Assistant Professor

Spencer graduated from Oberlin College in 2007 with Honors in Mathematics.  During his time as an undergraduate he studied mathematics abroad in both Budapest and Moscow.  In 2014 he completed his Ph.D. in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization at the Georgia Institute of Technology having also spent three semesters as a visiting graduate student at UC Berkeley.  While in graduate school he twice traveled to Dharamshala, India to teach mathematics to Tibetan monks as part of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative.  He then conducted postdoctoral research at mathematical institutes and departments in South Korea, Italy, Germany, and Israel.  He is a seventh generation Vermonter who grew up on his family's farm in Calais, Vermont.  

Spencer’s research is in algebraic and geometric combinatorics, e.g. algebraic aspects of graphs, matroids, and polytopes.  A common thread running through his work has been tropical geometry, a combinatorial piecewise-linear version of classical algebraic geometry, and the new perspective it lends to classical combinatorial objects.


  1. Simplicial Generation of Chow Rings of Matroids, with Chris Eur and Connor Simpson, Journal of the European Mathematical Society (to appear).
  2. Geometric Bijections for Regular Matroids, Zonotopes, and Ehrhart Theory, with Matthew Baker and Chi Ho Yuen, Forum of Mathematics, Sigma, Volume 7, 2019, e45.
  3. Fourientations and the Tutte Polynomial, with Sam Hopkins, Research in the Mathematical Sciences, December 2017, 4:18.
  4. Riemann-Roch Theory for Graph Orientations, Advances in Mathematics, Volume 309, pages 655-691, March 2017.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Algebraic and Geometric Combinatorics


  • Ph.D., Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization - Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.A., Mathematics - Oberlin College


  • 802-656-4292
Office Location:

Innovation E441

  1. Spencer's Website

Courses Taught

  • Combinatorial Graph Theory 273