Four Carleton mathematics and statistics faculty members receive grants

Professors Rafe Jones, Claire Kelling, MurphyKate Montee, and Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh all received grants this summer.

19 September 2023 Posted In:
Center for Mathematics and Computing, from the side on a cloudless day.

Over the course of six weeks this summer, four faculty members in Carleton’s mathematics and statistics department—Rafe Jones, Claire Kelling, MurphyKate Montee, and Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh—were awarded five grants. An unusual number for a single department to receive in such a short time, the grants will provide valuable support for each of the professors and their work at Carleton. To learn more about grants at Carleton, visit the Grants Office website.

Learn more about the faculty and their grants:

Rafe Jones, professor of mathematics and chair of mathematics and statistics

Headshot of Rafe Jones.

Jones received an inaugural American Mathematical Society-Simons Research Enhancement Grant for Primarily Undergraduate Institution Faculty (AMS-Simons PUI). With generous funding from the Simons Foundation, the Menger Women, and the AMS, the AMS-Simons PUI grant is a three-year award to support research-related activities. Jones will use these funds to connect with collaborators, either by traveling to them or supporting their travel to Carleton. These trips will help nourish existing research projects and create new directions for the coming years.

“Charlotte Whited and Quinn Arnold in the Grants Office were both instrumental in my grant being funded,” Jones said. “I’d certainly like to thank them.”

Claire Kelling, assistant professor of statistics

Headshot of Claire Kelling.

Kelling received two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF): an NSF Conference grant and a Launching Early-Career Academic Pathways in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (LEAPS-MPS) grant.

The conference grant will provide support for participants—including statisticians, community partners, sociologists, and students—attending the Statistical Challenges in the Analysis of Police Use of Force forum, which will be hosted at Carleton in November 2023. The forum seeks to foster interdisciplinary collaboration that is crucial to the development of innovative, data-driven approaches to address the complex issue of police use of force and will highlight unique approaches and perspectives to improve the quality of evidence used to inform reform efforts. The forum is part of a series of workshops titled, “Statistics Serving Society,” hosted by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS).

The LEAPS-MPS grant, “Development of Models in Spatial Statistics for Complex Policing and Social Science Applications,” will lead to the development of methods to better capture spatial uncertainty and incorporate the complexities of increasingly rich spatial data in the social sciences. This two-year project will allow Kelling, other researchers, and community members to better answer research questions relevant to public policy.

“The Grants Office at Carleton… has helped me not only with the logistics of submitting grants at Carleton, but also by giving feedback on how to create a stronger application,” Kelling said. “I really appreciate their time and efforts, and I feel confident that the success of these applications is partially due to their incredible support!”

MurphyKate Montee, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Headshot of MurphyKate Montee.

Montee also received an NSF LEAPS-MPS grant for her project, “Cubulation and Property (T) in Random Groups.” This two-year project, which will involve student researchers, aims to understand mathematical groups by starting with a randomly chosen abstract group and then studying the space(s) whose symmetries it could describe. Montee’s grant includes support for her ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity and connections for undergraduate women and other underrepresented individuals within mathematics through groups such as Gender Minorities in Math/Stats (GeMMs), mentor/mentee programs, book clubs, and other community building activities at Carleton.

“I’d like to thank Quinn Arnold and Charlotte Whited for all their help, and especially Charlotte for putting this program on my radar and reminding me of deadlines,” Montee said. “I’d also like to thank all the faculty members who have shared their applications; looking at those was extremely helpful!”

Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh, assistant professor of mathematics

Headshot of Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh.

Turnage-Butterbaugh received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant for her project, “Research in and Pathways to Analytic Number Theory.” The CAREER grant program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty “who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” Throughout the five-year period of the grant, Turnage-Butterbaugh will conduct research focusing on long-standing open problems in analytic number theory. In addition to the research objectives, she will author “Pathway Projects” to provide novel, comprehensive guides to areas of active research in analytic number theory, and implement an educational program to work with Carleton students at the beginning of their college-level mathematical training.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this grant from the NSF, and I am grateful to my colleagues at Carleton who helped make the proposal a success,” Turnage-Butterbaugh said. “In particular, I thank Deanna Haunsperger for collaborating with me to design the educational program of the project, Charlotte Whited for her guidance in preparing the various components of the proposal, and Dee Menning for expertly navigating to make sure everything was submitted on time and to spec. Thanks, also, to Quinn Arnold and Susan Benson, who continually provide guidance about grant management.”