In this talk, I will describe my journey from segregation to becoming a research Mathematician of African descent, a rarity in mathematics. This journey is in the backdrop of Virginia’s massive resistance to integration and happened in the same community with the characters in the movie and book "Hidden Figures." My journey continued in becoming the Department Head of a major research mathematics and statistics department and the Dean of a major research university. I will also describe briefly some of my research in fluid mechanics and math biology.

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About the Speaker

Nathaniel Whitaker's research interests are broad. They include fluid mechanics, math biology, mathematical physics, and numerical bifurcation theory. His awards and honors include AMS Einstein Public Lecture, NAM Clayton-Woodard Lecture, UMass System-Wide Presidents Award for Public Service, and the UMass Commitment to Diversity Award. He has served on many prestigious national committees in mathematics. He is a professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he began his academic career as an assistant professor in 1987. He has served as department head since 2018, excluding a year where he served as acting Dean of the College of Natural Sciences. He received a BA from Hampton Institute in Economics, an MA in Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and a PhD in Mathematics under the supervision of Alexandre Chorin from the University of California Berkeley.

Nathaniel Whitaker, University of Massachusetts Amherst