I was a 1989 graduate of RHIT, with BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Mathematics.
After graduation from Rose-Hulman, I attended Purdue University, where I earned an
MS in Electrical Egineering. I also embarked on a seventeen-year career in engineering,
holding positions of varying responsibility at NSWC Crane, Cummins Engine Company,
Space Hardware Optimization Technology (SHOT, Inc), and Orbital Sciences Corporation.
I worked in product development on a number of aerospace, defense, and automotive
projects. Along the way, I also earned an MBA and an MS in Global Supply Chain
Management from Indiana University. In most of the positions I held, the specific
mathematics I learned at Rose-Hulman wasn't used daily, but the rigorous way of thinking
that I developed at Rose definitely was critical to my success.
A few years ago, I began to face the fact that engineering was not my true passion.
Apparently I was one of the last to recognize my calling
- when completing my MBA, I spoke with three of my IU professors about "where
to go next", and all three advised me to seriously consider life in academia (not
the typical advice doled out to new MBA graduates).
After much thought, I decided these professors were right - almost.
However, instead of returning to school to earn a doctorate in business, I chose to
pursue my PhD in mathematics. I am now in the Mathematics PhD program at Arizona
State University, where I hope to finish in 2009. I am doing research in undergraduate
mathematics education, investigating the ways in which undergraduates and high school
students come to understand foundational topics like rate of change, proportionality,
trigonometric functions, and the concept of "function" in general. After
I finish my PhD, I intend to join a college/university faculty, to continue teaching
My advice to prospective mathematics majors is simple and direct: If you believe math
is your passion, do it. My experiences with the RHIT math faculty were all extremely
positive. Unlike some colleges that will work you hard to weed you out, the faculty
at Rose will work you hard to make you better. When you finish your degree, you
will find that you are prepared to go a lot of different directions, whether your aspirations
are industry or academia.