Faculty Spotlight

Jan CannizzoJan Cannizzo Jan Cannizzo

Teaching Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies
Department of Mathematical Sciences, School of Engineering and Science

What is your main academic or research focus?
I'm a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and the mathematics that I spend the most time thinking about is connected with group theory and dynamical systems. I'm also very interested in math education. I've spent a lot of time redesigning my courses in an effort to make them more engaging and effective, and I co-founded the Stevens Math Circle Initiative, an outreach program through which Stevens students engage with their local community by conducting extracurricular mathematics with K-12 students. Through a recently awarded National Science Foundation Grant, Gail Baxter, Andrey Nikolaev and I will research the educational impact of this program on STEM undergraduates.

Why did you choose to come to Stevens?
It may be an unenlightening answer, but in short, the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was also nice to return to a familiar area where I still had many friends (see my answer to the next question).

What was your background prior to joining Stevens?
I began my graduate studies in mathematics in Germany before following my doctoral advisor to Canada, where I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa. I was fortunate enough to get a position at Stevens right afterward. Before grad school, I completed my undergraduate degree at Stevens, of all places. Through a completely unexpected but happy coincidence, I would end up returning here as faculty.

What do you like about working at Stevens?
I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in the math department and, of course, interacting with our students. The relatively small size of our undergraduate program makes it possible to get to know almost everyone. Stevens is also a place where I've been able to get involved in many different things, and consequently to form close working relationships with faculty and staff from many different areas.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
Although I don't spend as much time there as I'd like, I enjoy strolling through the green space at the center of campus, flanked by academic buildings old and new.