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Administration & Administrative Staff

Rina Ashkenazi

Rina Ashkenazi

Ph.D., Academic Director MCFAM

Professor Ashkenazi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota and the Academic Director of MCFAM.   She is responsible for MCFAM academic standards, admissions, MCFAM research teams, curriculum development and academic advising.   Professor Ashkenazi has a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel and a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.   Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Rina spent five years in the Mathematics Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.   Rina's research interests focus mainly on modeling complex systems in a variety of disciplines, such as physics, biology, finance and risk management, and she has taught a variety of courses related to Financial and Actuarial Mathematics for the past seven years, including Introduction to Probability, Stochastic Processes, Actuarial Mathematics, and Theory of Interest.   In addition, Professor Ashkenazi has five years of experience in Industry as an Algorithms Engineer in two major high tech companies, Orbotech Limited in Yavneh, Israel and Applied Materials in Rehovot, Israel.

Laurie Derechin

Laurie A. Derechin

MBA, Executive Director MCFAM

Ms. Derechin is responsible for overall MCFAM operations, including student recruiting, external relations, internship and job placements, and developing partnerships with and support from the financial and actuarial mathematics sector. Ms. Derechin has over 25 years of business experience in a variety of industry sectors. She has been a hiring manager for many years and has experience identifying talented employees and helping them progress in their careers. Her expertise includes new product and organizational development, revenue and customer growth in highly competitive markets, and cross functional teamwork to improve customer satisfaction and company profitability. She was one of the founders and senior officers of Xcel Energy's wholly owned broadband subsidiary which grew to 47,000 customers in six years and was sold. She founded and was President and CEO of a Minnesota broadband company, Great River Communications Corp. Ms. Derechin was also an adult education teacher in Spain, and has an MBA from ESADE in Barcelona, Spain, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a teaching certification from OCR(Oxford, Cambridge and RSA.)

Robin Dixon

Robin Dixon

Prin Ofc & Admin Specialist

Robin Dixon has worked as an Administrative Assistant for over 18 years. She brings to this position, strong organizational, interpersonal and technical skills along with the ability to multi-task effectively. Her duties include being the first point of contact for MCFAM, providing information about curriculum, actuarial exam workshops, as well as assisting the MCFAM Directors and our many MCFAM students with a variety of administrative duties that help increase the efficiency of MCFAM and its programs.

Bonny Fleming

Bonny Fleming

Graduate Program Coordinator

Ms. Fleming has worked at the University of Minnesota in a variety of administrative roles for over 30 years.   She has been with the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) Program within MCFAM since its inception in 2007.   Ms. Fleming is involved in the administrative aspects of MCFAM and the School of Mathematics, Graduate Studies programs, including student orientations, admissions processes, on-going student inquiries and support, as well as many other administrative tracking and database management duties.   In addition to her responsibilities relating to MCFAM, she is also the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies within the School of Mathematics.   Among other things, Ms. Fleming's expertise includes problem solving, making administrative systems more efficient and multi-tasking.