Heidi Benham is a graduating student from Dayton, Ore. She is completing a degree in Mathematics, with a minor in Linguistics. After graduation, Heidi is headed to the University of Connecticut.
Are you a transfer student? What has the experience been like?
I transferred from the Yamhill Valley Campus of Chemeketa Community College. The faculty were very helpful with the transition. I had to be in school an extra year, but I was glad for it because I was able to participate in so many more opportunities with that additional year.
Why did you choose WOU?
I wanted to go to school close to home so that I could commute, and this school was about forty minutes away. It was also fairly small for a state school and less expensive than every other school I had looked into. The area was also appealing: the rural small town setting was inviting since I come from a rural small town. When I first visited, I was impressed with how beautiful the campus was and how friendly the people were. Once I started attending I was glad that I decided on WOU; the professors are awesome and the classes are small and intimate.
What has been your most memorable class?
My most memorable class was probably MTH 311 and the next class in the sequence, MTH 312. One day I had brought a sheet of stickers to class and asked if anyone wanted some. The stickers were much more popular than I expected, so, since I had a lot of stickers at home, I tried to bring some every week. Bringing stickers became a tradition and people ended the terms with an assemblage of stickers on their notebooks.
What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
I have been a tutor at the Math Center for the past several years. This made it easier to get to know other math majors as well as people with majors different than mine. It is also a great way to make money while I am a student and I love being there to help students with a subject that can be challenging.
Do you have any advice for students?
Even if you feel you are too busy for it, take the time to get to know others in your classes, especially classes relevant to your major. Not only will it make you happier, but it will also provide you with a study and support group.
Who stands out from your time at WOU?
All of the professors I have had at WOU have been amazing. They really care about the students and make the classes interesting. Dr. Leanne Merrill especially stands out to me. She has been very encouraging and helpful to me throughout my time at WOU and let me know about all kinds of opportunities.
What is your favorite building on campus?
My favorite building is Hamersly Library. There are so many books, quiet corners, displays, and art exhibits. It was the perfect place to go between classes; I could study or just look around.
What will you miss the most about WOU?
I’m really going to miss my professors and my friends; they made my time at WOU so enjoyable! I’ll also kind of miss the drive. I often wished I didn’t have to spend all that time commuting, but it was a beautiful and soothing route.
What do you love most about the major/minor you completed?
What I most love about mathematics is that it is fairly objective compared to other disciplines, and yet there is still room for creativity; it is a perfect balance. What I love about linguistics is that it forces one to think of the incredible complexity of language, which is something we use every day, often without much thought.
Congratulations on being accepted to University of Connecticut. How did you decide to pursue graduate school?
I hadn’t considered graduate school before coming to WOU; it was not something I knew much about and, furthermore, I didn’t think I was intelligent enough. Some of my professors asked me if I was thinking about graduate school and they made it feel like a possibility for me. They also told me that math Ph.D. programs often offer graduate assistantships through which students are paid and have tuition waived. This made it seem financially possible. So, I decided this was something I was interested in and applied for about a dozen schools.