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Sarah Spence Adams, Ph.D.

Headshot of professor Sarah Spence Adams

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development
Professor of Mathematics and Electrical & Computer Engineering


Ph.D., Mathematics, Cornell University
M.S., Mathematics, Cornell University
B.S., Mathematics, University of Richmond

Select Courses Taught

Discrete Math
Linearity 1
Error Control Codes
Advanced Linear Algebra


Algebraic Coding Theory Mathematical Structures Underlying Communications Systems Graph Theory


NSA Young Investigator's Award
Project NExT Fellow


Dr. Adams maintains an active research program partly focused on mathematical structures used to increase the reliability and efficiency of wireless communications and partly focused on graphs used to model communications and social networks. She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in mathematics at Cornell University, where she was also a member of the Wireless Intelligent Systems Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She holds a B.S. (summa cum laude) in mathematics from the University of Richmond. Dr. Adams has conducted research at the Institute for Defense Analyses, Center for Communications Research and the National Security Agency (NSA). Her short book on algebraic coding theory is used to introduce applications to abstract algebra classes, and her short book on discrete-time dynamical systems is used to teach linear algebra through the application of population models. She is an ExxonMobil Fellow in the Mathematical Association of America's (MAA) Project NExT and serves on MAA national committees involving undergraduate programs/research. In recent years, she received an NSA Young Investigator's Award to support her research in space-time coding, a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a multi-faceted coding theory and cryptology course, and an NSF grant to support her Long-term Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE) model for engaging early undergraduates in meaningful research experiences.