My name is Mike Pawliuk and I am a PhD candidate in math at the University of Toronto, with advisors Stevo Todorcevic (Toronto) and Vladimir Pestov (Ottawa). My wife Janet is also a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto (in Classics) and we moved to Toronto from Winnipeg in 2009.
Mathematically, I am interested in set theory and topology, with an emphasis on (large) topological groups, topological dynamics and universal spaces (like the Urysohn space). My thesis checks the amenability and unique ergodicity of the automorphism groups of the directed graphs on Cherlin’s list. Recently, I helped organize the Toronto/York Student Set Theory and Topology Seminar. Problem solving for contests and Olympiads is also something I commit a lot of time to. Recently I was a lecturer at the 2015 Winter Camp for Canadian IMO students; I lead this session about generating functions.
I really enjoy teaching and I like thinking about how to make my course as awesome as it can be. I taught point set topology in the summers of 2013 and 2014 (which was the first time a graduate student taught that course at the University of Toronto) and I taught the second half of a first year calculus course. Part of what makes me such a strong teacher is that I consider myself a mentor as well; I teach math, but I also teach life. I have written two guides to succeeding in first year calculus and curated a collection of 35 mathematical summer projects.
Extra-mathematically, I juggle, cheer for the Edmonton Oilers (the Winnipeg Jets weren’t around when I started watching hockey!), coach improv and play Magic the Gathering (here’s my Kami of the Crescent Moon commander deck). I take reading, etymology and dictionaries quite seriously; I have 5 full bookshelves at home with one for each of Literature, Science Fiction, Math, Graphic Novels and Classics (these are my wife’s). My favourite place in Toronto is BMV books at which I spend altogether too much money.