Purdue University North Central Math Club member Lisa Brownlee easily explained her reasons for joining the newly formed club, “Math is dynamic and interesting. Math can take me many places.”
Brownlee is among the first members of the club that was launched during the fall semester. Brownlee is among several members who are Mechanical Engineering majors.
Joseph Guncheon, a Mechanical Engineering major, explained his interest in Math, “There’s always an answer; there’s a logical path to follow. I can start a problem and see where it takes me. I challenge myself.”
The Math Club, under the guidance of faculty advisors Alain Togbe, professor of Mathematics and Natalie McGathy, assistant professor of Mathematics, features a variety of activities throughout the year. Students Andrew Popp is club president and Shane Ransom is vice president.
The clubs provides an informal opportunity for members and friends to share news and journal articles relating to mathematics, statistics and other relevant subjects. It’s also a great way for students to explore the aspects of mathematics that they find most interesting outside of the classroom.
Thus far the club has hosted guest lectures and talks on various topics surrounding mathematics and has shown movies. Club members plan to attend math-related meetings and conferences and they hope to participate in mathematics competitions in the near future.
Ryan Wasielewsti, a Mechanical Engineering major from Chesterton and Brownlee, of LaPorte, also serve as math tutors on campus. Likewise, club members volunteer to tutor for middle and high school students.
While the club members may come from a variety of academic interests and have different career paths in mind, they share a common interest and fascination with math.
“For me, as advisor, it is an opportunity to share my love for Mathematics with my students,” said Togbe.
The students also admit that they took varied paths to come to appreciate and understand math.
“I always ask myself ‘Why does it work?’ ‘What’s the reason behind it?’ ” said Maroin Choucair, a Mechanical Engineering major, from Michigan City. “That is what makes math interesting to me.”
Guncheon noted that when he was a child living in Hawaii he “didn’t quite get” math. When his family moved to Beverly Shores he was tutored by a retired civil engineer who presented math in a way that Guncheon found “fun and interesting.” That sparked his interest in math that has continued through the years.
Justin Miller admitted that he did not do too well with algebra as a high school student. But he started to study and delve deeper into the subject.
“I realized there was a point. If you study, it will all make sense,” he explained.
Choucair described that as child growing up in his native Lebanon, he discovered that “math is one of the most important things you will learn.”
“You can really test yourself and your abilities through math,” he said.
Brownlee credits her math interests to father’s subtle approach. “When we’d go on road trips, he’d hand me a math workbook to keep me occupied. I thought it was fun to work problems. I like math.”
The Math Club members enjoy getting together outside of the classroom to get to know one another and they see another side to their math professors too. They exchange ideas and inspiration and look forward to the future.
“We learn from one another,” said Choucair.
Wasielewski encouraged other students to join the club. “I say, ‘have fun. Do math.”