“The power of mathematical thinking is manifested precisely when we are willing to explore promising avenues even when they lead us outside preexisting expectations.”
— David M. Bressoud, former president, Mathematical Association of America
As a first-year undergraduate in central North Carolina, I was considering a career in engineering. Naturally, this led to my enrollment in quite a few mathematics courses, from calculus to linear algebra. My junior-year course in differential equations was a pivotal moment, as I saw the diverse ideas of my previous classes intertwine to deliver beautiful applicability.
At the same time, however, I was drawn more and more toward the theoretical richness of the mathematical structures themselves, and working as a tutor developed a love of sharing these ideas with others. By the time I completed my bachelor’s degree, I had decided to pursue mathematics as a vocation.
I teach a variety of courses at Mars Hill, from finite mathematics to calculus, but differential equations will always hold a special place for me. Its blend of intrinsic depth and broad utility in other fields gives me an opportunity to work both with students seeking methods to solve practical problems and with those who wish to study mathematics for its own sake.
When not in the classroom, I enjoy playing games of all types. Two bookshelves of board and card games line the walls of my home, and nine video game consoles currently occupy space in my living room. I have participated in an organized tabletop role-playing campaign since 2014. I always relish the chance to discuss a game-related example in class; highlights include determining the expected results of dice rolls and a semester-long analysis of item drop rates in the video game Final Fantasy XIII.