Rachel Trana, Ph.D., is a software developer, mathematician and assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Northeastern Illinois University. By combining her enthusiasm for learning, her software development experience, and a lifelong love of science, mathematics and technology, Rachel seeks to empower and impact future generations of technologists through education.
Rachel holds doctoral and master's degrees in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University, and earned her baccalaureate degree in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Her doctoral research at Northwestern University focused on mathematical modeling and experimental electrophysiology in the hippocampus region of the brain. By combining experimental and computational approaches (numerical methods, parallel processing, and optimization techniques), she attempted to discern how the filtering properties of dendrites and the voltage-gated channels within their membranes enable hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons to process the thousands of excitatory synaptic inputs received on their dendrites. Rachel is also the recipient of several awards and grants, which include the National Institute of Health Neurobiology of Information and Storage Training Grant (2006-2007), the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Fellowship (2004-2005), the Marine Biological Laboratory Scholarship (2004), and the Walter P. Murphy Fellowship (2002-2003).
Following the completion of her doctoral degree, Rachel joined an exciting and socially conscious software development consultancy, ThoughtWorks, Inc. as a software developer and consultant. During her time at ThoughtWorks, she employed agile methodologies to help deliver software solutions to a variety of clients using a broad spectrum of technologies and tools.
In January 2014, Rachel joined the Computer Science Department at Northeastern Illinois University, where she has taught a broad range of courses in which she employs multiple pedagogical techniques to promote student engagement and retention. Currently, her office is located in Lech Walesa Hall #3036 and she can be contacted most easily via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.