Graduate Readiness and Access in Mathematics

The Graduate Readiness and Access in Mathematics (GRAM) program offers comprehensive training and preparation for undergraduate math majors aspiring to earn a graduate degree in the mathematical sciences (mathematics, mathematics education, and statistics). Elements include rigorous content preparation aimed at mathematical readiness for graduate studies, training for general and subject GREs, training in problem-solving skills, undergraduate research, participation in a variety of professional conferences, cultural and family support, financial support for GRAM Scholars to decrease their work outside of academic activities, and professional development that includes guidance on graduate school applications and decisions, time and stress management, collaboration and networking skills, and skills tied to writing, reading, discussing, and exploring mathematics effectively. Selected GRAM Scholars will be engaged in two years of intensive supplemental training to support their graduate school aspirations. This training will include a regular seminar, a research project guided by a faculty mentor in the CSUF Department of Mathematics, and a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) component that will advance mathematical research. The participants will present their results at conferences and publish them in appropriate venues. They will also produce a GRAM thesis at the conclusion of the program.


GRAM Principal Investigators 

scottannin Dr. Scott Annin, Mathematics

Algebra, Noncommutative Ring Theory


GRAM Faculty 


Dr. Nicholas Brubaker, Applied Mathematics

Dr. Brubaker is an applied mathematician. He is interested in using mathematical modeling and tools of applied analysis to characterize phenomena arising in small-scale systems, especially those involving a unique interplay of fluids, electrostatics, and elasticity.


Dr. Adam Glesser, Pure Mathematics

Dr. Glesser is an algebraist. He is interested in fusion systems, a categorical structure that unites aspects of group theory, representation theory, and algebraic topology. He is interested in issues related to college-level mathematics education.


chrislyonsDr. Christopher Lyons, Pure Mathematics

Dr. Lyons’ research interests lie in the fields of algebraic geometry and number theory. He is particularly interested in algebraic surfaces and the algebraic curves that live on them. 


 Dr. Valerie Poynor, Statistics

Dr. Poynor's research interests are on Bayesian nonparametric statistics, survival analysis, and neuronal data analysis.




GRAM Scholars

Class of 2018-2020


JasmineCameroJasmine Camero

Jasmine is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in applied mathematics. Once completed, she would like to attend graduate school and obtain a doctorate degree. With a Ph.D., she plans on becoming a professor and serving as a role model for all underrepresented groups, especially women of color like herself. As a professor, one of her goals is to immediately plunge into spreading her admiration of such an influential subject to others. As a GRAM Scholar, Jasmine is currently working on a new project with Dr. Nicholas Brubaker. During Jasmine’s free time, she enjoys being outside, trying out new foods, working out, and playing with her dog.


AlexandroLunaAlexandro Luna

Alex is currently an undergraduate student in the mathematics program at CSUF, with a concentration in pure math. His work with both Dr. Lyons and Dr. Ibragimov includes topics on Algebraic Geometry and Metric Space Theory. After an undergraduate degree, Alex plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D in mathematics. 





Erica Ward

After earning her associate’s degree in mathematics at SCC, Erica transferred to CSUF in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Once she completes her degree, she is planning on working towards a graduate degree in hopes of becoming a math professor. She has worked as a tutor and a Supplemental Instruction Leader in the Department of Mathematics at CSUF. Erica is very passionate about helping students by giving them the tools necessary to be successful in their own math classes. As a GRAM scholar, she is working on a project with her research mentor, Dr. Brubaker. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family. 


Class of 2017-2019

arredondoAngelica Arredondo

Angelica is currently pursuing a degree in applied mathematics. She is doing a research project with Dr. Nicholas Brubaker and Breanna. After getter her bachelors, she hopes to get accepted into a Ph.D. program and pursue her interest in research and teaching. In the future, she wants to be a college professor and help students get involved and informed about all the wonderful things mathematics has to offer. She wants to be a professor who can open doors to students wanting to major mathematics. She also wants to get more women involved being that this major is mostly dominated by men. In her free time, she enjoys going to the movies, going out to eat, and listening to music.


Cameron Hooper

Cameron is a computational applied mathematics major who works in Dr. Paula Hudson's analytical chemistry lab at CSUF studying prominent atmospheric compounds and their effects on the climate. He is an LSAMP and GRAM research scholar who is conducting two separate projects under the supervision of Dr. Laura Smith, one of which includes his work from Dr. Hudson's lab. On top of this, Cameron is a 2018 MSRI-UP research participate studying crime modeling. His goal after receiving his undergraduate degree is to further his education in graduate school and study applied mathematics. In his downtime, Cameron can be found avidly lifting weights, hiking, singing, or playing with his dogs.


palafoxRicardo Palafox

Ricardo is double majoring in Psychology and Mathematics (Probability and Statistics concentration) with a minor in Computer Science. His interest in the use of quantitative data sparked early in his years as a psychology major, but the real catalyst was the exposure to actuarial sciences during his time as an insurance professional. This interest led to a shift in academic trajectory and the desire to pursue a career where he may employ statistical methods. He plans to pursue graduate studies in a Statistics or Biostatistics Ph.D. program. His current research under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Jaynes focuses on applications of experimental designs. Outside of academics, Ricardo thoroughly enjoys spending the day at high performance driving events and other automotive enthusiast gatherings.


Class of 2016-2018

ThabatDahdoulThabat Dahdoul

Thabat primary interests are in biostatistics and computational biology. She has completed REUs at different universities, such as Harvard and Duke. Furthermore, she has served as a tutor and Supplemental Instruction leader in the Department of Mathematics at CSUF. She is currently working in GRAM under the mentorship of Dr. Kevin Nichols and Dr. Reza Ramezan. Also, Thabat hopes to advocate for social equity as she sees the importance of having allies for social justice advocates in the scientific field to address such issues. When asked about her motivation to pursue her goals, she says "being a minority myself, I want to be a role model that my younger self did not have."


thihogramThi Ho

Thi transferred to Cal State Fullerton from Santa Ana College in 2015, and she is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in mathematics, with an emphasis in statistics. Ultimately, she aspires to attend graduate school and become a professor. Her research in GRAM is under the mentorship of CSUF statistics professors Drs. Kevin Nichols and Reza Ramezan. In her spare time, Thi enjoys reading and working on arts and crafts.


nungarayFreddy Nungaray

Freddy is pursuing his undergraduate degree in computational applied mathematics and has high aspirations for a future career either in academia or for an agency such as NASA or the CIA. He also enjoys serving as a role model by assisting grade school children who are struggling to understand basic math. He is working with Dr. Laura Smith in GRAM and aspires to pursue a graduate degree in applied mathematics. He enjoys drawing landscapes and playing sports in his spare time.


GRAM Assistant / Administration


ReneeBennettRenee Bennett

Renee is a staff member with many years of experience in the Math Department Office at Cal State Fullerton. She has graciously agreed to serve as a project assistant for GRAM, and her familiarity with the campus and its procedures and protocols has been invaluable. She has many roles for GRAM, including facilitator for travel arrangements for the GRAM students and administrators, organizer for GRAM campus events, leader for GRAM-related data acquisition, liaison between GRAM and related groups, and more.

Dr. Anael Verdugo, Applied Mathematics

Nonlinear Dynamics, Systems Biology




Dr. Laura Smith Chowdhury, Applied Mathematics

Dr. Smith is interested in crime modeling, dynamical systems, complex networks, variational methods, image processing, and social media modeling.




Dr. Jessica Jaynes, Statistics

Dr. Jaynes' primary research interests include statistical mehotds and applications, experimental design, and discrete choice experiments. Her recent projects include, the development of a new class of designs that provide higher efficiency, more in-depth analyses, and require a shorter time to run; applications of fractional factorial designs for Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 and lipid accumulation for algae growth.  


Dr. Kevin Nichols, Statistics

Dr. Nichols' research interests are spatial/temporal statistics and their applications to earthquake and wildfire data. 


Dr. Reza Ramezan, Statistics

Dr. Ramezan is interested in interdisciplinary collaboration, conducting research in the juncture of statistics and neuroscience. He is especially interested in computational statistics, multivariate analysis, applied stochastic processes, multiscale modeling, neuroinformatics, and applications of statistics in neuroscience. 




chavarinJesse Chavarin

Jesse is completing two majors in Mathematics and Business Administration, with respective concentrations in Probability & Statistics and Accounting. He transferred to CSUF from UC Berkeley in the Fall of 2017. Jesse currently works as a tutor and an SI leader, with a particular passion for helping students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education. He hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in statistics after graduating from CSUF, and is glad to be researching under the direction of Dr. Valerie Poynor in preparation. In his spare time, Jesse enjoys traveling and visiting museums.


DanielleSebringDanielle Sebring

Danielle is currently pursuing a degree in mathematics with a concentration in probability and statistics. She is working with research mentor, Dr. Valerie Poynor and research partner, Jesse Chavarin. After earning her bachelors degree, she plans to continue her education in pursuit of a masters degree and possibly a Ph.D. Danielle hopes to work in Major League Baseball to help teams predict their best moves every season. In her free time, Danielle likes to read, watch movies, do anything Harry Potter related, go to baseball games, and spend time with her dogs.


FranciscoZepedaFrancisco Zepeda

Francisco is currently pursuing a degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Pure Mathematics. He is currently working on research with Alexandro Luna under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Lyons. After earning his degree, he plans to attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D. to pursue in becoming a professor. Francisco has a passion of helping students succeed in their education, especially in Mathematics. As a professor, he wants to help students succeed in their career, and be a role model for first generation students. For his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, running, and going out to eat.




hernandezRoberto Hernandez

Roberto is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics. He aspires to go to graduate school and eventually become a professor so that he can inspire future undergraduate students looking to engage in their own research. He is currently working on a new research project under the supervision of Dr. Laura Smith as a GRAM scholar. In his spare time he enjoys looking at mathematical patterns, hiking, and playing soccer.





BreannaMcBeanBreanna McBean

Breanna is a computational applied mathematics major in the University Honors Program at CSUF. She is also very active in the college, holding executive positions on the NSM-ICC and PRIME Club boards. Her research interests include genetics and cell biology, and she aspires to attend graduate school to attain a Computational Biology Ph.D. and pursue a career in research. She is working in GRAM under the guidance of Dr. Nicholas Brubaker and does additional research with Dr. Anael Verdugo. In her free time, she enjoys long-distance running and finding the best places to eat.




JoseToledoJose Toledo

Jose is a transfer student from Santa Ana College. After he finished his associate degree in the fall of 2016, he transferred to CSUF and became an undergraduate math major with a concentration in statistics. He wants to pursue graduate studies and eventually become a professor. His research mentor is Dr. Jessica Jaynes. In his spare time he likes to listen to music and hangout with friends.








christiandoChristian Do

Christian has a love of both mathematics and music, especially theoretical aspects of both. In GRAM, he is conducting research in abstract algebra under the guidance of mathematician Dr. Adam Glesser, and he plans to attend graduate school and become a professor. His interests include not only mathematics, but also the art of teaching and learning math, and his graduate studies may include some emphasis on mathematics education. On the musical side, Christian enjoys percussion, and has some experience in both teaching and composing music.




martinezGabriel Martinez

Gabriel earned as Associate of Science in Mathematics degree with Honors in December 2014, and then he transferred to Cal State Fullerton. In addition to his classes, Gabriel has worked as a supplemental instruction leader for calculus, and he has also tutored K-12 students in Common Core mathematics. Inspired by Stephen Hawking, Gabriel is fascinated by many aspects of the mathematical world, including applied mathematics. He is currently working under the GRAM mentorship of applied mathematician Dr. Laura Smith.


jamesshadeJames Shade

James is pursuing a double major in mathematics and computer science, and he is a President’s Scholar at CSUF. He is a co-author of a research paper in geometry in the College Math Journal, and he aspires to continue his studies in pure mathematics and become a professor and mentor for others. He already has ample formal experience as a tutor and as a role model for other students. He is currently a GRAM Scholar working under the advisement of mathematician Dr. Adam Glesser. James enjoys exploring mathematical patterns and is fascinated by such number-based games as Sudoku. In his free time, James enjoys hiking and camping.


GRAM Contact Information


Further information about the program and application forms can be obtained from 


Dr. Scott Annin, CSUF GRAM Program Director

Department of Mathematics, MH-33C

California State University, Fullerton

Tel: (657) 278-7678



Dr. Anael Verdugo, CSUF GRAM Program Co-Director

Department of Mathematics, MH-104K

California State University, Fullerton

Tel: (657) 278-3670