I grew up in Hilo, Hawaii and in 2001 I graduated from Hilo High School. I left Hawaii for Chicago, IL to pursue an engineering degree. I quickly learned that engineering was not for me. Without a focus or goal in my life, I dropped out of school and worked odd jobs in Chicago, and then back in Hawaii, before returning to school.
When I started school again at UH Hilo, I majored in mathematics, because that was where most of my transferred credits were. However as I started taking courses in mathematics I started to gain a new perspective of the subject. For so much of my life I thought math was about solving equations through rote symbolic manipulation. But at UH Hilo I learned that was about discovering new patterns and properties, and creating your own mathematical ideas.
The faculty of the UH Hilo Math Department were incredibly supportive. They spoke to me about the culture of mathematics and their own research. They offered me independent studies, and encouraged me to go on to graduate school. Here is where I made my decision: I would pursue a doctorate in mathematics. Afterwards I would find a position where I could offer students the type of support and mentorship I was given. Outside of the classroom, I would be an advocate and ambassador for mathematics.
In 2007 I started graduate school at the University of Montana. I did a Masters Thesis with Dr. Nikolaus Vonesson on The Brauer Group of a Field, and a Doctoral Thesis on Abstracted Affine Primal-Dual Programming with Dr. George McRae. Dr. McRae was a huge influence on my mathematical philosophy. Where some mathematicians tend to silo themselves in areas of speciality, Dr. McRae encouraged his students to explore other branches of mathematics and to search for interconnections between these branches. I also participated in mathematical outreach programs such as Math Circle with Dr. Jenny McNulty, as a way to be a public proponent of mathematics.
Montana is also where I met my future wife Tara and my stepson Byron!
After graduating with my doctorate, I joined the faculty of Newberry College in Fall 2014. After three years, I have returned to Montana to join the faculty of Montana State University-Billings!
I really like cooking, and acquiring various gadgets and watching cooking shows. I'm a fan of stand up comedy, documentaries and podcasts, anything that makes you think. I like the outdoors and hike or swim when I get the chance. I'm a casual boxing fan. My most recent hobby though is my new son Maxton, born April 29th 2016!