Graduate Student Appreciation Summer 2023: Justin Wisby

Authored on May 7, 2023


Justin Wisby from the 2023 SiGMA Event "Snaps and Snacks".

This semester, we want to celebrate our graduate student, Justin Wisby. Justin has been active in research, coursework, and our mathematical community here at FIU since he started in Fall of 2020. He earned a spot in the Ph.D program in Spring 2022 and has continued to excel in his various roles.

Justin is celebrating his first paper being published, Total k-domination in Cartesian Product of Complete Graphs, with Professor Walter Carballosa. Justin and Professor Carballosa have been working on this paper since 2020 and have recently had the paper accepted into the journal Discrete Applied Mathematics. They are currently working on wrapping up a related article, hoping to soon publish a second paper.

He recently presented his research at the Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory and Computing. Justin has presented at many conferences during his time at FIU, from regional to national, to international conferences. "I really missed being able to travel for conferences. I am very excited to attend (and hopefully present at) the Joint Mathematics Meeting in San Francisco."

He has recently been accepted to attend the Graduate Research Workshop in Combinatorics, GRWC. The GRWC is a collection of advanced graduate students and post-docs to kick start research. We are very excited for Justin as he has worked so hard to earn a spot at the workshop!

Justin is also chair of the committee hosting the Subtropic Symposium for Upcoming Mathematicians, SSUM. SSUM has the goal of giving graduate mathematicians in south Florida the opportunity to showcase their research without the expensive flight and hotel. This Symposium is open to all graduate students in south Florida, with a focus on FAU, FIU, FGCU, and UM graduate students.

Justin's interest in promoting graduate student research doesn’t stop at the symposium. Justin has been in charge of the graduate student seminar for the 22-23 year. Justin has planned seminars nearly every week of the school year. These seminars are designed to highlight the research being done by the graduate students at FIU. There has been over 20 seminars hosted in the past two semesters. The seminars serve as an update between graduate students on the various research projects in our mathematical community at FIU.

Luis Caicedo, a Ph.D. Candidate, had this to say about Justin, "Justin's creativity and leadership skills always impress me. He has used his leadership position to host a conference, encourage student interaction with various great events, and advocate for graduate students in our department. ... I admire how much of himself he gives to the program. His actions speak to a deeper belief that he can make a tangible difference in the program. He strives to make the ideal into reality."

Justin also serves as president of the graduate mathematics organization, Students in Graduate Mathematics Association, SiGMA. Justin founded the organization back in 2021 and helped students take administrative roles in the organization. Justin was later unanimously elected as president the following year. Since then, Justin has hosted many social events from trivia to game nights to professional picture day. "By starting SiGMA, Justin indirectly created a welcoming atmosphere for all graduate students." Said Melissa De Jesus, a fellow graduate student. "The social events that SiGMA host really brought us closer together, we have formed more personal bonds during each event making my peers seem more like friends than just classmates." SiGMA has been a huge success in increasing the interactions of graduate students.

Justin has used his experiences planning to help set up other organizations. Justin worked with undergraduate students in Fall 2022 to set up their own club Mathematics Undergraduates, MU. He also helped the new AWM Chapter get started on FIU and has been serving as their Treasurer. Because of his influence in the student organization space, the committee behind the Graduate Student Appreciation Week, GSAW, reached out to Justin to assist with GSAW planning.

Justin also pushed for the invention of the graduate student representative to have better communication with the department. Justin helped serve as the first graduate student representative. He later co-held the position to help transition a new representative, Alex Rodriguez, to the role.

Even without the role of graduate student representative, Justin is still constantly in talks with the department. As the digital TA, he uses his background in programming to help update and maintain the Department of Mathematics and Statistics webpage. Justin's website coding expertise isn't limited to a CMS. Justin also coded, by hand, a website to help graduate and undergraduate students find opportunities inside mathematics. is a free to use service available to all students. This site is extremely impressive as enabling more future mathematicians to easily find and apply to opportunities.

Before his time at FIU, Justin used to professionally code TeX, a coding language for mathematics. He brought those skills with him and has shared his skills at every opportunity. Justin has been invited to work on many projects. From papers to presentations, Justin has donated his code and templates as well as find and resolve bugs from many projects.

Many of the projects come from the applied mathematics research program for undergraduates at FIU, AMRPU@FIU, our NSF and NSA funded REU site. Justin helped in both 2021 and 2022 but assumed a project mentor role for 2022. He worked with three students under the guidance of Professor Walter Carballosa and also hosted the professional development sessions during the REU. As a well-traveled mathematician, Justin was asked to share some of his experiences in the form of professional development. Justin will be helping again this year as a project mentor.

Justin mentioned that his future work is will be focused on his research. "As I get closer to graduation, more of my time is being allocated to my research. I love helping out where I can but over the next two years, I think I need to make sure I don't forget to help myself."

Justin has been instrumental in assisting the members of our mathematical community here at FIU. We greatly value his hard work and his willingness to help at any moment. We appreciate you, Justin.