(by Christine Foster)
James Ricci PhD `14 was awarded a 2018-2019 Congressional Fellowship. The program is administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in conjunction with The American Mathematical Society.
During this year-long fellowship, Ricci will be paired with either a member of Congress or a congressional committee. Fellows work as special legislative assistants learning about policy creation and contributing their own technical and academic expertise. “They are looking for people who are able to speak clearly and be advocates for STEM education,” says Ricci, who spoke by phone from a salmon fishing boat in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he is working this summer. “I am hopeful that I am all of those things.”
At Wesleyan, Ricci did research on number theory, with a primary focus on the arithmetic theory of quadratic forms. In April 2014 he was chosen as graduate student of the year. Since finishing his PhD, he has been working as an assistant professor of mathematics at Daemen College, near Buffalo, N.Y.
At Daemen, Ricci has worked on a team working to improve retention of students entering with weaker math backgrounds. This included reworking a computer science course he teaches adding in engaging current topics including cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence and net neutrality.