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Kalamazoo College

Marlisa Pennington

Delton, MI
Mathematics and Physics
Computer Science
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Mint Chocolate Chip
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 15 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Everyone can learn math. It builds logic skills and drives much of science and technology.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I was good at math in high school, and I continued with it in college since I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I love it still because it is so broad. I have been able to apply what I have learned in the math department to physics and computer science.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
The first few classes are really important for understanding the higher level classes, but that doesn’t mean you have to do perfectly in them in order to succeed. Practice really does make perfect, and old topics are often covered in a new way. So don’t be disheartened if you are struggling, because when you see some topic again later, you’ll be surprised how well you understand it.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
Math is pretty important to the physics department (you pretty much get a minor in math when you major in physics), so I’m doing math all the time.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Problem solving. Most of the proofs I have done have required a lot of thought in order to even understand what they are asking, so I’ve learned how best to approach all different kinds of problems in order to solve them more efficiently.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Differential equations. It perfectly combined math and computers.

What is your SIP?
I’m doing a computer science SIP on teaching change ringing handbells.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I will most likely go for a masters in science and technology, likely electrical engineering or computer software.

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