Mathematics and Statistics Faculty Earn Coveted NSF CAREER Awards

Two faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Xingjie (Helen) Li and Kevin McGoff, have each received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

CAREER awards are among the most prestigious in support of early-career faculty. The CAREER Program supports faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their organizations.

With her five-year funding, which is expected to total $400,000, Li will focus on the development of a new and quantitative coupling framework for defective 2D systems. The wide range of properties from 2D materials pose a unique challenge for mathematical modeling and computation. The overarching goal of this project is to develop constitutive mathematical models and corresponding high order numerical schemes for the deformation of 2D materials with provable performance.

Li’s work will provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. She also plans to initiative a new Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics /Association for Women In Mathematics chapter and organize departmental colloquium for students. She will organize an outreach program for science and mathematics education annually in the Carolina region, and she plans to organize an AWM Research Symposium.

Learn more about Li’s research here.

colorful crystals










With his five-year funding, which is anticipated to total $419,367, McGoff will analyze dynamical systems, specifically addressing the two interrelated questions of how typical dynamical systems behave, and what can be learned from observations of a dynamical system or group action. The theoretical tools produced by this research will be of broad use in informing the inferential methodology in fields such asgeometric morphometrics, shape analysis, and systems biology and could therefore advance understanding of important biological processes.

In addition to the research outcomes, McGoff’s project is expected to contribute to the education of students ranging from middle school to university graduate level. He will work with students from the Pre-College STEM Program at the UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education. Additionally, the K-12 engagement activities will be disseminated to teachers through workshops and professional development.

Learn more about McGoff’s Research here.

Kevin McGoff on greenway











Words and Images: Lynn Roberson | Illustrations: Ashley Plyler | Top Image: McGoff (left) and Li.


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