Alumni Information

Alumni in the Mathematics Department have done some amazing things, and we here at the Math Department want you to know about them and develop connections with them.

Alumni Information

student smiling in a suit Alumni Highlight: Neal Sharma

Neal was a research fellow at a medical center in Dallas during two summers as an undergraduate. Also, Neal was a data analyst at an oncology clinic. Currently, Neal is interviewing for MD/PhD programs whose field of study that will be closely intertwined with math.


Katherine smiling and posing Alumni Highlight: Katherine Fotion Katie is currently working at Cruise Automation as a Machine Learning Engineer. Cruise Automation is an urban autonomous vehicle company based in San Francisco. Katie describes her job as, definitely math related. To her, it is the perfect combination of math and computer science. Katie got her masters degree in computer science at San Francisco State. She advises current students to take as many classes as possible. Per Katie "there are few times in your life when all your time can be devoted to learning." Katie's current hobbies include being a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Camping and Exercising. Her favorite read right now is: Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour bookstore.
Student smiling and posing in lab coat Alumni Highlight: Brent Allman

Brent did a year long post-baccalaureate program at the University of Georgia in Bioinformatics and Infectious Disease, which required mathematics and computing. Brent has noted that one of his favorite things about the Math Department at USD was the supportive and cohesive environment among the students. More academically speaking, Brent recommends applying for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) or internships. He explains his belief in expanded your horizons, explaining that "gaining experience outside of USD will help widen your network and immersing yourself in a new topic over summer is a great way to learn a lot, and get paid do to it! Apply broadly as many of these programs are competitive, but getting one is worth the effort to apply."

Student Smiling Alumni Highlight: Samantha Armstrong

Before becoming an associate Cloud ERP Consultant at Oracle, Samantha was an analyst at MedImpact Healthcare Systems.



Kevin Pelaez smiling and posing Alumni Congratulation: Professor Kevin Pelaez Professor Kevin Pelaez was accepted into the Mathematics and Science Education PhD between UCSD and SDSU it is one of the top ten programs in the nation which offers a nice living stipend Kevin will get to stay in San Diego!
Monica Ramakrishnan smiling Alumni Highlight: Monica Ramakrishnan Monica Ramakrishnan, a USD Alumna class of 2015, is a Product Analyst at Adobe Systems. Before working at Adobe, Monica interned at BeyondCore (Wed development), MobileIron (QE engineer), and Actian (Business analytics). Monica received her Masters degree from Santa Clara University in Applied Math with a focus upon Data Science. Aside from academic achievements, Monica enjoys skiing, hiking, and traveling in her spare time.
USD Alumni Conversing USD Department of Mathematics Alumni Updates

Help your fellow Toreros navigate the college experience and post-grad life by letting us know how you’re doing!

Current Profession?
When did you graduate USD?

Previous math related professions?
Did you get your Master’s or PhD?

Any advice for current students?
Favorite book or movie, and why?

Current Hobbies?

Ashley Mendes posing and smiling Alumni Highlight: Ashley Mendes

Ashley Mendes is a full time middle school mathematics teacher at Saint Francis of Assisi in Los Angeles. She's currently getting her Masters in Secondary Education while also getting her CA teaching credentials from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Favorite Movie: Safe Haven

Hobbies: Volleyball (both indoor and outdoor), long distance running, and hanging out on the beach. 

Michael Carter smiling Alumni Highlight: Michael Carter

Michael Carter is currently a High Tech High School 11th and 12th grade teacher in Chula Vista. Michael is a part of USD undergraduate class of 2013, and is also a part of the Graduate class of 2014.

Hobbies: Music Production.

Favorite Movies: The Godfather 1 & 2, The Imitation Game, The Usual Suspects, and Rudy.

Favorite Book: Count of Monte Cristo

Michael's Advice to both future and present mathematics students:

"Work harder than the person next to you. You're a math major, so that's already happening."

Michelle Wilkerson smiling Alumni Highlight: Michelle Wilkerson Michelle Wilkerson is currently an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education. Here, she runs a research lab called Computational Representations in Education (CoRE). The research focuses on preparing middle and high school student to understand the role the computing plays in modern science and mathematics. Michelle helps in Designing software, curricula, and design/theoretical frameworks to help students explore how simulations, data visualizations, and statistical data analysis tools are used in scientific and mathematical reasoning.
Michelle Graduated from USD in 2005 with a double major in Math and Diversified Liberal Arts (Elementary Education credential program).
Post-USD, Michelle went straight to Northwestern University to pursue a PhD in Learning Sciences. While at Northwestern she continued to take mathematics classes at the graduate level.
As for her hobbies, lately she’s been combing her way through all the Hitchcock movies and reading lots of short stories compendia - Jhumpa Lahiri, Kelly Link, Kyle Minor, Ted Chiang. She quilts, knit, and crochet. A picture of a Penrose tiling she quilted is used here as frame for her photo (above).
A bit of advice from Michelle Wilkerson for future and present students alike:
"My advice for current students is that if they are interested in graduate programs, don't be shy to reach out and contact professors and especially graduate students. If you're not sure who to talk to, try contacting program or department assistants first, they know everything and can help point you in the right direction. But, be sure you know enough about the people you are contacting that you can connect at a specific level of interest/topic - it's not enough to say "I'm interested in your program."
Ashley Dunn smiling and posing Alumni Highlight: Ashley Dunn

Ashley Dunn will graduate in May 2018, and plans to work as a Financial Analyst for Kashi Co. in Solana Beach, CA.

Favorite Course: Ashley's favorite mathematics course taken at USD was probability with professor Pruski.

Favorite Movie: Ashley's favorite movie is Up or P.S. I love, because to her, both movies give her hope and that no matter how hard things may become, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

A word of advice Ashley has for current and future math students that attend USD is:

“Don’t give up! It may get hard but it’s so worth it in the end. Math can open so many doors. Also make friends and talk to people within the major, or even in Linux. My best friends have come out of the Math and CS departments and I wouldn't’t be graduating without all their help!”


Austin Schiff smiling and posing Alumni Highlight: Austin Schiff

Austin Schiff will graduate in May 2018, upon graduation, Austin plans to head to Pensacola, FL. for US Navy flight school to become a Naval Aviator (Pilot).

Favorite Movie: Austin's favorite movie is Miracle, because "who doesn't like seeing USA beat Russians."

Favorite Mathematics Course: Calculus III or PDE's, both with professor Pruski. 

Austin's advice for current and future math students at USD: 

"Teamwork makes the dream work."

Chaise Brown Smiling Alumni Highlight: Chaise Brown Chaise is currently a software engineer for Arrowhead General Insurance Agency in downtown San Diego. Her biggest advice would be to find ways to link academic interest and personal interests either through research, paid internships, or personal projects. For Chaise, getting hands-on experience in student's academic field of interest makes a huge difference when transitioning from an academic-based to a business-based environment.
Ryan smiling Alumni Highlight: Ryan DeMuse

Ryan received a Masters of Science in Mathematics, from the University of Denver in Spring 2017. He is currently working towards finishing a PhD in Mathematics also at the University of Denver. During his time with the University of Denver, Ryan has been the instructor of record for two classes - College Algebra and Calculus II. His research is in the area of Random Graphs. This is at the intersection of several areas of mathematics such as, Probability Theory, External Graph Theory, Mathematical Physics, etc. He has a website through the University of Denver on his research: students who decide to go to grad school, he recommends to take as many upper division classes as possible. Especially, Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis, Topology, and Algebra. He also finds it is important to take applied math classes, such as Computer Science, Engineering and Statistics courses, because they will help immensely in the job market. He advises current students to keep options open if they are unsure of what to do. Ryan enjoys hiking in the mountains and exercising. His favorite book is The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Tim Berend smiling Alumni Highlight: Tim Berend

Tim is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Financial Mathematics at the University of Minnesota and expected to graduate in Spring 2019. He works full time as an investment Analyst for Intact Investment Management US, doing a blend of finance and software development. Tim's Biggest advice is "get internship experience, if you want to work in a professional setting. Two internships post sophomore and junior year summers, go a long way when interviewing for a post grad position." He believes resorting to further education after undergrad if you cant find a job is not opportune. Give yourself at least six months to search for jobs. Specialization is important when seeking higher education. To Tim, a Masters Degree in Applied Math tends to sound ambiguous to employers. Having emphasis shows you have a clear goal. Tim's favorite book is The Black Swan by Nicholas Nassim Taleb. This book is highly recommended for students interested in statistics. His favorite movie is Inception. Tim also enjoys fantasy sports, fitness, cooking and learning new programming languages during his free time.