI. He has led an REU in algorithmic algebraic geometry at Texas A&M for 13 consecutive summers, before joining MSRI to be research director for the summer 2017 MSRI-UP program. 

His research interests are in algorithmic algebraic geometry, combining complexity theory, number theory, and algebraic and tropical geometry.  

He will be sharing his summer with his wife Sueli (a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M), and his son Victor (an entering visualization major at Texas A&M University, minoring in genetics). Maurice looks forward to showing his family the places in California where he grew up.

Dr. Anastasia Chavez, Postdoc

Anastasia Chavez is a native Californian, born and raised just an hour north of San Francisco. After earning her A.S. from the Santa Rosa Junior College, Anastasia transferred to San Francisco State University and completed her B.S. in applied mathematics. She continued at SFSU as a LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate fellow to earn her M.A. in mathematics. She recently received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley while completing her thesis in the area of algebraic combinatorics. Currently, Anastasia is a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis under the mentorship of Dr. Jesus De Loera. She will also spend the Fall 2017 semester as a Huneke Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow at MSRI while participating in the Geometric and Topological Combinatorics program. 

Anastasia is also passionate about supporting underrepresented minorities and non-traditional students in STEM. As a mother, first generation college graduate, and Latina, the need for more diverse role models and mentors for our future mathematicians is another motivation for Anastasia's pursuit of a career in mathematics. 

When taking a break from math, Anastasia can be found on an adventure with her incredible husband, amazing daughters, and goofy pup Big Boy.

Megan Ly, Graduate Assistant

Megan LyMegan Ly is a graduate student in the Mathematics Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received her BS in Mathematics with minors in Physics and Asian Studies from Loyola Marymount University in 2012. Megan first got into math research as an undergraduate by participating in MSRI-UP in 2010. Her current research interests lie in combinatorial representation theory where she uses pretty pictures to model representations. When Megan is not studying math, she enjoys spending her time ice skating and doing ballet.

Robert M. Walker, Graduate Assistant

Robert M. WalkerRobert M. Walker is a Mathematics Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He received a Bachelor's in Math and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. His research interests fall at the interface between Commutative Algebra and Algebraic Geometry. When not doing math or prepping for meetings with his adviser, Robert likes to watch comedies, animated cartoons, and independent news media outlets (like Democracy Now! and The Jimmy Dore Show), and to write and draw occasionally.

MSRI-UP 2017 Students


  • Amy Adair

    Amy Adair

    Louisiana State University

  • Malachi Alexander

    Malachi Alexander

    California State University, Monterey Bay

  • Davina L Boykin

    Davina L Boykin

    Valparaiso University

  • Jeshu Dastidar

    Jeshu Dastidar

    Queens College, CUNY

  • Ashley De Luna

    Ashley De Luna

    California State Polytechnic University

  • Sabrina Enriquez

    Sabrina Enriquez

    University of Southern California

  • Trajan Hammonds

    Trajan Hammonds

    Carnegie Mellon University

  • Harold Jimenez Polo

    Harold Jimenez Polo

    University of California, Berkeley

  • Jeremy Johnson

    Jeremy Johnson

    Humboldt State University

  • Christian Marquise McRoberts

    Christian Marquise McRoberts

    Morehouse College

  • Alex Mendez

    Alex Mendez

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Carlos Alfredo Osco Huaricapcha

    Carlos Alfredo Osco Huaricapcha

    San Francisco State University

  • Angela Rae Patini

    Angela Rae Patini

    University of Pennsylvania

  • Ryan Pugh

    Ryan Pugh

    California State University-Monterey Bay

  • Diane Tchuindjo

    Diane Tchuindjo

    University of Maryland

  • Noemi Valdez

    Noemi Valdez

    Harvard University

  • Esteban Madrigal

    Esteban Madrigal

    Harvard University

  • Viviana Marcela Peña Márquez

    Viviana Marcela Peña Márquez

    Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria