Slice of Pi (Reprised)

Slice of Pi (Reprised)

July 22, 2014

It’s Pi Day again… as such, I’m cheating a bit on my blog for the week and reprising a piece (yes, pun intended) I originally served up on March 14, 2014… also Pi Day.  Enjoy!

Special appreciation goes to my friend, Lesli Ann Agcaoili for finding this little gem of an image.

How did I not know that today, March 14th (and actually, also on July 22nd) is Pi Day?  A funny sign in the cafeteria at work alerted me to the holiday.  This type of celebration is right up my alley.  You see, I was a math major at Smith College.  Sound nerdy?  Yes!  And, I loved every minute of it.


It’s funny, I left high school saying I would never take another math course – so scarred from a bad senior year calculus experience.  And, so, I didn’t… that is until second semester sophomore year.  It must have been the phase of the moon, because I signed up for Math 114 which was some version of calculus.  What was I thinking?


It was a tough class… I remember our first exam was of the open book, take-home variety… I got it back to my house and discovered I didn’t know how to solve any of the six questions!  After going to bed in a panic, I (literally) dreamt the answers… woke up, typed up my responses, turned it in and waited to see what would happen.  What I received was more than a grade (I earned an A) – I was invited into a wonderful community of mathematicians!


My professor* was pleased with my performance.  He encouraged me to become a math major.  I did.  I met other members of the faculty.  They, too, made me feel like I was part of more than just a series of classes toward a degree.  I started hanging around with other math majors… OK, I know that sounds odd, but it felt great to be part of a vibrant community.  I was hired to do a project by my statistics professor for a local company; the chair of the Mathematics Department invited me to be her assistant.  It felt so great to belong!  And, to receive all kinds of other opportunities – some professional, some community oriented, some purely social.


Indeed, I am often heard saying that networking is all about Connections.  Community.  Belonging.  Those were the things I was attracted to in the Smith Math Department.  Those, and, of course, the t-shirts.  My favorite was the one that read:  “Mathematicians Against Drunk Deriving.  Don’t Drink and Derive.”  If you don’t get it, ask a math major.


Wishing you a Happy Pi Day today… and again on July 22nd.  Hope you’ll dig in to a slice of apple, pumpkin, chocolate, cherry or, my favorite, custard, with a friend or two.


*This post is dedicated to the memory of my professor, academic advisor and dear friend, Michael O. Albertson.  A wonderful person and an expert deriver who made me love math, to whom I am grateful for bringing me into the community of math majors at Smith and who I miss all the time.  He’s probably running regressions from heaven and enjoying a gluten-free slice of something delicious on Pi Day.