Karin Saoub Receives High Honor!

by rahmoeller on April 23, 2021

Congratulation to Dr. Karin Saoub, who was recently named the Dr. M. Paul Capp & Constance Whitehead Professor of Mathematics. A prestigious honor, this 5-year award provides funding for a physics or mathematics professor in order to supplement their efforts of furthering their research and of providing students with meaningful research experiences.

Once a purely theoretical mathematician studying graph theory and graph coloring, Saoub has broadened her interests to better support student endeavors into mathematical research. She developed a graph theory and combinatorics course, designed to help students transition from learning foundational proof-writing techniques to producing quality proofs for upper-level theoretical courses. Within this class and a course titled “Efficiency and Optimization” (a course for Roanoke’s INQ curriculum), Saoub incorporates several projects encouraging a hands-on approach to the material learned in the course. Students have created fake businesses to maximize the returns they can receive, create routes for given scenarios, and organize pipelines. More recently, Saoub has been studying gerrymandering, particularly with using mathematics to minimize the effects of gerrymandering.

One of Saoub’s most impressive accomplishments (and I’m sure many mathematicians would agree) is her book A Tour through Graph Theory, published by Taylor & Francis Group, which won a Choice 2018 Outstanding Academic Title Award. A math textbook winning such an award is not common! In this book, Saoub makes graph theory approachable to non-math students, incorporates both historical and modern questions arising in graph theory, and encourages examples and diagrams for exploring the concepts. Saoub has also published a graph theory book for math majors, Graph Theory: An Introduction to Proofs, Algorithms,and Applications, and is scheduled to serve as an editor for the 2025 edition of the Handbook of Graph Theory.

Congratulations, Karin, on this wonderful and well-deserved achievement!