Stephen DeBacker

As an undergraduate, Stephen DeBacker was inspired to pursue mathematics by renowned teaching masters Gerald Alexanderson and Paul Halmos. He survived graduate school thanks largely to the enthusiastic and effective mentoring of his thesis advisor, the legendary Paul J. Sally, Jr. He tries to pay forward some small part of his debt to these great teachers by working to inspire the next generation of scholars. Since arriving at the University of Michigan in 2002, he has served as director of the Michigan Math Circle, the Michigan Math and Science Scholars, and the Michigan Mathematics Undergraduate Program. He has also worked with elementary and secondary school teachers through the SESAME program (in both Chicago and Boston). In 2011 he was appointed as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and in 2012 he was named Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year for Michigan.

Learning Math “Matrix” Style

This past week I participated in the Department’s placement and advising of incoming LSA international transfer students.  Due to visa issues, these students are among the last to participate in summer orientation.  This year there were about 160 international transfer students, most of them from China.  I very much enjoy working with these enthusiastic, bright, jet-lagged …

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