Math Professor Manda Riehl Continues Rose-Hulman’s Fulbright Scholars Legacy

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Manda Riehl

Mathematics professor Manda Riehl, PhD, will spend a portion of this summer and 2022-23 school year as a Fulbright Faculty Scholar – becoming the 13th faculty and staff member to participate in the international exchange program.

A Fulbright Faculty Scholar opportunity will allow mathematics professor Manda Riehl, PhD, to design innovative and modern courses and provide authentic research experiences for undergraduate students within the United States government’s flagship international exchange program.

Rose-Hulman, the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate engineering college, has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright scholars by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Institute has had six faculty participating in the program during the past seven years.

Riehl will spend a portion of this summer collaborating with mathematics professors at Costa Rica’s Universidad Nacional (UNA) with development of their Math for Computer Science course and work with students in their calculus studies. She will then co-teach courses at the university for three months during the 2023-24 academic year. 

“Education has the power to transform lives, as it has mine,” said Riehl, a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty since 2017. “I repay this gift to future students through inventive teaching, providing authentic research experiences for undergraduates, and designing innovative and modern courses.” 

A U.S. Department of Commerce report in 2016 noted that Costa Rica would benefit strongly from having more undergraduate students having access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Riehl will be UNA’s first Fulbright Scholar who specializes in teaching within any STEM field.

At Rose-Hulman, Riehl has had an instrumental role in helping expand the Institute’s biomathematics program. She created and taught an introductory course based on the transformation of biomathematics through using discrete mathematical models. 

Also, Riehl is hoping to provide more authentic learning experiences for students through undergraduate research activities at Costa Rica’s UNA and Rose-Hulman. Research opportunities motivated her to take a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology into earning master’s and doctorate degrees in mathematics from the University of California San Diego.

“Undergraduate research transformed my life for the better, so I have dedicated myself to providing that opportunity for other students,” stated Riehl. She has supervised dozens of students in undergraduate research programs and projects, and in 2019 received a faculty mentor award from the Council on Undergraduate Research Math/Computer Science Division.

Thirteen current Rose-Hulman faculty and staff have participated in the Fulbright program. Associate Professor of Mathematics Wayne Tarrant, PhD, spent this academic year in Kenya while Associate Professor of Anthropology Paul Christensen, PhD, did summer field work in Japan during 2021. Other fellowship recipients include Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science David Fisher, PhD, 2018-19 at the University of Limerick, Ireland; Renat Letfullin, PhD, 2018-19 in Uzbekistan; Department of Mechanical Engineering Head and Associate Professor Richard Onyancha, PhD, 2014-15 at Copperbelt University, Zambia; Professor of Mathematics Yosi Shibberu, PhD, 2014-15 at Jimma University, Ethiopia; and Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering Matt Boutell, PhD, 2011-12 at Copperbelt University.

Also, Professor of English Rebecca Dyer, PhD, 2007-08 in Lebanon; Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering David Mutchler, PhD, 2000-01 at University of Mauritius; Senior Director of Global Programs Kathy Hammett, participated in the 2000 International Education Administrator Fulbright program; Associate Professor of Biology Peter Coppinger, PhD, 1999-2000 at Macquarie University in Australia; Associate Professor of Geography Michael Kukral, PhD, 1989-90 at Charles University in Czechoslovakia; and Professor of American Literature Patricia Carlson, PhD, 1975-76 at the University of Iceland.