Harvey Mudd Trustees Approve Spring 2024 Faculty Promotions

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Promotions and tenure appointments for Harvey Mudd College faculty members were approved during the January meeting of the HMC Board of Trustees and will become effective July 1, 2024.

Lucas Bang joined the Department of Computer Science in 2018 after earning a PhD in computer science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. His research with Claremont college students has focused on formal methods for quantitative program analysis. In 2020, Bang and George Montañez received funding from the National Science Foundation for a renewal of Harvey Mudd’s Research Experience for Undergraduates site focusing on computer systems, and Bang serves as co-principal investigator on a project to provide an automated, scalable and quantitative approach for assessing software testing difficulty. Also an artist, Bang recently exhibited his work in Harvey Mudd’s Sprague Gallery: Static Dynamic Emergent explores the boundary spaces between stillness, movement and self-reflective generation within a computationally mediated world.

Katherine Breeden joined the Department of Computer Science in 2017 after earning a PhD in computer science at Stanford. She has taught a wide variety of courses at Harvey Mudd, including introductory CS, computer graphics, discrete differential geometry, and first-year writing. Her research interests include human vision, computer graphics and computer science education, with a particular interest in experiential learning. Her professional engagement includes consulting activities for the Schmidt Academy for Software Engineering at Caltech and the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation. She has also served as the academic director for the CS department’s Clinic Program projects for the past three years.

Nicholas Breznay ’02 joined the Department of Physics in 2017. After attending Harvey Mudd with support from an Adele and David Foley Aeronautical Scholarship, he went on to earn M.S. and PhD degrees in applied physics from Stanford University. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley. He is an experimental condensed matter physicist and studies the properties of quantum materials, such as superconductors, magnets and phase-change insulators, using extreme environments of low temperatures, high pressures and intense magnetic fields. This research has been widely published: he has more than a dozen papers in the physics journal Physical Review B, including a paper co-authored with an HMC student “Magnon-spinon dichotomy in the Kitaev hyperhoneycomb β−Li₂IrO₃,” which received the Editor’s Suggestion distinction.

In 2018, Alfred Flores joined Harvey Mudd and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (which serves all undergraduate students of The Claremont Colleges) as an assistant professor of Asian American studies. He holds a PhD in history from UCLA, and his research areas are diaspora, labor, indigeneity, militarism, oral history, and settler colonialism in Oceania. Flores received a competitive National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend in 2023 to fund preliminary archival research and to conduct oral history interviews for his second book, Transoceanic Micronesians: CHamoru and Marshallese Diaspora in Southern California. In his first book, Tip of the Spear: Land, Labor, and U.S. Settler Militarism in Guåhan, Flores explores the tension in the history and relationships between the CHamoru people and the U.S. military in Guåhan.

Mark Ilton joined the Department of Physics in 2018, coming from a post-doctoral position at the Conte Polymer Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Ilton holds a PhD in physics from McMaster University. His research area, funded by the National Science Foundation and HMC’s Physics Summer Research Fund, is the dynamics of energy release in elastomers and impulsive biological systems. Work with students from his Physics of Soft Matter (PoSM) Lab was recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Their paper “Viscoelastic materials are most energy efficient when loaded and unloaded at equal rates” details the group’s investigation of the mechanical energy efficiency of biological springs (e.g., tendons). Ilton was named a Cottrell Scholar in 2023 and is working on a collaborative project to highlight scientists from marginalized backgrounds to help improve science education.

Haydee Lindo joined the Department of Mathematics in 2020 after serving as a Gaius Charles Bolin fellow and then assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Williams College. Lindo earned her PhD from the University of Utah. She is a commutative algebraist with research interests in homological algebra and representation theory. In 2021, Lindo received NSF funding to support her research and research students in developing the theory of trace modules within commutative algebra. Lindo has also received NSF funding to organize conferences for women in commutative algebra. She has served as editor in chief for publications on the board of the National Association of Mathematicians and encourages great math exposition outside of the classroom in her role as a section lecturer for the Mathematical Association of America.

After completing his PhD in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University, George Montañez, joined the Department of Computer Science in 2018. His previous work includes serving as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, interning at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Labs, and serving as a software engineer and full-stack developer. He leads the Artificial Machine Intelligence = Search Targets Awaiting Discovery (AMISTAD) lab, which researches problems in theoretical machine learning, probability, statistics and search. Montanez and his student researchers are widely published in computer science venues, and he and his students (together and on his own) have won several Best Paper awards. With HMC colleague Xanda Schofield ’13, Montañez received NSF funding in 2023 for renewal of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site (computer science) at Harvey Mudd. He held the Iris and Howard Critchell Assistant Professorship for three years and was voted Outstanding Faculty Member in 2021. He received The Claremont Colleges 2020 Diversity Mentor Award, which honors faculty members who provide support and encouragement to historically underrepresented students and colleagues.