This year is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Heather Zinn Brooks’ first teaching at Harvey Mudd! She is a first generation college student who attended the University of Utah for both her undergraduate and graduate work. After receiving her Ph.D in Mathematics, she spent two years at UCLA in a postdoctoral position with the math department. Professor Zinn Brooks first became interested in Harvey Mudd during her graduate studies, but it was spending two years in Southern California that cinched her desire to stay in the area. According to her, “it was a no-brainer to apply” when Mudd was hiring. This semester, Professor Zinn Brooks is teaching Mathematical Analysis. Next semester, she’ll be teaching the second core math class, Linear Algebra! Professor Zinn Brooks is especially interested in topics where she “can link course content with real world applications and current research.”
Professor Zinn Brooks’ research centers on nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, meaning she works on developing mathematical models that imitate real-world systems, often social or biological ones. In practice, this can involve everything from network theory to differential equations. Her favorite part of Mudd so far is the sense of community.
Outside of teaching, Professor Zinn Brooks has many varied interests. She enjoys the outdoors, and loves everything from hiking and climbing to backpacking and rafting. In addition, she plays the flute and loves music (before she changed her undergraduate major to math, it was music!) This year, Professor Zinn Brooks is most looking forward to getting to know everyone better, “even if it’s via Zoom.”