This newsletter is sent to all Ph.D. students every other week. Read all the latest updates on student spotlight, conferences, research and job opportunities, deadlines, and more!

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to Robin Rong for acceptance to the SLMath Summer Program on H-Principle hosted in Sendai, Japan! The homotopy principle, developed by Gromov, uses topological methods to solve non-linear PDEs, so this topic dovetails nicely into Robin’s research with our own Professor Julian Chaidez. And a huge THANK YOU to Robin for his work organizing MGSA’s amazing Directed Reading Program ( which pairs undergraduate students with graduate student mentors to read a math textbook over the semester and present on what they learn. Please join Robin and all the program participants on April 22 for the final presentations!

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to Haoxing Liu for presenting his research at the 2023 62nd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) in Singapore in December! His work on transdermal Alcohol concentration monitoring is part of a collaboration with our very own Professors Goldstein and Rosen, as well as Professor Luczak from the Psychology Department. We have no doubt that Haoxing will continue his great work after graduating with a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics this May. Congrats again, Haoxing!

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to Wes Wise for a successful bid to host the 2025 Graduate Student Combinatorics Conference (GSCC) at USC and, even better, for receiving an NSA grant to fund the event! We hope everyone with combinatorial tendencies will support Wes’s amazing efforts by volunteering to help organize and host this awesome conference. For a sneak peek of what’s the come, check out the 2024 GSCC at Carnegie Mellon in March:

Staff Spotlight: Our dedicated staff members enjoyed a two week Winter Break to rest and recharge before diving into the Spring Semester.

Student Spotlight: Dr. Elif Uskuplu, who successfully defended her thesis on October 17, has made groundbreaking strides in extending Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT), an endeavor crucial for delving into the intricacies of 2-category theory. She’s co-authored two published papers, in IEEE Access and Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics, and has another recent pre-print for which she is single author. Her thesis has earned her the Edward and Dolores Blum Research Prize for an outstanding dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Uskulpu!

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to 6th year student, Chenchen Zhao! Chenchen submitted two papers this semester ( and the other arXiv number will be available soon) and one paper with a research group ( ). She recently spoke at the UCLA Combinatorics Forum on October 26 (by invitation) and at the Southern California Discrete Mathematics Symposium at CSULA (accepted as a presenter among many submissions)

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to to 5th year graduate student Sam Armon, whose paper “A Proof of the Conjecture for Hook Shapes” appeared this month in the latest issue of Annals of Combinatorics (Volume 27, Issue 4), and whose latest pre-print “Extremal subsets and atom-positivity” just hit the arXiv:

Student Spotlight: Congratulations to 5th year student, Thejani Gamage, on completion of her latest paper, Reinforcement Learning for optimal dividend problem under diffusion model, joint with Lihua Bai, our very own Jin Ma, and Pengxu Xie.