St. Olaf mathematics professor uses Fulbright award for research in Hungary
St. Olaf College Professor of Mathematics Jill Dietz was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Core Scholar Award, which supported her time in Budapest, Hungary, conducting research in abstract algebra and the roles of Hungarian women mathematicians.
The Fulbright Core Scholar Award is the largest program of its kind in the United States, offering opportunities for academics and professionals to teach, conduct research, and complete other projects internationally. Applicants are selected based on their experience and their proposed projects, including the potential impacts and benefits of their work.
Dietz’s research has two components. Her primary goal is the exploration of group theory in abstract algebra.
“The big picture idea is to understand how the structure of an object called a group is reflected in the structure of all functions on the group, and vice versa. In some ways, this is like asking to what degree is the structure of a cell determined by its function within a body?” she says. “Specifically, I hope to gain an understanding of how the automorphism group of a semi-direct product of groups is determined by the automorphisms of the individual factors in the semi-direct product.”
Dietz’s time in Budapest also connects to the Budapest Semester in Mathematics study-abroad program. During her time in Hungary, she was able to provide support for students on the program who are considering research and graduate school, as well as advise students at St. Olaf considering the program. She also hopes to combine mathematics with conversations about diversity.
“My favorite experience was meeting the other Americans on their own Fulbright Scholarships, including a journalist studying disinformation and a political scientist studying democracy. I learned a lot,” she says.