Faculty Profile: Dr. David Muraki, Mathematics

November 14, 2011

We're delighted to profile the winners of the inaugural Dean's Awards for Excellence in Graduate Studies. Dr. David Muraki received a 2011 award for Excellence in Graduate Leadership.

The 2012 awards are now open for nominations. Nomination deadline is November 15.

Upon his arrival at SFU, David Muraki introduced two ideas to the applied mathematics grad program: a Friday-afternoon problem-solving group and graduate student poster sessions for his students’ final course projects.

Ten years later, many mathematics graduate courses finish with similar presentations, and the department’s students and alumni continue to speak admiringly of the skills they learned in the problem-solving group. The results of the problems, which have recently included drawing an elephant through Fourier coefficients and analyzing the math of digital music encoding, are a record of the students' striving to see the world through mathematical eyes.

Dr. Colin Macdonald, a Governor General’s Gold Medal winner, comments, “The weekly applied mathematics problem solving sessions were a novel, memorable, educational and often humbling part of my SFU experience. These sessions taught me that it’s not enough to go to lectures and do the homework: we need to be able to draw on what we’ve learned and be able to apply it in new situations.”

Dr. Muraki’s departmental colleagues strongly agree that he deserves this leadership award, calling him “unique and amazing” and saying that he’s always ready with suggestions on how to improve the graduate program and the graduate student experience, as well as how best to prepare students for their future careers.

From recruiting stellar undergraduate students to ensuring that all graduate students are engaged with the department to opening career doors for students, whether in industry or academia, David Muraki continues to model excellence in graduate leadership.

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