Although math was Eden Shroyer’s ’15 favorite subject growing up, she came to Earlham thinking about a variety of majors.
“I took Functions, and it snapped me back into the reality that I love math,” she says. “Even if it is hard, you have to push through it because everything here is really hard.”
Math helps the Selma, Ind., native think outside the box and develop problem-solving skills.
“Math causes me to talk with teachers and other students in order to work through some of the problems, so math helps me develop relationships,” she explains.
For senior year, she is excited about upcoming courses that utilize proofs, including Abstract Algebra and Multivariate Calculus, in which there is more than one variable.
Proofs as puzzles
“I have always liked computational work, but I am starting to see proofs as puzzles,” she says. “All of the upper level classes are more discussion-oriented.”
Shroyer has high praise for the math faculty, and especially for Professor Tim McLarnan.
“Tim is over the top when he talks about math and the way he enjoys doing it,” she says. “He is brilliant and has a very different teaching style. When he is helping me with a proof, he gets so excited that his eyes literally light up. He gives us problems where there’s always a trick way to do something, and it’s stuff I have never heard of.”
Shroyer and sophomore Gwen Claflin were both selected to attend the Undergraduate Women in Mathematics Conference, which begins on Jan. 31, at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb.
“From my understanding, I will see examples of careers involving math and research that women have done or are doing,” she says. “It seems that it will be a conference devoted to giving women confidence in mathematics and furthering their education.”
Shroyer has always loved puzzles and numbers, and math allows her to put them together perfectly.
“I love puzzles and Sudoku,” she says as she flips to the back page of The Word and quickly begins plugging numbers in the Sudoku’s rows and columns. “I haven’t done one of these in so long,” she continues, giddy with excitement. Shroyer completes easy Sudoku puzzles in less than two minutes. She once completed a 550-piece jigsaw puzzle in two hours, and a 1000 piece puzzle takes her two days to complete.
“I like that jigsaw puzzles are ordered and that only four pieces can attach,” she says. “The challenge is to get it done, and I start by flipping the pieces over, completing the edging and then working by color. I like brightly colored jigsaw puzzles. At the end, I can just pop them in, and I don’t know how I do it.”
Exploring many passions
In addition, Shroyer is a FYE Up, or First-Year-Experience Upperclassman, and as such, lives in the first-year dorms and plans weekend activities a couple of times each semester.
She also enjoys Zumba, tutoring, grading, weaving, attending plays and musicals with her grandpa, and singing in Gospel Revelations Gospel Choir.
“I love singing in Gospel Revs because there is so much power, sass and love in that room at every moment,” she says. “I love all the attitude.”