Academics, Campus wide, College of Science and Mathematics, Faculty

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Emily Thomas

By Hannah Gurley | September 29, 2020
Dr. Emily Thomas at Charleston Southern University teaches mathematics
Dr. Emily Thomas teaching how to verify identities during her Precalculus class. Photo provided

Dr. Emily Thomas, assistant professor of mathematics, has dedicated her research to  topology and knot theory. 

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas joined the Buc family in the fall of 2016 after receiving her PhD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Samford University and a master’s degree and PhD in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. While at Samford, Thomas built relationships with the faculty which persuaded her to pursue a teaching job in a Christian environment. After graduating and completing her degrees at the University of Arkansas, Thomas and her husband, Ryan, whom she met while at graduate school, moved to Summerville to both begin their dream jobs at CSU. Both Thomas and her husband are assistant professors of mathematics. 

Her area of research is in topology and knot theory. Topology is the study of geometric properties or objects and their continuous transformations. In topology, knot theory is the study of mathematical knots. One of the recognizable results in topology is that a coffee mug and a donut are topologically equivalent. CSU currently does not offer a class in topology, but Thomas has been given the opportunity to teach the capstone course in spring 2021. She will be introducing seniors to research in the field of topology. Thomas said, “I’m excited to share this branch of mathematics with our graduating seniors and hope that my passion for it is evident to them.”

Thomas believes working at CSU is the ministry God has called her to fulfill. 

“I don’t take that responsibility lightly, and I pray that I point students to His goodness, His grace, and His patience,” she said. “I am not perfect, and the world is a mess right now, but He is good.”

Reflecting on the song “Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman, Thomas added, “We can ‘Consider all that He has done. Stand in awe and be amazed and know that He will never change.’”

Hannah Gurley is a freshman mathematics education major at Charleston Southern University. She serves as a CSU Brand Ambassador with the Office of Marketing & Communication.

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