Laurie Walker began teaching math at Harding in 2006. Walker believes working in math is a way for students to learn to think critically, make educated decisions and understand difficult situations.
“It forces them to embrace ideas that are challenging and to actually dig deep, learn and consider things that they had never thought about before, which is going to be required not necessarily about math but through out your life,” Walker said. “They’re going to have to learn to think about things they never thought about before and understand concepts that are difficult and don’t come easily. It’s very good training for the mind to be able to embrace ideas that are foreign to it.”
While Walker loves teaching higher-level math, she also enjoys teaching her statistics classes because they include multiple majors and students with a variety of backgrounds.
“I love getting to know them, hear their stories and find out what they’re doing and where they’re going. It’s really fun to be here and watch group after group heading out, beginning their own paths, and starting careers, families and taking God’s word out all over the world.”
With a background of teaching at other institutions, Walker appreciates the common goal of her students at Harding as well as the ability to make correlations between math and biblical concepts.
“It’s nice to be in a place where you can talk about it openly and as part of your curriculum. Something you discuss in calculus is the idea of the infinite, and it’s nice to be able to make the connection with the infinity that we know to be God, so it fits together perfectly, and it’s very comfortable to talk about it here.”
Walker encourages those interested in pursuing math to stick with it and to be prepared to manage time wisely when choosing to be involved in extracurricular activities.
“Math majors are student athletes, and they are involved in Spring Sing and social clubs and all that, but it is challenging. You’ve got to be very self-disciplined to be able to do that.”
Recognizing that Harding is a unique atmosphere as a teacher, Walker encourages students to take advantage of the community that the student body can offer.
“Being able to be in a place where you can share your faith, where you can encourage other people and also be encouraged yourself, it’s a wonderful way to spend those college years — surrounded by people who have a common goal.”