Hulsizer honored by Mathematical Association of America

Published 1:16 pm Thursday, August 13, 2015

Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Heidi Hulsizer was recently honored by the Mathematical Association of America as this year’s winner of the Trevor Evans Award for her article, “A ‘Mod’ern Mathematical Adventure in Call of Duty: Black Ops”, which was published in “Math Horizons” in February of 2014. Hulsizer was acknowledged at MAA MathFest 2015 Aug. 5-8 in Washington, DC.

 The MAA Board of Governors established The Trevor Evans Award in 1992, and it was first presented in 1996. Named for Trevor Evans, a distinguished mathematician, teacher, and writer at Emory University, the award is given to an author (or authors) of an exceptional article that is accessible to undergraduates and published during the preceding year in “Math Horizons.”

 When asked what inspired her article and why it was truly relevant to undergraduates, Hulsizer said, “This article came from a ‘real life’ problem that mathematics could solve. My husband and I were playing Call of Duty and needed to solve a puzzle on the game. No amount of googling was going to solve the problem, but I came up with a creative solution, one that any of my students could understand. I think my students can appreciate the problem because most of them have played Call of Duty.”

Email newsletter signup

In fact, the relatability of the game may be what warranted Hulsizer’s article to be chosen as the most accessible to undergraduate students. She went on to say that, “I was very surprised to receive the award, but am also honored.  It is neat to be recognized for writing something that was so fun to write.”

Hulsizer received her B.A. from Drury University and went on to earn a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.  She teaches a variety of courses but also requires students to earn what she calls “culture points” as a part of the course. These points can be earned by experiencing mathematics outside of a classroom. She believes this gives students “the opportunity to see math they might not otherwise get to see. I hope the Culture Points will increase students’ appreciation for the field of mathematics.” She is also the faculty advisor for the Mathematics and Computer Science Club.

Regarding advice for a successful undergraduate career, Hulsizer said, “I would encourage students to get out of their comfort zone and try classes outside of their major just for fun.  Use your opportunity to take an art history, poetry, or computer science class!”