SIAM News Blog

Celebrating Women at SIAM

March is Women's History Month, and to celebrate, SIAM is featuring women within our community for their contributions to the applied mathematics and computational science field. Read the spotlights of Folashade Agusto, Daniela Calvetti, Kerstin Jordaan, Jing-Rebecca Li, Diana Rubio, and Jessica Zhang below. We also encourage you to read through our compilation of resources and networks for women in STEM, and learn more about our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Folashade Agusto

Dr. Folashade Agusto is a trained applied mathematician based in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Agusto earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2008). She also taught mathematics at the Federal University of Technology Akure in Nigeria. Her work focuses on designing novel models to understand emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of public health importance and how to mitigate the risks they pose to human health. Dr. Agusto has been a SIAM member for 11 years and currently serves on the SIAM Student Paper Prize Selection Committee and the Diversity Advisory Committee.

Watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Agusto’s research, her involvement in SIAM, and her advice to early career professionals.

Daniela Calvetti

Dr. Daniela Calvetti is the Jones Williamson Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics at Case Western Reserve University. After completing her undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Bologna, she moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from where she received her Ph.D. in mathematics (1989). Before joining Case Western in 1997, she was a faculty member at Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Calvetti has been a SIAM member for 36 years and was recently named a 2023 SIAM Fellow. She has co-authored three SIAM books, entitled The Less Is More Linear Algebra of Vector Spaces and Matrices, Computational Mathematical Modeling: An Integrated Approach Across Scales, and Mathematics of Data Science: A Computational Approach to Clustering and Classification. She also sits on the SIAM Fellows Canvasing Committee and is an associate editor for SIAM Review.

Watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Calvetti’s research, her involvement in SIAM, and her advice to early career professionals.

Kerstin Jordaan

Dr. Kerstin Jordaan completed her Ph.D. in orthogonal polynomials and approximation theory at the University of the Witwatersrand (2003). She joined the University of South Africa as a full professor in the Department of Decision Sciences in 2017, where she currently conducts research in mathematics, supervises postgraduate students, and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules in financial engineering, financial mathematics, and data science to students in commerce and operations research. She has been a SIAM member for 16 years and remains and active member of the SIAM Activity Group on Orthogonal Polynomials and Special Functions.

Watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Jordaan’s research, her involvement in SIAM, and her advice to early career professionals.

Jing-Rebecca Li

Dr. Jing-Rebecca Li graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics (1995), where she received very important mentoring from Peter Duren and Robert Krasny. She earned her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2000) where she applied numerical linear algebra techniques to a problem from electrical engineering and benefitted from unwavering support from her advisor, Jacob White. As a postdoc at the Courant Institute at New York University for three years, Dr. Li learned most of what she knows about numerical methods for PDEs from Leslie Greengard.

Afterwards, she moved to Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (Inria) in France (2003) to start a life in a new country with her European husband. After a period of challenging adaption to French academic culture, she found a new and enriching research environment. Dr. Li was welcomed first to the research team of Patrick Joly that specialized in wave phenomena, and then to the high field MRI neuroimaging center, Neurospin, where she was introduced to many aspects of MRI physics and neuroscience by Denis Le Bihan. She is currently a member of the Idefix Team at Inria, headed by Houssem Haddar, where the focus is on mathematical inverse problems. She has been an active member of SIAM for 13 years. 

Watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Li’s research, her involvement in SIAM, and her advice to early career professionals.

Diana Rubio

Dr. Diana Rubio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and completed her undergraduate studies in applied mathematics at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), where she also pursued coursework in the computational sciences. She received both undergraduate and graduate scholarships at UBA and a graduate research fellowship at the Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, where she began collaborating with physicists and engineers. Subsequently, she obtained a teaching assistantship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, earning her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics and conducting her research at the Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Mathematics. Afterwards, Dr. Rubio held a postdoctoral position at the Center for Research in Scientific Computation, North Carolina State University. She later returned to Buenos Aires, where she currently serves as a full time associate professor and the Director of the Doctorate in Applied Sciences and Engineering at the Universidad Nacional de San Martin. She also teaches classes as a professor for engineering students at Universidad Favaloro.

Dr. Rubio's research interests include mathematical modeling, inverse problems, simulation, and control. She has been a member of SIAM since 1999, as an outreach member. In 2005, Dr. Rubio, Dr. Ruben Spies, Dr. Maria Ines Troparevsky, and Dr. Domingo Tarzia collaborated with ICIAM directors Dr. Max Gunzburguer, Terry Herdman, John Burns, and Eugene Cliff at Virginia Tech to establish the Argentina Section of SIAM (ARSIAM) with the aim of promoting applied and computational mathematics in Argentina. At that time, SIAM had only seven members in Argentina, but within a couple of months, more than 50 individuals from various disciplines became SIAM members and endorsed the creation of the section. In 2008, Dr. Rubio played a key role in founding the Asociación Argentina de Matemática Aplicada, Computacional e Industrial (ASAMACI). She has served as the Argentina Section of SIAM President since 2021, previously holding the position of secretary since the section’s inception. SIAM provides funding that greatly supports the biennial meetings organized by ARSIAM in collaboration with ASAMACI.

Since Dr. Rubio was a child, she has been interested in solving real-life problems using mathematical tools. In a word of advice to early career professionals, she shares that collaboration with scientists and researchers from other disciplines is immensely important and enriching, despite the additional effort it entails.

Jessica Zhang

Dr. Jessica Zhang is the George Tallman Ladd and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with a courtesy appointment in biomedical engineering. She received her B.Eng. in automotive engineering, and M.Eng. in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University, China; she also earned an M.Eng. in aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and a Ph.D. in computational engineering and sciences from the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Zhang’s research interests include computational geometry, isogeometric analysis (IGA), finite element method (FEM), data-driven simulation, image processing, and their applications in computational biomedicine, materials science, and engineering. She has made fundamental and innovative contributions in three main areas: image-based geometric modeling and mesh generation for complex domains; volumetric spline modeling and IGA; and novel FEM and IGA applications in biomedicine, materials science, and engineering. 

Dr. Zhang is a 2023 SIAM Fellow, has co-authored over 220 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and received several best paper awards. In 2015 she published a book, entitled Geometric Modeling and Mesh Generation from Scanned Images. Dr. Zhang is the recipient of the Simons Visiting Professorship from Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach of Germany, the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an NSF CAREER Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and the USACM Gallagher Young Investigator Award. At CMU, she received the David P. Casasent Outstanding Research Award, the George Tallman Ladd and Florence Barrett Ladd Professorship, the George Tallman Ladd Research Award, and was recognized as a Clarence H. Adamson Career Faculty Fellow in Mechanical Engineering and a Donald L. & Rhonda Struminger Faculty Fellow. She is a a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics, Solid Modeling Association, and Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science at Drexel University. Additionally, she is the Editor-in-Chief of Engineering with Computers.

Since joining SIAM in 2012, Dr. Zhang has been actively participating in many SIAM events which have all been very important for her academic career development. She is the current Program Director of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design and recently served as a committee chair for the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design Early Career Prize (2022-23). She is the Chair of SIAM Conference on Computational Geometric Design (GD25) and the 2025 SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop. She also organized the Symposium on Splines and Subdivision at the 2021 SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling, the Symposium of V-Rep and IGA for Design and Additive Manufacturing at the 2019 SIAM Conference on Computational Geometric Design, and the Symposium of Recent Advances in Parallel Meshing Algorithms at the 2014 SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific Computing.

Moreover, Dr. Zhang served on the Organizing Committee of the SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop (2024) and the Scientific Committee of SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling (2013; 2015; 2021). She has delivered multiple plenary talks and chaired many sessions at SIAM conferences. In addition, she has been actively sending students to conferences and their associated professional development sessions, and she is keen on promoting junior, female, and minority researchers through her leadership roles in SIAM.

Dr. Zhang would like to advise early career professionals to be passionate and proactive in novel, emerging, and evolving research areas centered around fundamentals of the applied mathematics and computational science field. She emphasizes that being open and active in participating in SIAM activities and conferences is important, too. “You will learn from other brilliant people, make friends, and engage with the SIAM community,” she said.

 Relevant Resources & Networks

SIAM’s Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion  

As a professional society, SIAM is committed to empowering equitable, diverse, and inclusive participation in all aspects of our community. SIAM will provide a climate that encourages the open expression and exchange of ideas, that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and that is welcoming and comfortable to all members and to those who participate in its activities. 

In pursuit of this commitment, SIAM is dedicated to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all participants regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, disabilities, veteran status, and field of expertise.