Faculty and Staff
Kristen Amman is an assistant professor of mathematics in her first year on the committee. She studies student perceptions of their learning experiences across the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Her current work investigates student experiences relearning content they have seen before in contexts such as retaken Calculus courses or mathematics content courses for future teachers. She earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has participated in several women-led mentorship events at the annual Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (RUME) conference. Kristen greatly looks forward to learning more about participants' research and welcomes any and all questions from those interested in mathematics education research.
Lindsay Augustyn is associate director for the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, which assists with conference logistics. She oversees conferences and workshops, and focuses on graphic design, such as the creation of brochures, magazines and promotional materials for events. Her background is in newspaper design and editing, as well as the hospitality industry. She graduated from UNL with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in journalism. This is her 13th year on the committee.
Mike Bergland-Riese joined the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education in 2022, after working for the past 10 years with Nebraska Extension. In his new role, Mike is an Events and Outreach Specialist with the CSMCE, providing leadership and expertise in planning and delivering STEM-focused events. Mike received his Bachelor of Science in hospitality, restaurant, and tourism management and Master of Arts in marketing, communications studies and advertising from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This is his second year on the committee.
Dr. Huijing Du has been on the NCUWM Organizing Committee since 2016. She got her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and then she was a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Irvine. Her research is in the area of computational and mathematical biology, in particular using multiscale modeling tools to investigate complex multicellular biological systems.
Dr. Christine Kelley has been on the NCUWM Organizing Committee since 2008 and is currently co-chair. Her research area is coding theory. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2006, she held postdoctoral research positions at the Fields Institute and The Ohio State University. Her research has been supported by NSF, NSA, and the Simons Foundation. She has supervised several undergraduate research projects, and eight Ph.D. Students. She received the university's Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award in 2010, a College Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012, the Roger Wiegand Award for Contributions to Graduate Students in 2021 and is a 2024 Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is also the director of Project NExT, a professional development program for junior faculty in mathematics, for the Mathematical Association of America.
Dr. Tefjol Pllaha is a postdoctoral faculty in the Department of Mathematics. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kentucky in 2019 under the supervision of Heide Gluesing-Luerssen. Before joining UNL, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. His research interests revolve around applied algebra, with special focus on 5G wireless communication and quantum computation.
Dr. Alex Zupan is in his eighth year on the NCUWM Organizing Committee and is currently co-chair. His research is in geometry and topology. In particular, he studies 3- and 4-dimensional manifolds and the theory of knots in these dimensions. Before arriving at UNL, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and held an NSF Postdoc position at the University of Texas at Austin. He has supervised a number of undergraduate research projects at both UNL and UT.
Abbey D'Ovidio Long is a fifth-year graduate student researching mathematical biology under advisor Dr. Huijing Du. She graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2019 with a major in mathematics and minor in history. In 2021, she received a master's degree in mathematics from UNL. Outside of school, Abbey enjoys hiking and spending time with her husband and cats. This is her second year on the NCUWM Organizing Committee.
Sabrina Klement is a third-year graduate student at UNL. She received her B.S. in applied mathematics and her M.S. in mathematics from Missouri State University. Her research interests are in commutative algebra. She attended NCUWM as an undergraduate and is looking forward to helping create a wonderful experience for others. This is her first year on the committee.
Sam Macdonald is a third-year NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is primarily interested in mathematics education and expanding the accessibility of mathematics, specifically through prison education, the development of open educational resources (OERs), and facilitating positive shifts in mathematical identity at transitionary points in undergraduate education, such as a first calculus or proof based course. Sam graduated from Willamette University in 2020 and from Highland Park Elementary in 2009 with a few other events scattered in-between. This is his first year on the NCUWM Organizing Committee.
Kirsten Morris is a third year graduate student researching coding theory and pursuing a minor in electrical engineering under the advisement of Dr. Christine Kelley. She earned a B.S. in mathematics from Georgia College & State University and an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Georgia. Originally from Savannah, GA, Kirsten loves traveling, learning about new cultures, and creative endeavors. This is her first year on the NCUWM Organizing Committee.