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His thesis, Decoupling in Cases of Vanishing Curvature with Applications, supervised by Professor Ciprian Demeter, was honored with Outstanding Thesis Award from the mathematics department. He received a prestigious NSF postdoctoral fellowship award to support his future research. In the 2021-23 academic years he will be visiting the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2023-24 he will be a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University and in 2024-25 he will be a member of the Institute for Advanced Study there.

Dr. Kemp does research in decoupling theory and harmonic analysis. This area studies the destructive interference of overlapping waves, and it has connections to many areas of mathematics, from partial differential equations to differential geometry to number theory. His interest in the field grew after he attended a workshop in Summer 2016 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. Inspired by that program, he approached Professor Ciprian Demeter about pursuing thesis work. “I remember vividly the day that Dominique first approached me. I was right away impressed by his mathematical maturity and love for the field. It became apparent that we would have a fruitful collaboration. Five years later, I am extremely proud of his accomplishments,” said Professor Demeter.

Dr. Kemp grew up in Lansing, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Stanford University in 2014. He visited IU in Spring of 2015 and was encouraged to pursue graduate studies here by mathematics graduate students Brett Jefferson and Marvin Jones and by then-Director of Graduate Studies Professor Matthias Weber. Later, Dr. Kemp helped mentor first- and second-year graduate students by leading the department’s JumpStart Analysis workshop for five consecutive summers. His graduate work at IU was supported in part by a President’s Diversity Fellowship.

“Looking back on my experience now, I think that graduate school is a time period when each person must grapple with their passion and love for mathematics and assess just how deep it runs, just how much they are willing to sacrifice for it.”, said Dominique. Arriving on campus in May of 2015, there were few other graduate students around. Later, the departure of Brett Jefferson and Marvin Jones from our mathematics program, and the somewhat small size of his research group, again led to his feeling sometimes isolated during his time here. Reflecting on those challenges, he remarked “First impressions carry so much weight…watching everything you say or do can be daunting. This may be one reason why under-representation in mathematics is self-enforcing.” Offering advice to math department leadership, he shares this insight: “Let us do what we can learn to recognize this, and to support each other in ways that extend beyond routine professionalism, to acknowledge the communities from which we each emerged.”

Dr. Brett Jefferson earned a PhD in neuroscience from IU in 2016 and is currently a data scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Marvin Jones is a doctoral candidate at IU in physics and interned at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center last summer. According to the American Mathematical Society’s 2017-18 annual survey, published last year, of the 999 PhD’s awarded to US citizens and permanent residents in the fields of math, applied math, statistics, and biostatistics, only 79 were awarded to persons who were Black or from other under-represented groups. Says current chair Kevin Pilgrim, “We are each individually responsible for treating others with dignity and respect. We are also collectively responsible for the policies and procedures that shape our departmental culture. Our mission includes creating environments and programs where all students can realize their potential. Dr. Kemp’s success reminds us how important this is.”

Kevin M. Pilgrim ‘89, chair and alum liaison

pilgrim@indiana.edu