My Winthrop Math Experience
Teaching is a difficult challenge, but a challenge that Heather Martin welcomes. Driven by a strong desire to be a great math teacher like her aunt, Heather chose Winthrop because of its reputation as the best education college in South Carolina and because her aunt is also a Winthrop alumna. Heather says that the entire faculty in the Mathematics Department is excellent and more than willing to help students grasp concepts that are covered in math classes. She also expresses that her success in the Mathematics program at Winthrop has been made especially possible through the assistance of Drs. Joseph Rusinko and Frank Pullano. Heather says that “one of Winthrop’s best attributes is not being known only as a number by professors, but having them know you by name.”
Involvement in student organizations can be beneficial to a career path, and Heather believes that involvement in the organizations at Winthrop has opened many doors to her future. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, serves as the Vice President of Programming for the College Panhelenic Council, and is a Teaching Fellow, which is a competitive scholarship in South Carolina that is awarded to those pursuing a career in education. Additionally, she participated in the first math research program at Winthrop, and was invited to present at the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in Greenville, South Carolina.
Hannah Kolberg Smalley
Hannah Kolberg Smalley graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from Winthrop University in 2004, and went on to complete a M.S. in Mathematics at Winthrop, graduating in 2005. She then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Optimization in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has also earned an M.S. in Operations Research during her time at Georgia Tech. Hannah's research at Georgia Tech is focused on optimization methods applied to real-world problems, particularly those faced in healthcare, and she has had the opportunity to work on projects with the CDC and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Hannah says she was inspired by Dawn Strickland, a former professor of Mathematics at Winthrop, who also received her PhD in Optimization from Georgia Tech, and mentored Hannah as she began pursuing the same goal. Hannah enjoyed her classes with Dr. Strickland, and was inspired by her excitement and passion for teaching.
Hannah was a recipient of the Winthrop University Trustee's Scholarship, as well as the South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, both of which enabled her to study abroad in Geelong, Australia (near Melbourne) for a semester, and she expresses how much she values that experience. At Georgia Tech, she received the 2010 William B. George Health Systems Institute Fellowship, and was a finalist for the 2010 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice for work in catch-up immunization scheduling.
Hannah greatly values her Winthrop experience. “I met my husband (William Smalley) there, and we have been married for nearly 4 years now. We have a beautiful daughter who is 18 months old. My experience at Winthrop led me to Georgia Tech, and the skills I learned at Winthrop have been integral to my success.”
Junior Rachel Ivey always knew she wanted to teach, so Winthrop was the perfect fit.
“I chose Winthrop because it's well-known for its education program,” she said. “As a future teacher, I wanted to have the best college experience to prepare myself to be the best teacher I can be.”
Winthrop offers certifications in middle level education and secondary education, important factors in Ivey’s choice to attend. “Math and English are my strong points, so I naturally gravitated to those subjects,” she said. “I wanted as much flexibility as possible.”
In addition to the flexibility her certifications offer, Ivey has enjoyed her experience in the Mathematics department. “It's a major that is full of opportunities to grow and learn and challenges students to push themselves to be better learners and thinkers,” she said. “I have enjoyed being at a school where the Math Department faculty enjoy the content as much as I do and have such enthusiasm for what they're teaching.”
Ivey has taken this enthusiasm for the discipline and given back to the community. As a math tutor in the Academic Success Center, she helps other students excel in the subject. “The best part is that I get paid to help students learn what I love!”
Honors College graduate Rickey Carter spent a large portion of his time at Winthrop University in Bancroft Hall, and he remembers getting to know the faculty well. Professors encouraged him to apply for scholarships and take graduate level courses as an undergraduate. During his undergraduate years, Rickey received several scholarships, including the Ellen Rasor Wylie Mathematics Scholarship and the M L Fagan McCloy Scholarship.
Former Winthrop professor Jim Bentley, and current professor Gary Brooks introduced Carter to the field of biostatistics through their lectures in probability and statistical inference courses. Their introduction led Rickey to pursue a PhD in biostatistics at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2002, and ultimately launched his current career as an associate professor of biostatistics in the Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic. Rickey also serves as the chair of the Clinical Statistics Section within the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research.
Even though his career and research interests are in a very technical field, Rickey attributes his success to his foundation in a liberal arts education. “I believe undergraduate enrollment in a liberal arts institution is appropriate for everybody, including those that want to later pursue science and technology,” he said. “Winthrop allows you to shape your training so that you can be successful right out of college or be well prepared for graduate education.”
His memories of Winthrop extend beyond the classroom, as well. Rickey met his wife (Shannon Browne Carter - ’96) at the Winthrop Golf Course and proposed to her in front of Tillman. “We have taken our kids to the campus to show them where we met,” he said. “We also love to see how much the campus has grown yet retains the charm that we fondly remember.”