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Meet Benjamin Holt

Benjamin Holt joined the Department of Mathematics in July 2023 as a Program Assistant.

Benjamin HoltWhere did you work before joining the Math Department?
Before I started here I was a project manager for a Los Angeles-based web design and development company, where I led small-to-large scale eCommerce website builds.  Prior to that I worked for the Utah System of Higher Education as a knowledge-and-communications database manager, where I designed, built out, and managed a new policy/procedure versioning and storage system.

What are your duties in this position?
I wear a lot of hats as a Program Assistant - and not just literally!  I primarily support the faculty, staff, and students in the department in a number of areas; among my responsibilities are coordinating travel arrangements, purchases, reimbursements, and more for department members and visitors, processing scheduling requests, handling incoming mail and packages, managing printer and office supplies, tracking teaching absences and substitutions, and performing general front desk-ery.  I also assist visitors who come into or call the main office with questions.  If you ask around, however, my most important duty would arguably be plying everyone with tea and cookies every day!
What do you enjoy most about working in the Math Department?
I love the atmosphere of academia!  Even if I'm a linguist and runologist by trade, I appreciate the passion and commitment of scholars in every field.  Though my personal interests are largely unrelated to mathematics, working here in the Math Department inspires me all the same - I'm surrounded by people who have dedicated themselves to lifelong learning and the pursuit of things that are challenging, enriching, engaging, and stimulating.
Tell us about your degrees.

As I mentioned, I'm a linguist!  I completed my B.A. in German (with a minor in Scandinavian Studies) in 2014.  I spent a good part of that time teaching German to undergrads, followed by a stint as an adjunct professor of Swedish for American students abroad.  The Scandinavian side won out in the end, as, in 2015, I moved to Reykjavik to begin my M.A. in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland.  My master's thesis (2017) was a combination of runology, comparative and historical linguistics, and network analysis; essentially, I analyzed the corpus of Viking-Age runic inscriptions from Sweden and Denmark to investigate the emergence of distinct Old Swedish and Old Danish dialects from Old East Norse, their shared ancestor.  I also have a certificate in full-stack web development from the U that I earned in 2022.

What are three things you like to do in your spare time? 
I play a lot of guitar!  I've been playing for a bit over 20 years at this point.  I've definitely spent way too much time (and money) on guitars and guitar gear over the last two decades, but hey - I love it (though I'm sure my cats don't).  On a related note, I also try to go to as many concerts and collect as many records as money allows.  Music is just a big part of my life!  I also love to read (I'm a big ol' sci-fi dork), cook, and travel (usually centered around seeing bands or getting tattoos).
Is there anything else you'd like to add that we didn't ask?
I enjoy helping others and making people smile - so if you ever need help with anything, don't hesitate to reach out!
Last Updated: 11/3/23