SIAM Committee on Science Policy

Having spent the last few days in Washington, D.C., I want to express special thanks to Nick Higham and Dave Levermore for inviting me to serve on the SIAM Committee on Science Policy. It has been very interesting to hear more about different aspects of national science policy and federal funding directly from the people directing these efforts. And I have been inspired seeing the many ways in which the members of this committee advocate for science. I’m truly honored to be part of this group.

If you want to learn more about what happens when the Committee visits Washington, I recommend the recent SIAM News article by Natalie Sheils, “Reflections from a SIAM Science Policy Fellowship Recipient.” Postdoctoral researchers and early career researchers interested in becoming new science policy fellows can submit applications through December 7.

Sun rising over the U.S. Capitol, November 19, 2018

New Chronicle Video Based on Our “5 Tips” For Chairs

I’m excited to see the new Two-Minute Tips video posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Two-Minute Tips are billed as “Short videos to help you excel in the academic workplace.” This week’s video is based on the essay I recently co-wrote with Rob Kramer titled “5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as Department Head.”

5 Tips on Surviving Your FIrst Year as a Department Head

I’m very excited about our advice essay appearing in this week’s The Chronicle of Higher Education, coauthored with Rob Kramer.

Rob and I together co-facilitate the Chairs Leadership Program at the Institute for the Arts & Humanities here at UNC. Our essay aims to concisely summarize some of the common lessons we’ve seen department chairs learn as they work through their first year in the position. I am grateful to Rob and to the IAH for the opportunity to work with the amazing people who come through this program each year.

Graduation 2018

With congratulations to all of the graduates who celebrated this past weekend, I am particularly proud of and will miss the three group members who wore their caps and gowns. Dr. Sam Heroy will move to England later this summer to start a postdoctoral position at Oxford. Dr. Natalie Stanley is moving all too immediately to California to start her postdoctoral position at Stanford. Nic Larsen graduated with his bachelors degree and will start graduate school this fall at NC State.

The assortment of pictures below is from the Ph.D. hooding ceremony. Even though I enjoyed my funny photobomb, my favorite picture is the one of Natalie and Sam with UNC’s most famous alumnus (well, sort of with him, down in the halls under the Smith Center). We had a little bit of spare time down there since I obviously erred on the side of getting there early.

Graduation Day 2016

Congratulations to all of the graduates who particpated in yesterday’s ceremonies here at Carolina. From our research group, Charlie Ramsey and Jessica Davis both graduated with their B.S. degrees yesterday, while Hsuan-Wei “Wayne” Lee was recognized as he nears the completion date of his Ph.D. (with final defense expected this Summer).

2016-05-08 13.58.53 HDR

Charlie and Jessica, it’s been a pleasure to have you in the group over this past year. Best wishes to both of you in your future endeavors.

And Wayne, it’s been a pleasure too; but we’ll save the final congratulations until you finish! (smile)

Saray Shai presents at DNAC

IMG_2604 Postdoctoral associate Saray Shai presented in today’s seminar in the Duke Network Analysis Center (DNAC), continuing our group’s long-standing association with the DNAC. Saray’s presentation on Attacks of modular networks described her recent work towards understanding the relationship between modular structures in multilayer networks and their vulnerability to failure.

Open postdoctoral position

We currently have a position open for a postdoctoral associate focused on structures and dynamics in networks.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work interdisciplinarily with a wide range of networks activities at UNC and Duke, and with other national and international collaborators of Mucha’s networks research group. If desired, applicants with the requisite teaching experience will be considered for a teaching assignment in Mathematics. The position is renewable based on satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

Previous research experience in the study of networks is required. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated expertise in clustering, community detection, modeling infections, information spread, and/or networked dynamical systems.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes all to apply, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Applicants should submit their application through, including: (i) a current vita including all publications and submitted articles, (ii) a current research statement, and (iii) three reference letters that address research qualifications for the position.

The current round of applications closes on Wednesday, March 4th.

Nishant Malik presents at DNAC

2014-10-20 12.44.04Postdoctoral associate Nishant Malik gave a wonderful presentation in today’s seminar at the Duke Network Analysis Center on Social environment and social clustering in spread of opinions in co-evolving networks, nicely summarizing one of his paper’s published last year along with new work that is currently in preparation in collaboration with former graduate student Bill Shi and current student Wayne Lee.




Dr. Saray Shai joins group

saray.jpgEarlier this summer, Dr. Saray Shai joined our research group. A recent graduate of the School of Computer Science at University of St. Andrews, Saray’s thesis was on “Coupled complex networks: structure, adaptation, and processes.” Before St. Andrews, Saray graduated with honors from the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) with a B.Sc. in Mathematics and B.Sc. in Computer Science.

Saray brings her expertise to Carolina to work with Mucha’s group on projects funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, particularly in the area of multilayer networks. In future years, Saray may also teach a course in the Department of Mathematics.

Congratulations Dr. Simi Wang

IMG 7513 Congratulations to Dr. Simi Wang for successfully defending her Ph.D. on “Modeling Networks in Nanorod Composites and Power Grids” last month. In her work, she worked collaboratively with her fellow student Feng “Bill” Shi to model linear electrical responses in nano rod composites, and she took that work in a new direction by studying the dielectric response and nonlinear breakdown for systems at rod volume fractions below the percolation transition. Her work also includes applications of network methods for studying the sensitivity of power grids, in joint work with collaborators at PNNL.

Simi leaves Carolina for Seattle to start an exciting job at Amazon, where she interned last summer.

Simi and Bill walked together at today’s doctoral hooding ceremony (Bill finished his degree last summer too late to walk in last year’s ceremony). The two of them have been so central to our research group for so long that it won’t feel the same without them. I am very proud of both of them and look forward to hearing about their future activities and accomplishments.