Faculty Profile

Jo-Ellis Monaghan, PhD

Professor of Mathematics

Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
M.S. University of Vermont
B.A. Bennington College

View my personal website

Areas of Expertise:

Algebraic combinatorics, especially graph polynomials, and applied graph theory in statistical mechanics, computer chip design and bioinformatics. 

Courses I Teach:

Calculus I, II, III

During the academic year and summers, I work with several students on collaborative research projects. I have facilitated interdisciplinary work with students doing research in mathematics and also in computer science, physics, biology, or chemistry.

Self Assembly Design Strategies

I am one of three professors who earned Saint Michael's College a $578,500 grant from the National Science Foundation enabling the college to provide 20 scholarships in math and computer science. 

I also recently completed a visiting fellowship at the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. The fellowship was in the combinatorics and statistical mechanics program.

Life Off Campus:

Outside of Saint Michael’s, I paint and make pots. I grew up on an island in Alaska, and can gut and gill a salmon in under fifteen seconds. I still live on an island and grow lots of fruits and vegetables.

Jo Ellis-Monaghan, professor of mathematics, will make a presentation, "The Shapes of Sea Shells: Mathematical Beauty in the Natural World," at the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2013 Annual Meeting in Boston on February 15, 2013. Here's how Jo describes her presentation for the meeting’s program: "Part of the natural beauty of seashell derives from the visual rhythm of their self-replicating whorls. We give a mathematical model that captures sea shell morphology using space curves, parameterized surfaces, and Frenet frames. We show how the growth parameters of this model may be measured from x-rays or cross sections of actual shells, and then 3-D computer generated simulations of the intact shell produced.  We conclude with a gallery of 'fantasy' shells, that is, shells created solely for their artistic appeal, but which also demonstrate the effects of manipulating the parameters of the model. The basic shell model may be taught at the undergraduate level (e.g. calculus III, vector calculus, or differential geometry), and provides a beautiful and engaging introduction to mathematical modeling. It is available as a 'discovery-learning' module through ILAP/COMAP."

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