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.  He is thrilled to have recently joined the UVM faculty.

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.


Transfinite Ford-Fulkerson on a Finite Network, with Tony Huynh,
Computability, vol. Pre-press, No. Pre-press, pp. 1-7, 2018.

Fourientations and the Tutte Polynomial, with Sam Hopkins, Research in the
Mathematical Sciences, December 2017, 4:18.

Riemann-Roch Theory for Graph Orientations, Advances in Mathematics, Volume
309, pages 655-691, March 2017.

Explicit Deformation of Lattice Ideals via Chip Firing Games on Directed
Graphs, with Madhusudan Manjunath, Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics, Volume
42, Issue 4, December 2015, pages 10971110.

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

Courses Taught

  • Combinatorial Graph Theory 273