Hometown: Waterbury, Connecticut
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics
Internships: Presented math research at several national and on-campus conferences
Activities: Math Clinic and Tutoring Resource Center tutor, assistant organist at Saint Michael’s Church in Waterbury, teaching assistant for MAT 110, teaching and lab assistant for PHY 121, Meteorology Club since 2011, participation in Relay for Life both on-campus and off-campus for the past several years, member of WCSU intramural softball team
Honors and Awards: Dean’s list all four years; 3.95 GPA; graduating summa cum laude; received the Gloria Brunell Award in Mathematics in May 2014 and May 2015, and the Provost Award in May 2014.
Robert Dolan decided to attend Western because of the excellent reputation of its music and music education programs. "In particular, I was very excited to study piano under Professor of Music Dr. Russell Hirshfield," he says. "Since a young age, math and music have always been great passions of mine."
Originally accepted to WCSU as a music secondary education major, Dolan soon changed his focus to his other passion: math. "My girlfriend, who was also attending WCSU as a meteorology major, was reviewing her schedule, which happened to include Calculus I. Stricken with jealousy that she was going to be taking calculus and I was no longer going to be taking math courses, about a week before my first semester began, I switched my major to math secondary education," he says. "My first research experience with Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Lydia Novozhilova ultimately sparked my interest in the field of applied math and about a year later, I switched my major to purely math. In addition to research, I still really enjoy teaching others mathematics, and subsequently my future career goal is to be a college math professor."
Dolan says he had many mentors while at Western. "Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Barry Mittag has helped me a tremendous amount in achieving my educational goals so far. He has gone above and beyond in aiding me with the graduate school application process and has always been there to answer any questions I had. Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Xiaodi Wang took time out of his busy spring and summer 2013 schedule to guide and advise me on mathematical research. The research we produced led to several presentations at both WestConn and at national conferences, such as the AMS Joint Mathematics Meetings and the MAA MathFest. Although Dr. Novozhilova has an extremely busy schedule, she allowed me to take several independent studies with her in areas that both interested her and myself. Dr. Novozhilova is one of the most intelligent people I have met and I cannot begin to explain how much she has taught me. In the spring 2014 semester, Professor of Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology Dr. Alice Chance employed me as a teaching and lab assistant for her PHY 121 course. Dr. Chance and Professor Amend, the lab instructor, both allowed me to gain valuable teaching experience. Dr. Chance also helped me through the process of applying to graduate schools and fellowships."
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Dolan says, "Having the honor to work with some of the most intelligent and creative math and science professors I have ever met. The knowledge and experience I gained from these people will truly last a lifetime."
After graduation, Dolan will attend the University of Connecticut’s Mathematics Ph.D. program.
Dolan’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Take advantage of everything offered at WCSU and strive to accomplish more than just the bare minimum. The small size of WCSU allows dedicated students to work one-on-one with extremely intelligent professors and to gain experience and knowledge that would be hard to find somewhere else. Do not pass this rare opportunity up.”