Summary

Overall Educational Vision:

  • Wanted interdisciplinary education, saw majors as building blocks for further life-long learning.
  • Math is the foundation for studying natural sciences.
  • Classics is a big part of the foundation for studying humanities.
  • Over time, I became more intensely interested in my majors, focusing on depth rather than breadth of knowledge.

Growing as a mathematician:

  • First-year honors calculus taught me the importance of English words in mathematical proofs.  I understood it better when I TAed the same course.
  • The Mathematical Contest in Modeling was a fun challenge to apply math to real-world problems in four days.
  • Summer programs, research, and graduate classes.
  • Honors thesis: Regularity of Free Boundaries.

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Deepening understanding of classics:

  • Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman stuff.
  • Like math, Classics is not just about symbol manipulation—it is about beautiful ideas which changed the course of history.
  • From a class on Plato’s Symposium, I found that it’s hard engage the text without bringing modern ideas into it.
  • But once we understand an author’s ideas, we evaluate them and see how they apply to our own lives.
  • Senior essay: Connections between Amphitruo and Bacchae.
  • In Classics, unlike math, we can’t prove everything—there is simply not enough information.  Instead, focus on cohesion/flow/storytelling.

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Other challenging/interesting classes:

  • Making of the 21st Century and Middle East Politics were challenging classes because I am not used to the social-science method of thinking.  They also showed me how complicated and messy political problems can be.
  • An easy but fun honors class on the Power of Music.  We heard from musicians, experimented with sound, and learned how music connects with different disciplines.  I did a presentation on the thought processes involved in swing dancing to music.

Summary of extracurriculars:

  • I went to church almost every week.
  • In summer 2013, I went to Japan for four weeks to volunteer, helping missionaries with housework and participating in tsunami relief (a year after the tsunami).
  • I had a lot of fun swing dancing and found new friends.

Huskies for Opportunities in Prison Education:

  • On a whim, I took a summer honors class about education in prison.
  • We went to the prison to have inmates as part of our class.
  • We read about prison issues and brainstormed ideas of concrete ways students could help.
  • I was blown away by how much some prisoners value education, and inspired to actually do something.
  • In order to implement some of our ideas, I joined the HOPE club (which came out of the class the previous year).
  • Recent project:  Exhibition of prisoner art in the quad:

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Reflections on Busyness

  • I was very busy, and at times my life seemed like an impossible balancing act.
  • Sometimes I ready for anything, but other times I experienced angst–am I good enough?  Am I spending my time on the right things?  And so forth.
  • Angst is stupid.  It reminds me of when I was a kid doing math with sidewalk chalk and cried because I couldn’t square a three-digit number.
  • The antidote I keep coming back to:  Take everything as a gift, not something you earn through your own accomplishments.  This is one application of the Christian idea of grace.
  • Need a vision bigger than yourself.  Vision is like music in that it helps us balance and keep going, and it makes our stumbling irrelevant.
  • Don’t try to be the Messiah because you aren’t.

Atlas

I used to bear the burden of the world,

The swirling seas and terraced continents

That like a blanket round its waist are furled

And hold all peoples, places, and events.

I used to carry heaven’s vaulted frame,

Whose grinding gears propel the day and night,

With gold-helmed warriors whirling wheels of flame

Who stab the hungry void with spears of light.

But now I dance the grass beneath the sun,

The fallen leaves, the snow, the violet flowers,

And feast and sing and sacrifice and run,

Or softly sleep in ivy-curtained bowers.

I lose the world, I lose its heavy fear:

A greater One than Heracles is here.

 

 

Art of a Mathematician