Passionate about math, William Noland ’17 accepted by two prestigious programs

Jun 16, 2015

From his first steps on campus, William Noland ’17 pursued his passion for mathematics and preparation for a Ph.D. and career goal in academics, either teaching or research. Now that focus has led to two selective research opportunities.

“Knowing I wanted to get into a good graduate school for math, I’ve looked for opportunities to prepare myself the best way possible,” said Noland. Majoring in applied mathematics, mathematics and economics, he was homeschooled prior to North Central.

At the recommendation of faculty, Noland applied for and was accepted to a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) supported by National Security Agency. Held this summer at West Virginia University (WVU), the program accepts just 10 students nationwide to work with the mathematics faculty at WVU to conduct research on graph theory and combinatorics. The REU scholarship covers tuition, housing and expenses.

Noland secured another research opportunity at The Pennsylvania State University during fall term. The Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS) program selects 15-20 students worldwide who will be immersed in mathematical studies that include analysis, algebra/number theory and geometry/topology. They attend math seminars and colloquia and participate in research projects, earning honors credits in math from Penn State.

“The MASS program is designed for students and a good fit for me. Its emphasis is on understanding and comprehension, not memorization, and the ability to present and explain the problem and research projects,” said Noland.
The first North Central student accepted to the competitive, premier MASS program, Noland says he was “looking for the most unique things he could do as an undergraduate.” As preparation, he participated in North Central’s 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Colloquium and chose to take his upper-level math courses at the start of college. He took part in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, the ACCA Calculus Competition, and the Undergraduate Modeling Workshop with the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute. He also became an active member of the College’s Math Club and Square Roots Club, is a College Scholar, Distinguished Leader and on the Dean’s List.  

“I love learning in general but I love math and the objectivity of it,” said Noland. “It’s precise and there’s lots of beauty to it at the higher levels.”