Mathematics and Statistics – Outstanding Senior 2021

Sean Swalling

Anchorage, AK

Degrees and Majors:

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics
  • Math Teaching

Summa cum laude

Clubs, Organizations, Leadership, and Service

  • WAZZU Films – Club Member
  • Pre-Teachers of Math RSO – Secretary
  • Catholic Student Organization – President

Internships and Employment

  • Education Assistant, PNA Create Academy
  • Resident Advisor, WSU Housing and Residence Life
  • Youth Peer Mentor, UAA ANSEP (tutoring)
  • Recreation Specialist, Anchorage Parks and Recreation
  • Boy Scouts of America, Life Guard and Camp Counselor

Undergraduate Research

Honors Thesis: Effects of Bilingual Learning on Fraction Comprehension in Mathematics

Awards and Recognition

  • Math department scholarships
  • Eagle Scout
  • Fluent in two languages (English and Japanese), granted by the State of Alaska

Honored Faculty and Mentors

  • Molly Clayton, Mathematics & Statistics
  • Kevin Cooper, Mathematics & Statistics
  • Kimberly Vincent, Mathematics & Statistics
  • Joshua Bonzo, Music
  • Libby Knott, Mathematics & Statistics

Faculty Comments

From the very beginning, our department was impressed by Sean as he had begun his college career with sophomore standing, transferring in 33 advanced placement credits. Typically, in a math major’s first semester, they begin in College Algebra or Calculus I; however, Sean began in Calculus III and will be completing his degree in three years.

Sean is an exceptional intellectual and has proven himself to be a promising, hard-working, kind-hearted, and devoted student. Math Faculty

While it sometimes occurs that successful mathematicians can be a bit socially awkward, that is not the case for Mr. Swalling. He is simultaneously curious and intelligent, yet very personable, helpful, and genuine. In my class I encouraged collaboration among students, and Sean often helped others. He was very effective and patient about explaining things, and his pleasant personality made his fellow students seek him out. Moreover, I occasionally go a bit quickly through the material for that course, and Sean would sometimes ask questions clearly designed to remind me to slow down a bit. If he had earned a dime every time I said: “I am glad you asked that question,” he would have come out ahead on his tuition. Kevin Cooper

Personal Statement

I initially chose WSU to simply leave my home, but not be too far away from family. I have since come to find a family right here in Pullman and would choose WSU again in a heartbeat. Despite some initial struggles of the transition into college, the faculty, the clubs, and the organizations that are overflowing here showed me great joys and great motivation in seeking out a successful and satisfying life. I have always connected with mathematics due to its logic and straight-forward conclusions that help life to be a little less confusing. Also, my summer jobs have always been directed towards camp counseling or tutoring of some sort, and I have found great passion in sharing knowledge with others. Upon choosing an area of study, I looked to combine these two paths and, in such, chose Secondary Mathematics Education. The classes offered to me in this path by the Math department have been exceptional and have further cemented my career desires. Elsewhere at WSU, I have encountered boundless opportunities to gain knowledge in all sorts of subjects of my interest—all brought about by instructors that teem with wisdom and support. The family of Cougs I have found is unlike any other, but it does not take away from the fact that my own family, especially my loving parents, have done so much in my path to this day. I am very excited to graduate and see what life has to offer for me next.

Future Plans

University of Portland, Master’s in Teaching Program.

Connecting with Catholic schools in the Northwest, hopes to work in Catholic education teaching algebra and geometry.