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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences

Mathematics and Statistics – Outstanding Senior 2020

Benjamin HellwigBenjamin Hellwig

Pocatello, Idaho

Degrees/Majors/Minors:

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics & Statistics, Applied Mathematics
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Clubs, Organizations, Leadership, and Service

  • Jefferson Elementary, Pocatello, Idaho – Volunteer Aide

Internships and Employment

  • Calculus I – teaching assistant
  • Introduction to Analysis – teaching assistant
  • Mathematics tutor
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory – research intern: Developed a numerical integration method for non-functions in FORTRAN and used this method along with a Rayleigh-Taylor instability model to generate initial conditions for the BHR turbulence model

Undergraduate Research

  • Individual project: Mathematical Modeling of Pertussis, explored SIR methods to model the transmission of pertussis using nonlinear ODEs.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior in Mathematics and Statistics
  • Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Outstanding Junior in Computer Science
  • National Merit Scholarship (2014–19)
  • Multiple other distinguished scholarships
  • Junior Writing Portfolio – Passed with Distinction

Faculty Comments

“It is with great joy that our department nominates Ben for the CAS Outstanding Senior Award. Ben’s 4.0 GPA, combined with his academic involvement in the Mathematics & Statistics Department, the Computer Science department, and the Honors College, sets him apart from other students. Ben is an excellent student and has proven himself to be an intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated individual.”  –Molly Clayton, academic advisor

“I have never had a more persistent student than Ben. His insistence on using his sharpness to understand everything also puts him in a very small class of students. He is almost obsessed with understanding things that are difficult to master.”  –Dr. Kevin Vixie

Personal Statement

I graduated this spring with two degrees in mathematics and computer science. It only took me six(!) years to graduate. In between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I took a year off and worked as a volunteer aide at Jefferson Elementary School, helping second grade students with reading and math. My time there was very valuable and I hope I made a difference for those students. It’s nice to win this outstanding senior award, but not quite as nice as when one of the kids told me, “I will never forget you,” on my last day at Jefferson.

While at WSU, I’ve done my best to do well in classes, but it would not have been possible without the support of the amazing professors, students, and staff who make this university so special. I started school as an electrical engineering major, and based on my classes and interactions with teachers, I eventually ended up in math and computer science. As a member of the Honors College, I also had the chance to take several exciting classes outside of my majors. I especially enjoyed my creative nonfiction writing course.

I would not be where I am today without the support of this WSU community. In addition, my parents, Harold Hellwig and Ann Hackert, have always been completely supportive of me. They never expected me to do anything I didn’t want to do, and I am grateful for everything they have done for me. I love you, Mom and Dad!

Again, I am so thankful for my time here at WSU. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it. I hope everyone is doing as well as they can in these tough times, and I look forward to continuing my education here at WSU in the fall when I begin my PhD in mathematics.

Honored Faculty and Mentors

  • Kevin Vixie, associate professor, Department of Mathematics & Statistics
  • Annie Lampman, associate professor, Honors College

Future Plans

Benjamin will begin his doctoral program this fall with a focus on analysis and he hopes to become a professor or perhaps work at a research laboratory in the future.