COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Graduate Spotlight

See where some of our graduates are today. Read their story.

image of James Whitbread

James Whitbread
(2018, Theoretical Mathematics)

Mathematics senior James Whitbread is the recipient of a WSU 2018 Top Ten Senior Award for Academics and the 2018 Knebelman Outstanding Senior in Mathematics Award. He graduates with a degree in theoretical math with minors' in biology, chemistry, and molecular biosciences, with a cumulative gpa of 3.993. Scoring in the 98th percentile of the medical college admissions test (MCAT), he will attend Johns Hopkins University Medical School in the fall of 2018 to become a cardiac-thoracic surgeon. Read more about mathematics major James Whitbread. Read this story about James' work to help raise mential health awareness on the WSU campus.

Jared Aurentz
(2014, Ph.D. Mathematics)

Jared Aurentz has accepted a post-doctoral position with Professor L. N. Trefethen FRS who is the head of Oxford's Numerical Analysis Group. Professor Trefethen received his PhD from Stanford and has held positions at MIT and Cornell. His research interests include numerical linear algebra and approximation theory. Currently his group at Oxford is developing a software package called Chebfun, which is a collection of MATLAB subroutines for manipulating continuous functions with vector-like speed. Jared's official job title is "Research Associate in Algorithms Related to Chebfun" and he will extend the functionality of this first-of-its-kind software suite. He says, "I am very grateful to have been offered this position and wish to thank the WSU Math Department and my advisor Professor David Watkins for all that they've done. I most certainly could not have made it this far without their help and support."

See March 2018 SIAM news about Jared Aurentz and his advisor Dr. David Watkins, who received an Outstanding Paper Prize.

2018 Update: Jared Aurentz is currently working at ICMAT as a postdoctoral researcher.

Photo of Rhonda Crate

Rhonda Crate
(MS 2012, Statistics)

Rhonda Crate is a senior data scientist/platform developer within Boeing's Analytics and Information Management organization. As part of her work, she spends time investigating and testing new technologies related to analytics and makes recommendations to the enterprise platform. She helps organizations within the company use the platform and deploy projects. She also works on a variety of data science projects in Boeing's IT, commercial and defense programs. For these projects, she uses approaches ranging from text to regression to machine learning. She teaches R programming to other employees and is the Boeing Designated Expert for R technologies. Prior to working at Boeing, she worked as a data analyst in a small marketing company in Seatlle called Catalysis. While there she worked on projects such as optimizing web browsing behavior for Microsoft Store, product placement for Seattle Central Co-Op, and segmentation analysis for GCI Alaska Telecom. She has a 5 year old daughter Elsie with her husband Andrey (another fellow Coug), who is also a data scientist at Boeing.

Bonni (Kealy) Dichone
(2011, Ph.D. Mathematics)

Bonni (Kealy) Dichone worked as an instructor and a teaching post-doctorate at WSU for a couple of years before accepting a position as assistant professor of mathematics at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. At Gonzaga she is helping to add, develop and offer applied mathematics courses at the undergraduate level, as well as recruit and mentor undergraduates in applied mathematics research projects for the Gonzaga mathematics department. While teaching and advising undergraduates of all disciplines is the main priority at Gonzaga, Bonni maintains an active research program in collaboration with her former advisor, Dr. David J. Wollkind, and colleagues Richard Cangelosi and Sergey Lapin. They have jointly published several papers in The Journal of Mathematical Biology on different ecological models involving the Turing pattern mechanism. For further updates on Dr. Dichone’s research, conference presentations, papers, courses, or Gonzaga activities, you may visit her website at

Daryl Deford and wife Katie

Daryl Deford
(2010, Theoretical Mathematics)

After completing his B.S. in Theoretical Mathematics Summa Cum Laude from WSU, Daryl Deford completed his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2018 from Dartmouth. While there he received college-wide awards for research and teaching. During his last three years at Dartmouth he volunteered at a local middle school, coaching their math team to two State MathCount wins. He also taught calculus, mathematical modeling and research ethics, and developed workshops on LaTeX for undergraduates and high school students in mathematics camps. He and his office mate compiled a 250+ book of solutions to written qualification exam problems. He is presently a postdoc in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, associated with the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (MGGG). Their focus is on developing mathematical tools for detecting and combating gerrymandering, which includes academic research on foundational issues of redistricting related to MCMC methods for sampling graph partitions, and geometric measures of compactness, in addition to practical involvement with court cases and citizen's initiatives. He is involved in open source data analysis efforts, providing tools for community organizations to engage with the redistricting process. He and his wife, Katie, celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary this summer. They and their two cats live in Somerville, MA after living in Windsor, VT, Nowich, VT, and Lebanon, NH. They have loved living in the northeast and have taken advantage of the wonderful scenery and cute little towns to visit in New Hampshire and Vermont. They've also taken several trips to see the historical sites in DC, Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston.
2017 Dartmouth Teaching Award
2018 Dartmouth Hannah T. Croasdale Scholar Award

Andrew Stevens
(2009, M.S. Mathematics)

Andrew Stevens is the owner and Chief Scientist at OptimalSensing LLC ( From 2009 to 2017 he was a staff scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). While working at PNNL, he completed his PhD in electrical and computer engineering at Duke University (May 2018). Andrew works on compressive sensing and machine learning problems, especially in scientific imaging and electron microscopy. He has developed several new algorithms and imaging approaches (5 patents pending) that allow scientists to analyze materials and chemical processes at the atomic level. Many of the most important processes in materials engineering and biology/medicine occur by the movement of atoms—such as the storing of charge in Li-ion batteries and drug interactions with cells to cure disease. Understanding and controlling the way that atoms move will lead to new technologies that address the major global challenges of energy, defense, and human health.
His WSU graduate advisor was Dr. Sergey Lapin.
Google Scholar:

Photo of Amy Yielding

Amy Yielding
(2009, Ph.D. Mathematics)

Amy Yielding is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Eastern Oregon University (EOU). In 2016 she received the EOU honor of Distinguished Faculty Member ( an award given to one faculty member each year. At that time she also received recognition from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for work she and her students completed on Air Quality Alerts in Burns, Oregon ( Amy has a three year old daughter, Josephine, a 1 year old doggie, Chewbacca Picard Adama Yielding, and an amazing husband (who is a stay at home papa), Jason.  They enjoy backpacking trips every year in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, cross country skiing every winter in the Blue Mountains, and camping out each summer on the Oregon Coast. Each summer Amy enjoys growing a vegetable garden, and every day she enjoys daily yoga and a properly brewed coffee.

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Daniel Forsman
(2007, Mathematics)

Daniel Forsman has lived in the Olympia, Washington area since graduating from WSU and is a credentialed property/casualty actuary working for the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. He achieved the rare distinction of passing each of the seven associate exams for membership in the Casualty Actuarial Society on his first try, when the average pass rate is approximately 40%. He has recently taken a break from studying for further credentials to pursue a second career developing software and analytics for 6-4-3 Charts which is an emerging company in baseball scouting. The company has approximately 75 clients and worked exclusively with Division 1 baseball programs during the 2018 season. They are preparing to expand to Division 1 softball, Division 2 baseball, and Division 3 baseball for the 2019 season. Dan became interested in mathematics as a 10-year-old-fan obsessed with baseball statistics and simulation. He is happily married to another Coug and they still make it back to Pullman for an occasional football weekend.

Kent Griffin

Kent Griffin
(2006, Ph.D. Mathematics)

Kent Griffin is Director of the Core Research group of Symantec Research Labs in Culver City, CA overseeing the work of 7 full-time researchers (most of whom have a Ph.D. in computer science). Core Research led by Sanjay Sawhney, has projects in storage, backup, virtualization, web security, reputation or community based security, malware analysis, mobile device security, social network security and privacry and Data Loss Prevention. Most of the research is directly tied to an existing product or product line, but some is more speculative and can lead to entirely new products. Core Research has the longest time horizon of any research group in Symantec, and they work to develop the next-generation technologies for use in all areas of Symantec. They foster internal innovation and create intellectual property (patents) and publications to promote Symantec externally.

15 Patents

"The state of software patent reviewing is that it takes a long time for filed patents to actually be issued. The first patent I filed with Symantec has been issued and is US Patent number 7,774,470, "Load Balancing Using a Distributed Hash," but the others are still under review. I'm named on 15 filed, or soon to be filed patents which are in the following areas: browser security, automatic signature generation, reputation based security, buffer overflow prevention, reducing signature set size, and full disk encryption."

WSU Background

Kent Griffin received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from WSU in August of 2006. His advisor was Dr. Michael Tsatsomeros. The title of his dissertation was, "Solving the principal minor assignment problem and related computations," and his field of study was computational linear algebra.

Photo of Korash Hernandez

Korash Hernandez
(MS 2001, Statistics)

Korash Hernandez has a passion for data-driven decision making that leverages cutting edge technology to better serve everyone. This passion and drive led him to found (“Status”) in 2016. Status compares and analyzes members interest rates, spending, debts, and assets, using machine learning algorithms to find opportunities for members to save and earn smarter. Prior to co-founding, Korash spent six years at premier banks in New York, including a role as Vice President at Goldman Sachs where he was the 8th employee hired for “Marcus by Goldman Sachs.” He also worked at Citibank serving as head of digital analytics for credit card acquisitions. Prior to Citi, Korash led fraud and credit modeling at T-Mobile for 9 years. Korash holds a master’s degree in statistics from WSU and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon.