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Faculty in Residence

Faculty in Residence Program

The Faculty in Residence Program serves to support Soka University of America's academic objectives and is shaped to extend the classroom learning experience to all aspects of students' lives. Faculty in Residence are students' connection to enhanced academic potential serving to invigorate and enrich life at SUA. The Faculty in Residence Program is an excellent opportunity for students to get to know faculty outside of the traditional classroom environment. The Faculty Resident lives in the residence halls to support the students whether in their adjustment to campus life or assistance with coursework.

Faculty in Residence Program Goals

In 2001, Soka University established the Faculty in Residence Program where the application of classroom theory, experiential learning, and life skill development found a fresh outlet within the residential community.


2013-2014 Faculty in Residence      

Anna Varvak, PhD, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Message from your FIR:
There I was, on the leading edge of the storm, the gods of wind and lightening howling at my back. My sanity demanded that I ignore them as I peddled harder and harder on the two-wheeled contraption, their fury pushing my bicycle along at 50 or 60 miles per hour on a ribbon of pavement stretching across the Kansas prairie. There was nothing to do but make haste toward the refuge of some small city countless miles away. And then I saw it, at least I think I saw it in the flickering of Thor's thunder, the most feared manifestation of wind known to mortals... Tornado!
Never mind. I'll tell that story on a different day. Maybe I could come up with something more intriguing...
From atop the tallest peek of the tallest mountain range in Arizona, the San Francisco mountains, one can see the Grand Canyon on a clear day. But that was not to be my fate. Locals had fled these hills of volcanic rock because some nameless weather reporter had warned of impending storms. “Ha!” I said, “It takes more than just a few wispy clouds to keep me away!” And as I reached the summit, I gazed upon a view that few mortals have even seen, for in the valley in front of me were a conglomeration of clouds flickering with the awe-inspiring luminescence of soft lightening. Imagine how captivated I was as these silent wonders moved slowly in my direction. Moments later, there was nothing to be seen except thunderclouds, the lightening within them, and my feet atop them. Then it occurred to me... perhaps this isn't the safest thing I could be doing.
Hold it! Nobody ever believes that story. I can do better...
Dad is fairly expert, or at least he was then, at tuning the radio just right so that you could discern Voice of America in spite of the Soviet government’s jamming signal. That was fortunate, since the Kiev we called home was only 150 kilometers or so south of Chernobyl. It seems that officials in Sweden, more than 1000 kilometers away, had detected quite high levels of radiation on the prevailing Ukrainian wind. The Soviet-controlled press had been mum about the nuclear explosion that had forced unprecedented amounts of radiation into the atmosphere two days earlier. Mom thought it was time for a vacation... Immediately and somewhere far away.
Well, you see, they asked us to write a page or so by way of introduction. We could have done the standard sort of thing... “Hello, my name is Anna Varvak and this is my partner Anton. I teach mathematics here at Soka, he's a software engineer for nVidia, and blah blah blah...” But wouldn’t you rather hear a good story? We certainly like telling them.So you should come to our various little social events throughout the year. We'll tailor the themes to whatever else is going on, play a few games, munch a few goodies, and converse. Or just drop by in the evening. Whatever. The best way to get to know us is face-to-face.
Anna and Anton Varvak