Senior Heads to Ivy League Grad Studies After Graduation

Ryan McCleary (left) demonstrates a formula for his mentor, Mathematics Assistant Professor Abey Lopez-Garcia, Ph.D



Mathematics Senior Ryan McCleary is heading to Cornell University this fall with a publication to his name thanks to a professor’s mentorship.

When McCleary leaves Florida in a few months to begin graduate work at Cornell University he’ll take with him the lessons learned from Mathematics Assistant Professor Abey López-García, Ph.D. Together they worked on a paper published this year in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications on greedy energy sequences.

“It was a really satisfying feeling tying all the loose ends together and preparing to submit [the paper] for publication,” McCleary said. “I think the experience will serve me well in graduate school.”

The topic of greedy energy sequences itself originates from electrostatics and is part of a mathematical field called potential theory. The two’s collaboration focuses on the asymptotic properties of these energy sequences and their distribution of charge.

The topic, which was the subject of McCleary’s senior thesis, was chosen over the summer of 2019 during an independent study with López-García. López-García began his own study of greedy energy sequences for his Ph.D. and subsequently published a paper on the topic in 2010. For McCleary’s independent study, López-García had planned to have his student read The Principles of Mathematical Analysis by Walter Rudin and also to discuss his paper. From there, McCleary’s interest in researching greedy energy sequences was piqued and he proposed a collaboration to work on research problems within the topic.

 For his upcoming graduate school career, McCleary is interested in pursuing avenues of mathematical analysis and geometry. He offers this advice to students applying for graduate school: 

“It’s never too early to start thinking about graduate school and getting involved with research. You might think you aren’t prepared for research, but nobody will ever feel prepared until they actually do it. You just have to jump into it,” he said. 


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