Jennifer Quinn, Ph.D.


Specialty: Combinatorics and Pure Mathematics

Quinn, Jennifer

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: WCG 435
Phone: 253-692-4794
Schedule: Currently on leave for Academic year 2013-2014.


  • Ph.D., Combinatorics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1993.
  • M.S., Pure Mathematics, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1987.
  • B.A., Mathematics and Biology, Williams College, 1985.


Jenny taught in and chaired the mathematics department at Occidental College before moving to UW Tacoma where she has just completed serving as Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. She has held many positions of national leadership in mathematics including as Executive Director for the Association for Women in Mathematics, co-editor of *Math Horizons,* and, currently, Second Vice President of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). She received one of MAAs 2007 Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching, the MAAs 2006 Beckenbach Book award for *Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof*, co-authored with Arthur Benjamin. As a combinatorial scholar, Jenny thinks that beautiful proofs are as much art as science. Simplicity, elegance, and transparency should be the driving principles. She strives to bring this same ethic to her professional service and administrative work.


Her research focuses on combinatorics, graph theory, and combinatorial matrix theory. She likes to count---specifically, finding concrete counting contexts that lead to clever combinatorial proofs of algebraic identities.

Recently, she has focused on sign-reversing involutions to delve into alternating sum identities, forming the backbone of her current project. She and her co-author, Arthur Benjamin, are (finally) writing a sequel to their award winning *Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof* tentatively titled *Proofs That Really Count II: Quintessential Combinatorial Proof."


Currently on leave for Academic year 2013-2014.

Previously has taught:

  • TMATH 124, 125, 126: Calculus & Analytic Geometry I, II, & III
  • TMATH 308: Matrix Analysis and is Applications
  • TCORE 124: Introduction to Science (Science of Secrecy)
  • TCSS 321, 322: Discrete Math I & II

Selected Publications

  • A.T. Benjamin and J.J. Quinn, Proofs that Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof, Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D.C. (2003).
  • A.T. Benjamin, N.T. Cameron, and J.J. Quinn, Fibonacci determinants-A combinatorial approach, Fibonacci Quarterly 45.1 (2007) 39-55.
  • A.T. Benjamin and J.J. Quinn, An alternate approach to alternating sums: a method to DIE for, College Math. Journal 39.3 (2008) 191-202.
  • A.T. Benjamin, J.J. Quinn, J.A. Sellars, and M.A. Shattuck, Paint it black-combinatorial yawp, Mathematics Magazine 81.1 (2008) 45-50.
  • J.J. Quinn, Visualizing Vandermonde's determinant through nonintersecting lattice paths, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 140.8 (2010) 2346--2350.
  • A.T. Benjamin, H. Dirks, and J.J. Quinn, The Combinatorialization of Linear Recurrences, Electronic Journal of Combinatorics 18.2 (2011), #P12, 18 pages.
  • J.J.Quinn, Book Review of Combinatorics the Rota Way (authors J.P.S. Kung, G.-C. Rota, and C. H. Yan), American Math. Monthly, June/July (2012), 527-529.


  • Mathematical Association of America
  • Association for Women in Mathematics
  • Fibonacci Association
  • Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications

Professional Service

  • A die-heart supporter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA)--serving as 2nd Vice-President (through the Joint Mathematics Meeting in January 2014) and a popular speaker in the Section Visitor's Program (through Spring 2014).
  • Over the years she has served on the boards or steering committees utilizing her editorial or administrative expertise including the Spectrum Book series, Mathematics Magazine, Executive Council of the MAA, Board of Governors of the MAA, Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Alumni Association of California, and Oregon Public Broadcasting's production Mathematics Illuminated.

Honors and Awards

  • 2012 University of Washington Tacoma Outstanding Woman
  • 2007 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics
  • One of three recipients awarded annually by the Mathematical Association of America to honor teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions.
  • 2006 Beckenbach Book Prize for Proofs that Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof. Awarded by the Mathematical Association of America to recognize a distinguished, innovative, and truly outstanding book.
  • 2005 Graham L. Sterling Award awarded by the Promotion and Tenure Committee of Occidental College to a faculty member "in recognition of strong teaching and service, and in particular, distinguished professional achievement."
  • 2004 Outstanding Academic Title, Proofs that Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof awarded January 2005 by Choice, the principal review journal for academic libraries.