NSF Graduate Research Fellow Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz to Study Advanced Algebra at Michigan

Posted May 12th, 2011 at 11:48 am.

Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz '11

Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz '11

Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz of Highland Park, N.J., is one of five Bryn Mawr graduates and alumnae who have been awarded a 2011 Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Rebhuhn-Glanz plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Michican beginning next year, with a focus on either algebra or number theory.

Rebhuhn-Glanz is graduating this spring with a joint A.B./M.A. degree in mathematics, and she cites her graduate coursework as a distinct advantage in competing for the NSF award and enabling her to get an early start on Ph.D. research.
Math began to fascinate Rebhuhn-Glanz early, thanks to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. After studying mathematical proofs, she says, “I went ahead in my math classes, taking as many advanced courses as I could and spending as much time as possible on them. By the time I started at Bryn Mawr, I knew that I wanted to major in math.”

At Bryn Mawr, she has been active in the Distressing Math Collective, Bryn Mawr’s undergraduate math club. The group meets weekly, and meetings are often organized around student presentations. “I have given at least one talk per semester since my freshman year,” Rehbuhn-Glanz says.

The summer after her sophomore year, Rehbuhn-Glanz attended the Summer Program for Women in Mathematics (SPWM) at George Washington University, an experience that reinforced her desire to pursue advanced study of mathematics in graduate school. Upon returning to Bryn Mawr in the fall of her junior year, she took her first graduate course in algebra, and the die was cast.

“It was the most challenging and fascinating course I have ever taken,” she says.

The graduate algebra course had a few unexpected benefits. Because students presented homework problems to the class, she learned how to marshal her thoughts and present them in an environment that was somewhat more formal than the undergraduate math-club meetings. The process helped improve her writing, she says.

Serving as a TA for undergraduate algebra sessions also proved to be a boon, Rebhuhn-Glanz notes. Looking at the problem through the eyes of students who had not yet mastered it and finding ways to point them in the right direction without doing the work for them made her feel that she “understood the information in much more depth than before .”

Rebhuhn-Glanz’s research internship at the University of Michigan last summer introduced her to commutative algebra—but just as importantly, she learned from the background reading she did to prepare for the research that she can teach herself mathematics.

As she advances in the field, Rebhuhn-Glanz plans to contribute to programs like the ones that have encouraged her through the years. “I hope that throughout graduate school and my career, I am able to continue sharing not only my love of mathematics, but also my belief that others can do mathematics, too,” she says.

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