|Name: Jenny Polm
Year Graduated: 2005
First Job: Mathematics professor at Montgomery College in Germantown, Maryland
Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Delaware.
UMW Mathematics Department’s Oscar Schultz Award.
Memorable Experiences in the Classroom:
I’ll never forget Foundations of Advanced Mathematics with Dr. K because it was my first experience with upper-level proof-based mathematics. Dr. K guided our close-knit class from baby mathematicians to the real deal by challenging us to stretch ourselves and conquer more and more difficult proofs and topics in mathematics… and we had fun in the process! This course gave me the mathematical foundation I needed to be successful in courses like Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis, Topology, and graduate courses at UD. Dr. K taught me to appreciate the beauty of proofs. He was demanding but incredibly caring and truly wanted to help all of us succeed!
Dr. Mellinger introduced me to and advised me in undergraduate research, taught me to be a more independent learner and mathematician, and encouraged me to publish mathematics articles and to apply for graduate school.
I also must mention Prof. Durrer, my Calculus I professor my first semester at UMW, for encouraging me to become a mathematics major when I had never even considered it before. I loved her teaching style with a clear presentation of difficult material and the group work and review activities that she did to make class more fun. She is one of my teaching role models that I try to emulate when I am teaching my own college students.
Memorable Experiences Outside the Classroom:
I had so much fun with my fellow mathematics majors and the faculty at UMW. There was a great friendly atmosphere amongst majors and we got together both at mathematics events and for nightly study sessions and weekly dinners at each others’ apartments. I will never forget playing basketball with Dr. Mellinger and Dr. Edmunds and the other mathematics majors on Fridays. I also watched a fellow student challenge Dr. Chiang in Ping-Pong to try to earn the A she promised if anyone could beat her. Needless to say, the student did not earn the automatic A. The faculty made themselves available both for extra help in mathematics and for fun outside the classroom which is why there is such an excellent community atmosphere in the mathematics department at UMW.
Why Should Somebody Study Mathematics at UMW?
Students should study mathematics at UMW because they have the advantage of small class sizes and caring faculty with open-door office policies who can give them the one-on-one attention they need to be successful in mathematics. Additionally, UMW has an outstanding and respected undergraduate research program which will help students transition into a graduate degree if they desire. UMW maintains an excellent working relationship with the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center – a major employer of mathematicians and computer scientists in the Fredericksburg area – and with area schools, should students decide to go the mathematics education route. These are just two examples, but there are so many career possibilities with a mathematics degree!