Williams went from architecture to math

mercyhurst.edu photo: Lauren Williams, Ph. D., teaches Math and also draws pictures on the side.mercyhurst.edu photo: Lauren Williams, Ph. D., teaches Math and also draws pictures on the side.

Although it is only her first year at Mercyhurst University, and her first job, Lauren Williams feels she is in the perfect place.

“This is the first place I came to interview,” Williams said. After the interview, she stopped applying to other jobs because, “everything I wanted was here.”

There are many advantages to Mercyhurst University, she added. Having smaller classes and getting to know the students personally is very helpful.

“I can tailor examples to the students,” she said.

Involving their particular interests helps to show the importance of math.

“My goal is to have people appreciate it and the depth of it,” said Williams. “You can use [math] even if you are not a mathematician. I do try to convert everyone.”

As a teacher, she understands that math is not everyone’s favorite subject.

“It is hard to feel motivated when you’re just solving equations; it helps to show meaning,” Williams said.

With the classes she teaches, Williams encounters students of all majors and backgrounds.

“I’ve had philosophy students who wind up actually enjoying calculus,” she said.

Williams did not always want to study math. Originally, she went to The College of New Jersey for civil engineering and architecture with a dream of building bridges. For her degree she had to take several math classes and found herself taking some extra as well.

Williams remembers “sitting in algebra courses thinking this is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Soon she decided to make math her major. She finished at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, graduating in May 2013.

She has held on to a part of her architecture dream. When Williams was little, her older brother taught her to draw and she has continued to do so throughout her life.

It has always been a hobby of hers.

“Especially in graduate school it’s nice to have something to go, to relax,” she said. “I have never thought of myself as an artist. I’m not creating anything that wasn’t already there.”

In her office hang a couple of her beautiful drawings of Milwaukee. People are very eager for her to start drawing Mercyhurst and Erie.

She looks to further her connection with math and art through elective courses at Mercyhurst. This past J-Term, she was able to a course showing how math influences art.

Usually a person has to pick between their interests when choosing a career but not at Mercyhurst, Williams said.

“All the things I’m interested in I get to work into my job.”