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Doctoral student has equation for success

Quincy Loney’s research focuses on vertex operator algebras, a type of mathematics that has applications for string theory, an area of theoretical physics.

Late last year, he chaired the second-annual Binghamton University Graduate Conference in Algebra and Topology. The two-day event, which brought together more than 150 graduate students in mathematics from schools around the country, received funding from the National Science Foundation and drew more than 40 speakers from as far away as Moscow and Albania. One speaker, a NASA employee, discussed the mathematics used in her job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

Loney called the experience invaluable and said he hopes to see the conference continue for years to come.

“The networking opportunities are important; the mathematics is important,” he said. “It’s good to know what people are doing elsewhere. These people are going to be our colleagues.”

Loney, who grew up in New York City, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SUNY Potsdam. He received a Clark Fellowship to support his studies at Binghamton.

He expects to receive his doctorate in 2011 and hopes to become a professor. Loney said his own positive experiences in the classroom, especially taking calculus as an undergraduate, have helped him to develop a passion for teaching. Students learn more and make better progress when their teachers engage them personally, he said.

Alex Feingold, professor of mathematical sciences, praised Loney’s enthusiasm and commitment to teaching, along with his work in helping to organize the graduate conference.

“He strives to inspire his students and instill in them an appreciation for the beauty and clarity of mathematics,” Feingold said. “As Quincy’s teacher and adviser, it has been my pleasure to watch his growth and development as a scholar.”

The support between teacher and student extends outside the classroom, as Feingold recalled attending Loney’s wedding last August and meeting family members from Trinidad.

“Advising and mentoring graduate students is so rewarding because it goes far beyond the technical education we provide in the classroom, making professional and personal bonds that last a lifetime,” Feingold said. “I will be very proud when the day comes that I can put that hood on Quincy’s shoulders as a symbol of his qualification for a career as a professor.”

Loney has already taught calculus at Binghamton and he is the head proctor for the calculus screening exam taken by many incoming freshmen.

“I hope to motivate and inspire the students in my classes,” he said, “the way my undergraduate mentor did for me.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08