Aris Ortiz wants to teach math — and he’s gaining hands-on experience by assistant-teaching Calculus I alongside Travis Thompson, professor of mathematics and dean of the College of Sciences.
“I really enjoy working with numbers, and I’ve always been fascinated with the logic that’s involved in math.”
Ortiz said he enjoys Thompson’s classes the most, especially his probability class because of the correlations made between the math and everyday situations.
“It’s a great experience. He brings in a lot of real world applications, and I’ve been able to see that in the way he teaches every class. We use math every day even though we might not think so.”
Ortiz said that there is a common misconception that math is just arithmetic, which his professors often invalidate by providing examples and principles demonstrated through logic in other contexts.
“It seems like math is just numbers and nothing else, but there’s been several times where math teachers will show us how math even exists in the Bible. That’s been one of the coolest things.”
According to Ortiz, using math daily has helped him to solve problems more quickly, and he is excited to see the progress he makes when he’s already memorized certain concepts and is continually challenged to keep up his momentum.
Although Ortiz feels he has grown and learned much from the math department, the connections and relationships he’s made at Harding are what he believes he will hold on to the most — aside from studying abroad for a semester in Greece.
“It might not seem like it would, but when you hear ‘it’s great to be at Harding,’ every day it becomes more true.”