Name: David Austin, Choctaw

Discipline: Theoretical Mathematics

University/Year: University of Utah, 1989

Current Position: Professor, Grand Valley State University

Research Interests:  Low-dimensional topology originally, now more applied math and data science


David earned a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Rice University in 1983 and then a PhD in mathematics from the University of Utah in 1989 working in low-dimensional topology and gauge theory.  He spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study on an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship before beginning a faculty position in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia.  After earning tenure at UBC, David decided to leave for his current position at Grand Valley State University where he could pursue a wider range of scholarly activities.  He is a long-time contributing writer for the American Mathematical Society’s online Feature Column, the author of the open-access textbook Understanding Linear Algebra, and a member of the editorial board for the American Institute of Mathematics’ Open Textbook Initiative.  One of his favorite courses is the project-based applied math capstone course where students spend the semester working on data science problems that originate with community partners.  In 2021, the Mathematical Association of America named David a recipient of the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.