profile picture


- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)


Networks, neuroscience, artificial intelligence


I have a bachelor's and master's degree in mathematics from BYU and am currently pursuing a PhD in applied math at UNC. I study network science. Networks science is concerned with systems of interconnected objects. The objects in question could be people in social networks, neurons in the brain, cities in road networks etc.. Networks appear in many areas of science and engineering. Predator-prey interactions in ecosystems, power grids, political affiliations of politicians and supply chain relationships are all examples of systems with an underlying network. The structure of these networks plays an important role in the processing and transfer of resources in each system. Different network structures lead to different kinds of behaviors within the system. In my own research, I model processes occurring on networks in social, neurological or artificial intelligence settings.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Simulating the Evolution of the Smallest Brain

Design a semi-random network growth mechanism that will produce networks with structure that is similar to actual neuronal networks. (We will use the neuronal network of the organism C. Elegans as a model.) You will learn the basic mathematics behind network science and write computer programs to simulate network growth. Prerequisites: 1. Programming experience

Coding skills

Python, Julia, C++, Matlab, R

Teaching experience

In addition to a summer working with polygenic, I mentored undergraduates in network research for two years and have a year of undergraduate teaching experience. I also mentored two high school summer research interns and have tutored high school math.


Work experience

Oak Ridge National Lab (2019 - 2020)
Remote Sensing Deep Learning Intern


Brigham Young University
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Brigham Young University
MS Master of Science
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Applied Mathematics

Interested in working with expert mentors like DJ?

Apply now