Each academic year the School of Arts and Sciences Newark welcomes new faculty to our family from across the liberal arts disciplines. This year’s group is diverse, spanning the social sciences, humanities, arts and physical sciences. Below, in Part 2 of our series, we profile a handful of the professors making their SASN debut during the fall semester.
Kyle Hayden | Mathematics & Computer Science
Kyle Hayden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science. He attended Haverford College and obtained his PhD in mathematics from Boston College (2018), then spent the next four years as a post-doc at Columbia University, conducting research supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) post-doctoral fellowship and teaching courses ranging from a seminar on the mathematics of elections to a graduate course in knot theory. This fall he will be teaching Statistics I (Math 211). “In a high-information, data-driven world, statistics shows up everywhere we look,” said Hayden, “from tracking the health of our local communities to following our favorite team or the upcoming midterm elections.”
Hayden’s research is in geometry and topology, fields that offer two different approaches to the mathematical study of shape and space itself. While geometry focuses on rigid features like lengths and angles, topology investigates “intrinsic” features that persist even when an object is warped. Topology shows up across mathematics, physics and data science, and applies to many “coarse” spatial problems in the real world, such as understanding how the natural folding and knotting of a protein affects its function. Kyle’s current work uses the mathematical theory of knots and braids to investigate questions about three- and four-dimensional spaces (see this recent piece in Quanta magazine for a glance at his work). Kyle’s research is currently supported by a three-year NSF grant, which includes funding for undergraduate researchers.
“I grew up about 20 minutes from campus, so being a part of this university and this city feels like coming home in a really meaningful way,” said Hayden. “I’m excited to join RU-N and its guiding mission of serving this community through excellent teaching, research and outreach.”
I grew up about 20 minutes from campus, so being a part of this university and this city feels like coming home in a really meaningful way.
George Lebrenz | Arts, Culture & Media
Lebrenz is the Technical Director, Lecturer and Instructor of the combined RU-N/NJIT Theater Program. He received his B.A. in Technical Direction from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is currently completing an M.A. in Theater at Regent University, in Virginia. He has a diverse skill-set that includes engineering, carpentry, CAD and hand-drafting, welding, lighting, sound, rigging and technical direction, and has worked as a builder and engineer of scenery for NYC Broadway shows, the Metropolitan Opera House, Hudson Scenic, Pace University, Off-Broadway shows, and regional theaters in Albany, NY, Cape Cod, Ma., and Montclair, NJ.
In his new capacity at RU-N, Lebrenz will manage the day-to-day operations and administration of the program, theater and related spaces; oversee the construction and design work for all shows; and teach all of the technical theater classes for the program (including Production I and Stage Management this semester). For the latter, Lebrenz will draw on his extensive instruction experience as a former part-time lecturer at RU-N/NJIT and as a teacher of STEAM/STEM classes and Technical Director at a number of New Jersey middle- and high-schools, including in Morristown, Oakland, Wayne, Montville and West Orange, where he developed and revised curriculum and updated technology to better match students’ learning opportunities to current best-practices and labor-market conditions.
“I’m looking forward to working with our students and training the next generation of skilled theater and film craftspeople,” said Lebrenz, “to prepare them to go out into the world and build million-dollar shows on Broadway or work for companies like Hudson Scenic, Show Motion or Lions Gate Films, and push the boundaries of what’s currently being done in the industry.”