Jessica Sklar

Professor of Mathematics

Office Location:Morken Center for Learning & Technology - Room 259

Office Hours: M & W: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Mon - Fri: By Appointment

Curriculum Vitae: View my CV

  • Professional
  • Biography


  • Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Oregon, 2001
  • M.S., Mathematics, University of Oregon, 1997
  • B.A., Mathematics and English, Swarthmore College, 1995

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Abstract Algebra
  • Recreational Mathematics
  • Popularizing Mathematics


  • Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences Chapters "‘Bok bok’: exploring the game of Chicken in film." (Springer International Publishing 2020) : View Book
  • Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences Chapters "‘Elegance in design’: mathematics and the works of Ted Chiang." (Springer International Publishing 2020) : View Book
  • First-Semester Abstract Algebra: A Structural Approach (GNU Free Documentation License 2017) : View Book
  • Mathematics in Popular Culture: Essays on Appearances in Film, Literature, Games, Television and Other Media co-edited with Elizabeth S. Sklar (McFarland & Co. 2012) : View Book

Selected Presentations

  • Seattle University Math Colloquium, Money! Mystery! Murder! Madness! Metaphor! (& Mathematics), Seattle, WA (March 8, 2018)
  • Willamette Valley REU-RET Consortium for Math Research (invited), Illuminating Confused Electrician Problems, Linfield College, McMinnville, OR (July 8, 2014)
  • 2012 Meeting of the BABEL Working Group (invited), Cabbages and Kings: Mathematics and the Humanities, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (With Elizabeth S. Sklar.) Presented by Amy Kaufman, Middle Tennessee State University. (A medical emergency kept my co-speaker and I from attending the conference.)
  • July 2012 Author of the Month Lecture (invited), Prime Time: Mathematics and Popular Culture, Ada's Technical Books, Seattle, WA (July 12, 2012)
  • Northwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium (invited keynote speaker), Dials and Levers and Glyphs, Oh My! Mathematical Solutions to Computer Game Puzzles, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR (March 10, 2012)
  • PLU Mathematics Colloquia, The Graph Menagerie: Abstract Algebra and the Mad Veterinarian, Tacoma, WA (November 19, 2008)

Selected Articles

  • Sklar, J. and Edgar, T. "A Confused Electrician Uses Smith Normal Form." Mathematics Magazine Vol. 89, 2016: 3-13.
  • "Thinking outside the box: application versus discovery in Saw and Cube." Mathematics in Popular Culture: Essays on Appearances in Film, Literature, Games, Television and Other Media co-edited with Elizabeth S. Sklar 2012: see above.
  • Jessica Sklar and Gene Abrams. "The graph menagerie: abstract algebra and the Mad Veterinarian." Mathematics Magazine Vol. 83(3), 2010: 168-179 Peer-reviewed, national publication.
  • Jessica Sklar, Daniel Heath, I.M. Isaacs and John Kiltinen. "Symmetric and alternating groups generated by a full cycle and another element." The American Mathematical Monthly Vol. 166(5), 2009: 447-451 Peer-reviewed, international publication.
  • "The ideal vacuum: visual metaphors for algebraic concepts." Proceedings of the International Conference of Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science 2007: 241-246 Peer-reviewed, international publication.
  • "Dials and levers and glyphs, oh my! Linear algebra solutions to computer game puzzles." Mathematics Magazine Vol. 79(5), 2006: 360-367 Peer-reviewed, national publication.


  • Author of the Month at Ada's Technical Books , July 2012, Seattle, WA
  • Mathematics Association of America Carl B. Allendoerfer Award , 2011
  • PLU Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award , 2006
  • Johnson Research Fellowship , Summer 2000
  • Co-Principal Investigator for Mathematical Association of America Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences Program Grant, 2012
  • Co-Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation Grant, 2003-2009


Jessica received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Oregon in June, 2001, under the guidance of Professor Frank Anderson, and couldn’t have been happier with her choices of school and advisor. Her current research interests lie in the areas of abstract algebra and the popularizing of mathematics. She received her B.A. in Mathematics and English from Swarthmore College in 1995, and obtained her Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Oregon in 1997. She’s not as good at SET as rumor has it, but is a better Scrabble player than you might expect.