• Midland College Student Success
By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events
“Math doesn’t come naturally to many people—including me!” exclaimed Clarissa McMillar.
“But if one has supportive teachers, as I did at Midland College, and with some studying, it can be learned. The important thing is not to be scared.”
Even though math may not come “naturally” to 22-year-old Clarissa McMillar, she has certainly made the most of her math knowledge. She is spending this summer in Charleston, SC, working as a paid intern for Boeing as a Quality Engineer in Composite Manufacturing. Then, in the fall, she will spend 8-10 weeks in Okinawa, Japan, performing research at the Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology in the Mathematical Biology Research Unit. She hopes to progress from the research she did last summer in recreational mathematics through the University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Partnership Summer Research Academy.
“Recreational mathematics is a term for ‘entertainment’ mathematics, like mathematical puzzles and games,” explained McMillar. “For example, it involves such things as magic squares, fractals, logic puzzles and mathematical chess problems, just to name a few.”
McMillar said that she began to enjoy math while she was attending Midland College (MC) and decided to major in it because of the scholarships available and the career potential.
“I graduated high school in 2012 from Northside Christian School in Charleston and enrolled at Trident Technical College,” explained McMillar. “Then, my father got a job with a company in Midland, so I decided to attend Midland College, beginning in the fall semester of 2014. I took the obligatory math classes, and had great instructors like Sarah Hildebrand and Joseph Severino. Mrs. Hildebrand and Mr. Severino were really engaged in teaching and were extremely supportive. The instruction was more individualized due to the smaller class sizes, and Mr. Severino would even schedule labs outside of his regular office hours to help his students.”
In January 2016, she transferred to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in computer science. She also works part-time as a circulation clerk at the Midland County Public Library.
“The library is really great about being flexible with my school schedule.” said McMillar, who enjoys biographies, science fiction, and audiobooks.