Hiram College

May 4 – 8 is Teacher Appreciation Week and Hiram College is proud to recognize the sustained and dedicated efforts of our faculty to inspire and drive student success. Every day this week, the College will feature a different faculty member from each school.     

Today, read more about Catherine Erbes, Ph.D., an associate professor of mathematics in the College’s School of Science and Technology.    

WHY DID YOU BECOME AN EDUCATOR? 

I teach because I love math and wanted to share my love of math with other people. I chose to teach at Hiram because of the close community of faculty and students, which was evident from the minute I set foot on campus.  

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING?   

I love the moment when a student really understands something and gets excited about understanding it, whether it took them 5 minutes or 5 weeks.

You recently received a grant. Tell us about it.  

This year I received a grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics, which funded a research group consisting of myself, two Hiram students, and a colleague and three students from Northern Kentucky University. Together, we studied “The Robber Locating Game,” which is a game of Cops and Robbers played on graphs. The research is very accessible, and in fact one of the students in our group is not a math major and had very little mathematics background. My research is very visual and begins with drawing pictures, so I can bring students from any majors in to work on problems with me. I am looking forward to continuing this project, or others, with any students who are interested. 

 WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR STUDENTS ACCOMPLISH DURING THEIR TIME AT HIRAM AND BEYOND? 

I hope that they become people that can contribute positively to the world around them and that use logic, data, and sound reasoning to make decisions about the issues that face them. 

TELL US ABOUT SOMEONE WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU AS A TEACHER.   

I have had a lot of math teachers, from high school through graduate school, who have influenced me greatly. Thinking about it now, there was one thing that they all had in common: a passion for both mathematics and teaching.  I try to show my students that passion every day.  

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME AT HIRAM?   

Every time my students make me laugh. I have literally laughed to the point of tears in the middle of a lecture, more than once. The fact that my students are having enough fun in my classes to make jokes that can bring me to tears is something that I treasure.