Caren Diefenderfer, chair
P.O. Box 9735
Roanoke, VA 24020
A student graduating with a mathematics major from Hollins will be a logical thinker who is well educated in major areas of mathematics:
Students become adept at applying mathematical concepts to problem solving in a wide array of fields. A recent survey of mathematics graduates shows careers as bankers, teachers, defense analysts, actuaries, and programmers and graduate school placements in mathematics, forensic science, medicine, and law.
At Hollins, we use Maple, a mathematical/statistical software program designed to help college students learn mathematical concepts. It has packages for algebra, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, statistics, probability, and much more. The plots, 3-D graphics, and animation make visualizing mathematics easier than ever before, and easier visualization goes hand in hand with a more concrete understanding of concepts.
Faculty members also use collaborative learning to promote the discovery method of learning. Our students enjoy learning because they actively participate in the process.
Mathematics majors can choose to complete a senior research thesis under the direction of a department faculty member. Recent student projects include:
On-campus research by students is supplemented by off-campus internships and summer research experiences for undergraduates. Some students choose to stay in the Roanoke Valley, a metropolitan area of 236,000, while others arrange internships in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, or their hometowns. Accounting firms, banks, and other corporations provide settings for students to put their learning to work.
Several mathematics majors have also been awarded nationally competitive summer research experiences. Recent awards include:
Each year, the Hollins Science Seminar highlights the many research projects Hollins students have carried out during the academic year. Students in psychology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and environmental studies present posters that summarize their independent research initiatives, from field projects in the Caribbean to modeling interesting mathematical phenomena.