Professor of Mathematics, University of British Columbia

Linked to this page you will find my publications, career and honours

Research Interests

My area of expertise is algebraic combinatorics. Initially I concentrated on descent algebras of Coxeter groups with a particular focus on their multiplicative structure, and the establishment of their basic algebraic structure and representation theory over fields of finite characteristic. 

Subsequently, I worked on Pieri operators on posets that link the diverse areas of Schubert calculus, combinatorics of polytopes, and P-partitions, amongst others. One particular discovery was the duality between peak functions and the cd-index. This led to studying ribbon Schur function equality, generalising this study to skew Schur function equality and applying the knowledge gleaned to the study of Schur positivity.

Most recently, I have been studying generalizations of Schur functions that reflect many of the properties displayed by classical Schur functions, such as Littlewood-Richardson rules, and their role in representation theory. I have also become interested in a generalization of the chromatic polynomial, known as the chromatic symmetric function.

Keywords and phrases combinatorial representation theory, graph theory, posets, symmetric functions and their generalizations, tableaux combinatorics.

Students in algebraic combinatorics

Those mentored in other subjects are not listed here.

Undergrad research: Kristin Shaw (2003, 2004, 2005), Chris Ryan (2005), Josh Fiddler (2006), Andrew Brown (2007), Farzin Barekat (2008), Jesseca Eng (2015), Ian Mak (2015), Foster Tom (2016), Adrian She (2017, 2018), Victor Wang (2020, 2021, 2022).

MSc: Matt Morin (2003-05), Vasu Tewari (2009-11), Caleb Cheek (2010-12), Foster Tom (2016-18), Ethan Shelburne (2021- ), Maria Esipova (2023- ).

PhD: Matt Morin (2005-2010), Vasu Tewari (2011-2015), Brian Chan (2016-2020).

Postdoc (joint): Kevin Purbhoo (2006-07),  Eric Fusy (2008-09),  Kurt Luoto (2009-11),  Mahdad Khatirinejad (2010-11), Ed Richmond (2011-14), Julian Courtiel (2015-16), Samantha Dahlberg (2016-18), Orit Raz (2017-19), Farid Aliniaeifard (2019-).

Current Conference Organisation

  • UBC Discrete Maths Seminar: 4-5pm Tuesday PST (50mins+qs), email me or Josh (jzahl) if interested.
  • BIRS Community in Algebraic and Enumerative Combinatorics Group Leader.
In the past I have also co-organized FPSAC 2004 and a CRM special semester, BIRS 2- and 5-Day Workshops plus FRGs and RITs,  plus CMS and AMS special sessions. I cofounded the Algebraic Combinatorics Research Community to facilitate both research and mentorship for women and minorities in algebraic combinatorics at both BIRS and ICERM. At the Science Faculty level I am the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Contact Information

Email:steph (at math splotch ubc followed by another splotch ca)
Phone:+1 604 822-2630
Fax:+1 604 822-6074

Paper mail:

Stephanie van Willigenburg, Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, 1984 Mathematics Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada. 


My husband is the medieval historian Niall Christie.
Stephanie van Willigenburg September 2023