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Raymond Joseph Friend Jr.

Graduate Assistant, Thesis Advisor: Linda Westrick
man smiling with plain background
I am a graduate student in mathematics, PhD Candidate, and graduate teaching assistant with Teaching Associate status at Penn State. I am interested in things like sustainability and making a more accessible and affordable world.

Personal Information

My professional website can be found here (my CV lives there).

This is my technical blog, Sifter

My advisor at Penn State is Dr. Linda Westrick. My secondary advisor is Dr. Jan Reimann

This is the link to my GitHub profile.

Working on my second and third languages: Español and Português! 

This is my teaching webpage



  • My main thread of research focuses on effective fractal dimension and applications to fractal geometry. Conditional complexity, how effective dimension behaves under geometric transformations, and information extraction. 
  • I work with Dr. Jan Reimann and other graduate students in creating a new, open-source suite of projects to make math education at Penn State more accessible and affordable using HTML, Jupyter, and Python. Here is an example of our new MATH 110: Techniques of Calculus textbook deployed Fall 2021.
  • I produced the first ever Eberly College of Science Greenhouse Gas Inventory, quantifying the annual emissions related to all of Penn State's Eberly College of Science activities and operations. This was the most ambitious inventory effort performed at Penn State, and has served as a template for various other colleges and units at the university to produce their own inventories. My inventory further recommends methods for decarbonization, offset, and strategic planning to counteract our current emissions. I personally have helped produced unit-level inventories for the University Libraries and the College of Health and Human Development. Eberly College's Science Journal 2022 Issue 2 featured an exposition on this project. 
  • I also produced the first ever Council of Commonwealth Student Governments Lifetime Greenhouse Gas Inventory, quantifying all greenhouse gas emissions produced through all operations committed by Penn State's CCSG (the student government for all commonwealth campuses) in its 60+ year history. This inventory effort was the first performed for any organization at Penn State, and has inspired other student governments to produce their own as well.
  • My team and I were finalists in the 2021 Nittany AI Challenge with our idea Trace.
  • I advised and co-lead a finalist team in the 2022 Nittany AI Challenge named Stellar AI.
  • I have written a research report in Portuguese about Ethnomathematics and the mathematical practices found in indigenous Brazilian practices. 

Mathematical Experiences

  • I participated in the 1-week University of Connecticut Computability and Combinatorics Summer School and Conference in Summer 2023. We covered Computability Theory: Ramsey theorems, Model Theory: constructions of random combinatorial structures, and Set Theory: constructive solutions to combinatorial problems. 
  • I participated in the 2-week MSRI Mathematics of Machine Learning Summer School held at New York University's Courant Institute in Summer 2022. We covered Deep Learning, Statistical Learning, Online Learning, Reinforcement Learning, and Convex Optimization.
  • I participated in the 3-week IMS Logic Summer School held by the National University of Singapore for three weeks in Summer 2022. We covered topics in forcing, tracial von Neumann algebras, and effective Hausdorff dimension.
  • I participated in the sixth IMA Math-to-Industry Bootcamp in Summer 2021. We covered machine learning, statistical programming, and data science techniques, as well as performed data science projects for industry partners over 6 weeks.
  • I participated in the 8-week Auburn University Mathematics REU in Summer 2018, where we mostly covered open problems in Graph and Ramsey Theory.


  • As of October 2023, I now possess my department's Teaching Associate Status, which reflects a distinguished completion of my graduate teaching assistant training program and for having shown a record of successful classroom teaching.
  • I have taught and TA'd multiple courses as Penn State: MATH 033 (Mathematics for Sustainability), MATH 230 (Calculus and Vector Analysis), and MATH 486 (Mathematical Theory of Games). 
  • I have taught 5 sections of MATH 033 as the principal instructor; 2 sections of MATH 033 as a co-instructor; 1 section of MATH 230 as the principal instructor; and 3 sections of MATH 486 as the TA/grader.
  • My teaching webpage highlights my teaching philosophy, the content I've generated for my courses, and other resources. 
  • I received the 2021 Department of Mathematics Teaching Award through the Penn State Math Department (called the Robert and Betsy Wilson Endowed Scholarship).

Resources for Students

  • Here is the link to a list of resources available to students dealing with housing, food, clothing, transportation, funding, or health insecurities. Feel free to distribute. The list was compiled by me and my students from MATH 33 during Fall 2021.
  • I aim to provide a safe space for all students of all races, abilities, sexual & romantic orientations, genders, religions, ages, nationalities, and ideologies. Please reach out to me if you believe I can help you navigate Penn State more safely or equitably. 



  • I have been learning Spanish since August 2020, y he viajado a muchas países donde se habla español. 
  • I am a FLAS Scholar: I participated in a language and cultural exchange (intercâmbio) through CET in São Paulo, Brazil in the Summer of 2023 to learn about Brazil and Brazilian Portuguese. Eu gosto de pensar que posso falar neste idioma também.
  • I love to travel. I have traveled to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Singapore, Canada, and Brazil so far :)
  • I often run, bike, swim, and rock climb.
  • I love to code; especially mathy games and visualizations. You can see some of my creations on my Khan Academy profile!
  • I am the proud parent of many houseplants.