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Department of Mathematics

Alumni Profiles

Elliott Vest (2019)

Elliot Vest's photo

As of Fall 2023, Elliott Vest is a PhD mathematics student finishing his last year at University of California, Riverside. Born and raised in Visalia, California, he began his college journey at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, then transferred to Fresno State in 2017 as a mathematics major. He graduated from Fresno State in 2019. It was the inspiration of many of the Fresno State faculty, such as Dr. Comlan De Souza and Dr. Katherine Kelm, that led him to apply to a PhD program in mathematics in the first place. From tutoring, to facilitating labs at Fresno State, to now teaching mathematics at UC Riverside as well as mentoring incoming graduate students, Elliott has a strong passion for teaching and hopes to obtain a teaching position after graduation. He enjoys going to his family cabin at Bass Lake, playing piano, going to the gym, destroying opponents at ping pong, and roleplaying in Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. 

Zachary Emerzian (2018)

Kelsey Friesen

Zac graduated from California State University, Fresno with a BA in Mathematics and History in the spring of 2018. He is currently a masters student in UC Santa Cruz's Masters of Science program in Serious Games. Zac is putting the strong reasoning and problem solving skills he developed at Fresno State to good use as a designer and developer of interactive experiences.

Kelsey Friesen (2016)

Kelsey Friesen

After graduating from Reedley High School, Kelsey enrolled in the Honors Program at Reedley College and completed her associates degree in math in May 2012. She then continued her study of mathematics at Fresno State and finished her B.A. in May 2014 and M.A. in May 2016. Currently, she is a full-time math instructor at Clovis Community College.

Jennifer Elder (2016)

Jennifer Elder's photo

Jennifer earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Mathematics at Fresno State. Her Master’s Thesis was on  Generalizations of the Futurama Theorem,” a problem related to cycle decompositions of permutations. After graduating in 2016, she went on to earn a PhD in Mathematics from Arizona State University in 2021. Her Dissertation research was in Combinatorics, also on  permutation properties. After her PhD, she spent two years as a  Visiting Professor of Mathematics at Rockhurst University in Kansas City Missouri, and was a Postdoc TA for the 2022 Summer@ICERM Undergraduate Research Program at Brown University.  As of Fall 2023, she is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph Missouri. She is focused on teaching General Education Math classes, and is an active researcher in Combinatorics.”

Araceli Ramirez (2016)

Araceli is currently in the credential program at Fresno State. She will by teaching mathematics by August 2016. Here is what she has to say about her teaching experience: "I love working with students. I am very patient with my students. I don't mind modifying my lesson if students do not understand the material. I hope that I can teach my students to be critical thinkers. I want them to enjoy math. As a student I was not very sharp but I am a hard worker. You can too reach your goals!"

David Burks (2015)

David Burks

David received his BA in Mathematics from CSU Fresno in May 2015 and his MA in Mathematics from CSU Fresno in December 2016. He taught as an adjunct mathematics instructor for both Fresno City College and Clovis Community College. He then received a 1 year temporary position at College of Southern Nevada from fellow CSU Fresno alumni Patrick Villa for the 2017-2018 academic year. He is now a full-time instructor for College of the Mainland in southeast Texas.

Monica Cuevas (2015)

Monica Cuevas

Monica Cuevas received her Master’s degree in Mathematics with a Teaching Option. She is currently an adjunct math instructor at Reedley College. Her future plan is to obtain a full-time position at a community college.

Monorasmey Arun (2014)

Monorasmey Arun

Upon completing his BA in mathematics from Fresno State in 2014, Monorasmey had joined the Fresno Unified/Fresno State Teacher Residency Program. Through the 14 months program, he had completed his multiple subject credential, his single subject credential in mathematics as well as his masters in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Monorasmey is currently teaching 8th grade math at Fort Miller Middle School. "Teaching middle school is by far the most challenging group. You don't only teach them the math but you are teaching them the social skills, and respect. It's not all about the lessons but it is about getting them to be college and career ready." Monorasmey plans to teach for another two to three years before moving into a management position.

Katherine Urabe (2014)

Katherine Urabe

Katie Urabe holds Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Linguistics from Fresno State, where she was the 2012 President's Medalist. She received her Master's Degree in Mathematics from Fresno State in 2014. After graduation, she taught math at the local community colleges, then went into educational publishing as a curriculum expert for DataWorks Educational Research and Edmentum. In 2016, Katie became an operations research analyst for the Department of Defense in Kansas City. She has worked on military studies using optimization, graph theory, and statistics. Her most notable achievement was a study on the creation and implementation of a Soldier Credentialing program that was presented to Congress and recently passed legislation. In 2018, Katie was nominated for the Barchi Prize for her work on Future Megacities. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Operations Research from Kansas State University and a Data Science Certificate from the Naval Postgraduate School. 

Anthony Bringetto (2013)

Anthony Bringetto

I got my B.A. in mathematics with the goal to pursue high school teaching and coaching. After two years in the classroom, I decided that I preferred to work with students individually. I kept teaching Integrated Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3 while I obtained my master's degree in school counseling. My master's project was a quantitative study on the effects of parent involvement on student achievement in mathematics. When my 5th year as a teacher ended, I transitioned into the counseling office and really enjoy the personal connections I can make with some of our most at-risk students. In the future, I may pursue a Ph. D. in educational research and statistics. My goal is to make a long-lasting positive impact on the education system.

Dionne Kunkel (2012)

Dionne Ibarra

Dionne Kunkel (Ibarra), born and raised in Fresno, CA, obtained her Bachelor's and Master's degree in mathematics at Fresno State in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is currently a PhD student and teaching assistant at George Washington University pursuing a degree in mathematics with a focus in knot theory and low-dimensional topology. She worked full-time for the U.S. Department of Justice prior to her accepted at George Washington University.

Michael Fenton (2011)

Michael Fenton

Michael joined the Desmos Teaching Faculty in August 2015. Drawing on his experience as a classroom teacher, graduate school instructor, curriculum writer, and professional development consultant, Michael loves exploring how to use technology in ways that foster curiosity and creativity in the math classroom. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in General Mathematics and holds Master of Arts degrees in Mathematics from Fresno State. He also holds Master of Arts degrees in Education and Mathematics. Michael currently lives in Fresno, CA, with his beautiful wife Heather and their four energetic children.

Kaitlyn Fiechtner (2011)

Kaitlyn Sanchez

Kaitlyn Fiechtner, now Kaitlyn Sanchez, graduated Cum Laude with the class of 2011. She earned her secondary math teaching credential in 2012 and has been teaching ever since. She is currently teaching at Hughson High School.

Saori Jansen (2011)

Saori Jansen

Saori Jansen is the IT Coordinator at Fresno Unified School District and a founder of CoderGirlz, an after school coding club for girls. She works in the district's Information Technology department, organizes the annual Tournament of Technology which is over 600 middle school students from across the district to compete against each other in a variety of technology-based events. She is deeply invested in addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM fields. She is originally from Japan and worked at a software company at Redmond, WA before coming to CA. She earned both a B.A. in Mathematics and a M.A. in Mathematics with Teaching Option from Fresno State. She has taught at Clovis Community College, Fresno Community College as well as Fresno State as an adjunct faculty.

Kevin Skeels (2011)

Kevin Skeels

Currently, I am the senior financial analyst for Sound United in Vista, CA, which is a consumer electronics company, particularly audio products, that owns Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and BOOM by Polk. I've been doing very well here; I was hired as a financial analyst and was promoted to my current position this past September. When I was pursuing a Masters in Mathematics I never thought I would end up in corporate finance!

Ana-Cristina Runnalls (2011)

Ana-Cristina Runnalls

Cristina received her B.A. in Mathematics from CSU Fresno in 2011, her M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Iowa in 2013, and ultimately her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education in 2018. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Cal Poly Pomona. Her current research focuses on equitable access to mathematics for culturally and linguistically diverse students, as well as both pre-service and in-service teacher education.  Cristina was recently featured on the Lathisms website, where she shared more about her story, background, and motivation for her work:

Lucas Ross (2009)

Lucas Ross

Lucas Ross teaches AP Calculus and Geometry and is the head coach of the men’s volleyball team at Hoover High School. He says “The kids here are fantastic. I've seen many of my students graduate and go on to various universities as first generation college attendees. They impress me so much every day. I love teaching math, coaching, and mentoring young people. It truly is an honor and privilege to work in education.”

Paul Savala (2009)

Paul Savala

Paul graduated from Fresno State in 2009, then went on to get his PhD from the University of Iowa in 2016. He is now a visiting assistant professor at Whittier College in Whittier, CA. His specialties include analytic number theory and data analysis.

Veronica Andrade (2008)

Veronica Andrade

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential internship, Veronica began her career as a high school math teacher. After earning her Master’s degree in Mathematics with a teaching option from Fresno State, she began to work part-time at Fresno City College as a math instructor. She is pursuing a full-time position at a community college. She says, “Teaching is a lot of fun and you get to touch many lives.”


 David Martin (2006)

David Martin

David Martin Graduated from CSU Fresno in December, 2006 with a MA in Mathematics. After spending a few years teaching mathematics in a part time and temporary capacity at Fresno City College, College of the Sequoias, and the Clovis Center, he went on to teach high school full time for one year, at Buhach Colony High School, in Atwater. Afterward, he entered the graduate program at UC Merced to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics. He completed his doctorate in the summer of 2015, studying computational fluid dynamics, under Dr. Blanchette, and specializing in surfactant effects on multiphase flow. His dissertation was titled: "Accounting for Surface Concentrations Using a VOF Front Tracking Method in Multiphase Flow". As of 2016, he works as a lecturer in mathematics at UC Merced and is looking for a tenure track position at a four year teaching university.

Mike Chamberlain (1998)

Mike Chamberlain

Mike Chamberlain obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from Fresno State in 1998, and taught at the high school level for 12 years. In 2005, Mike became involved with the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project through participation in a 3-year grant opportunity. Following that experience, Mike continued to stay actively involved in the project, and returned to Fresno State in 2008 to work on a Master's Degree in Mathematics, that he received two years later. Since receiving that degree, Mike has worked as an adjunct mathematics instructor at the West Hills College, Lemoore campus. He resigned from an 11 year stint as a math teacher at Caruthers High School in 2012, and took a position with the Fresno County Office of Education as a Mathematics Consultant. As a part of that work, Mike also is the current Director of the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project at Fresno State. He seeks to serve the student population in the Central San Joaquin Valley by providing professional learning opportunities for mathematics educators that support access for all students to an engaging mathematical education. Mike's vision is to support the growth of teachers who advocate for rigorous and relevant mathematics; one that allows students to make sense of the world quantitatively and to appreciate their own power to reason.

Brian Riley (1985)

Brian Riley

Brian graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics, cum laude, in 1985, then obtained an M.A. in Linguistics at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. in 1987. After operating a math tutoring business for 17 years (Apollo Tutoring), he enrolled in the PhD program in Education at UC Davis with an emphasis in higher education policy (including service as a teaching assistant in the math department) and is currently a PhD candidate, working on his dissertation.

Chris Brownell (1985)

Chris Brownell

After graduating from CSU Fresno in 1985 with a BA in Mathematics and a Single Subject teaching credential, Chris went on to teach high school mathematics for 14 years. During this time, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics Education from the Fresno Pacific University where he focused on integration of new technologies in the mathematics classroom. In 2000 he came on the mathematics faculty at Fresno Pacific and taught undergraduate mathematics and graduate mathematics education courses. In 2011 he was hired by the Claremont Graduate University to coordinate a federal grant assisting teachers in San Bernardino County to earn Master’s degrees in Applied Mathematics from one of the premiere graduate applied mathematics institutions in the US. While there, he earned his Ph.D in Mathematics Education, focusing on the mathematical preparation for teaching of secondary mathematics teachers. He is presently back in Fresno, CA where he directs the Mathematics and STEM Education Master’s degree programs and is currently under tenure and rank review to be named an Associate Professor at Fresno Pacific University. He is also a Senior Researcher at the AIMS Center for Mathematics & Science Education.

Steve Zapata (1984)

Steve Zapata

Steve Zapata is entering his 30th year with CalStars, and is currently working with Lancaster School District. He received his teaching credential from CSU, Sacramento in 1986, and his Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Math Education in 1990. In 2014, he completed his Administrative Credential from CSU, Dominguez Hills. He has taught from grade 6 through community college as a math instructor and coach. While working as the District Math Coach for Lancaster School District, he drastically improved the number of federal/state qualified and credentialed math teachers, increasing the Algebra 1 proficiency in the district. He also worked as a Migrant Education teacher in Los Angeles County. A fond memory from his time in L.A. County is driving into the fields of the Antelope Valley looking for students, recruiting from the homesteads, and driving to a school site and teaching them. He says, "Having the math degree has allowed me to travel as an educator throughout California, as it seems every town/city is advertising for math teachers for every level. I have worked for no less than 8 school districts, receiving site Teacher of the Year at two of them."


John McFann (1984)

John McFann

After graduating from CSU Fresno in 1984 with a BA in Mathematics / Computer Science Options John went on to be a mainframe computer programmer, with Chevron, in the San Fransico area for 26 years. During this time, he wrote Mainframe VM/NOMAD for the first 24 years. In 2009, he took a severance package. Retirement was short in 2010 he worked on the 2010 US Census and then transferred over to become a letter carrier with the USPS. Married for 27 years, John and his wife have two sons. One who is a 2016 UCLA graduate with a BA in Civil Engineering and another son in his 3rd year at University of Washington and going for a BA in Mathematics.

Lori M. Hamada (1984)

Lori Hamada

Lori Hamada has served as the Executive Director of the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education since its inception in 2014. After teaching math for 14 years in middle and high school, Lori spent 12 years as the Mathematics Coordinator for the Fresno County Office of Education (FCOE). She was named a finalist for Administrator of the Year in Fresno County in 2007 after designing and serving nine years as the Executive Producer of Math on Call – FCOE's mathematics homework hotline for students that incorporated a live daily television broadcast with a call center staffed with credentialed mathematics teachers. Lori worked two years as CEO of the non-profit CPM Educational Program. Before coming to the AIMS Center, Lori also served as a principal in the Central Unified School District. She is a former Director of the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project and the current Past-President of the Central Section of the California Math Council. Lori received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from CSU Fresno in December 1984. She also holds a Master's Degree in Education from Fresno Pacific College, with a dual focus in Curriculum & Instruction and in Math Education. She has been a professional development consultant for over 25 years, 18 as national consultant for the College Board.

Dr. Anthony Barcellos (1974)

Lori Hamada

When Anthony Barcellos graduated from Fresno State with a master's degree in mathematics in 1974, Burke Zane was math department chair (and Barcellos' advisor) and the department was located in a temporary building on San Ramon Avenue. He then went on to UC Davis, dabbled in journalism (Albuquerque Journal, 1978, on a AAAS Fellowship), and joined the legislative staff in Sacramento on a State Senate Fellowship, where he worked for Sen. Albert S. Rodda. After a stint in civil service as part of the office of State Treasurer Jesse M. Unruh, Barcellos was appointed to the math faculty of American River College in Sacramento, where he served multiple terms as department chair. In addition to his Fresno State master's degree, he holds a Ph.D. in math education from UC Davis. His dissertation is Mathematical Misconceptions of College-Age Algebra Students. Barcellos' novel, Land of Milk and Money (Tagus Press, 2012), is a fictionalized memoir of family travails on an Azorean-immigrant dairy farm in Tulare County.

James Nickel (1973)

James Nickel

James graduated from Fresno State in 1973 with a BA in mathematics. Some of his favorite math professors were Dr. Labarre, Dr. Lindae, and Dr. Wagoner. He is currently retired. After graduation, he immediately worked as a Mathematical Analyst at the Pt. Mugu Naval Airbase, Pt. Mugu, California. That job introduced him to the world of information technology. He worked in IT for a publishing company in Bloomington, Minnesota, and also for a Natural Gas Utility in Shreveport, Louisiana. He held positions from programmer to Senior Technical Analyst. He also spent many years working as a math educator in Hawaii, Australia, and Washington State. James taught high school mathematics for the most part. Upon retirement, he completed a middle school/high school mathematics curriculum entitled “The Dance of Number” in 2018. In 2001, the second edition (first edition: 1990) of a study on the history and philosophy of mathematics was published. James Nickel would like to thank Fresno State for its excellent math program. It gave him the mindset to experience success in multiple fields of endeavor.


Harlie Smith (1973)

Harlie Smith

Harlie Smith graduated in 1973 with a major in Mathematics and minors in Business and Physical Education. He served in the Peace Corps in Ghana from 1974-1976 teaching Math Ed at Akrokerri Teacher Training College. Upon returning to the US, he was hired at Clovis West High School in 1977. He earned the cluster 3 teacher of the year in 1981, and helped write the district's computer education manual in 1982. He also taught the Advanced Placement Computer Science classes at Clovis West and Introduction to Programming (Pascal) at Fresno Pacific College. In 1986, he was hired by the Department of Defense Dependents School (Alconbury High School) in England. In the summers of 1987 and 1988, Harlie taught teacher training classes in England and Fresno. In 1988, he returned to Fresno to teach math and computer science at Hoover High School, where he served as the department chair in 2003 until 2005 and helped the school win the Siemen's award for improvement in advanced placement in 2001. Harlie is currently retired, but still works with high school students as an assist coach of the Clovis Rugby Club.

Jesse Wang (1969)

Jessie Wang

Jesse Wang graduated from Fresno State in 1969. In 1974, he graduated from Washington State University with a Ph.D in Computer Science, and received his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1995. He worked in several national level laboratories and established the error analysis of the well-known weighted Simpson rule (basic concept of numerical integration) which can handle certain singular functions in 1976. He also has a background with the Argonne National Laboratory, where he researched and developed scientific subroutine libraries and work on code development in the area of Nek5000. Jesse Wang served as professor and chair for the Department of Math and Computer Science at The Chicago State University from 1983-1996. He is currently the founder and CEO of Enosh Company, an information technology company that provides peak performance software subroutine libraries to serve scientific, research and gaming communities.

Donna Hudson (BS 1968, MS 1972)

Donna Hudson

Upon completion of a B.S. degree in Mathematics at California State University, Fresno Donna Hudson joined the Boeing Company in Seattle as an Associate Engineer in Wind Tunnel Computing. In 1971 she returned to CSUF and completed an M.S. degree in Mathematics in 1972. Beginning in 1975 she taught at CSUF while pursuing her studies in engineering and computer science at UCLA where she received her Ph.D. in 1981. Since that time she has been a Professor at University of California San Francisco where she is Chair of Academic Research and Technology at UCSF Fresno, Faculty in Clinical and Translational Informatics at UCSF, and Faculty in the Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering (UCSF-UC Berkeley). In 1987 Dr. Hudson received the Faculty Research Award at UCSF Fresno. She became a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 1995 and Fellow of the IEEE in 2001. She was honored by CSUF in 2003 as Alumnus of the Year in the College of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Hudson has published over 250 research articles spanning a broad range of subjects including the use of computers in medical applications.

Charles Riden (1965; 1969)

Charles Riden

Charles graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Fresno State in 1965. After a year as a YMCA Program Secretary in Hanford, CA, he began his teaching career on a provisional credential in the Lemoore Elementary School District as a middle school math teacher. By 1969, he had completed his certification and completed his master's degree in educational theory from Fresno State. In 1973 his family moved to Tempe Arizona, where he did one year of graduate work. His family liked Arizona so well that they did not return to California. In 1976 he began teaching in the Mesa Public School District, first as an elementary math specialist and later as a high school math and computer science teacher. In 1984 Charles was honored as State award winner in mathematics teaching. In that same year he began a 24 year career teaching Computer Literacy at Arizona State University (ASU). In August of 1990, he began his year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher to Szolnok, Hungary. Charles retired from the Mesa Public School in 1998 and continued to teach at ASU until he retired in 2008. In 2010 he was elected into the Lemoore High School Hall of Fame. In 1995 he started a small software company selling databases to musical organizations which keeps him busy in his retirement years.

Peter Li

Peter Li

Upon completion of a B.A. degree in Mathematics at the California State University, Fresno, Peter Li enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.  Realizing that his interest was in Differential Geometry, Peter subsequently wrote his Ph.D. dissertation in that field under the tutelage of Prof. Shiing Shen Chern.  Immediately after graduation, Peter spent a year as a research post-doctoral fellow under the mentorship of Professor Shing Tung Yau at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  His first employment as an educator and researcher was at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor where he stayed for three years before moving to Purdue University as an Associate Professor.  Two years later, he moved to the University of Utah as a Professor and then again relocated to the University of Arizona after living in Utah for four years.  Peter finally moved back to California after a full circuit around the country and was recruited by the University of California, Irvine, where he spent the remainder of his academic career.  While at UC Irvine, Peter served as Department Chair for 5 years and was later awarded the Chancellor’s Professorship.

Peter Li had a rewarding and fulfilling career as a research mathematician as well as an educator.  Nonetheless, after thirty-four years of research, he decided to retire and devote more attention to his family, especially his special needs daughter.  He now has ample time to also pursue his hobbies and side interests in reading, gallivanting around the world, and participating in culinary and oenological adventures as well as automobile events.