RENO, Nev. - Javier Rojo has joined the College of Science as the new chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Department.
"I'm excited to be joining the University and College of Science," Rojo said. "In my visits here, I was impressed by the faculty; they are all passionate for their work. I got a good sense of the challenges and opportunities for the department. There's a lot we can contribute to the University and the community."
Rojo comes to the University of Nevada, Reno from Rice University in Houston, Texas where he was a tenured professor of statistics. He has been a statistics program director at the National Science Foundation, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow or member of several other renowned national and international organizations.
In 2013, he was a member of the National Science Foundation Division of Mathematical Sciences Committee of Visitors, a panel of external experts that helps the NSF maintain its high standards of program management, continuous performance improvement, and openness to the research and education community.
"We are very pleased to have Javier join the University," Provost Kevin Carman said. "He is a distinguished math and statistics scholar with an excellent record of publications and grantsmanship."
Some of the opportunities Rojo sees for the future include building a doctoral program, building more collaborative research beyond the department and the college, and enhancing and building on undergraduate research opportunities.
"This department is poised to do good things, and (College of Science) Dean Thompson and Provost Carman are committed to supporting the math and stat department in its quest to move to the next level."
"Dr. Rojo is the ideal person to lead the department," Jeff Thompson, dean of the College of Science, said. "He's enthusiastic about mathematics and statistics and getting students interested in how it applies to the world around us."
The outgoing interim chair, Eric Herzik, served since 2008. Herzik will continue his duties as chair of the Political Science Department.
"We're extremely grateful for Eric's guidance and support through some difficult economic times," Thompson said. "Javier brings new energy to the department that comes from an enthusiasm for his work. I'm confident he will inspire faculty and students to reach new heights."
Rojo is especially interested in helping first-generation college students get connected to education and be successful. He brings to the University the Research for Undergraduates Summer Institute of Statistics, a successful specialized program that prepares undergraduate students for a graduate research career in the statistical sciences, especially those students from underrepresented minority groups.
Rojo will continue his research in survival analysis, reliability theory, statistical decision theory, extreme value theory and dimension reduction of high dimensional data sets.