Congratulations to Dr. Alessandra Pantano! She has been awarded a grant from the Mathematical Association of America.

The MAA National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP) "supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics." The program is funded by the NSF's Division of Mathematical Sciences and by the National Security Agency.

Dr. Pantano's project will lead five UCI undergraduate minority students in an intensive 6-week summer research program in the field of Group Theory. In the first project, students will be engaged on a mathematical exploration of the Escher’s drawings; in particular, they will determine generators and relations for the symmetry group underlying a given drawing and compute its signature (in the sense of Conway). In the second project, students will investigate symmetry groups of lower dimensional Sudoku grids and Sudoku variants, and formulate conjectures regarding the minimum number of clues in a uniquely solvable Sudoku puzzle.

Dr. Pantano's specialization is in representation theory and mathematical education. She earned her PhD from Princeton University in 2004. From 2004-2007, she served as an H. C. Wang Assistant Professor at Cornell University. She arrived to UCI in 2007, where she is currently a Lecturer PSOE.