The words, mathematics professor, can invoke the stereotype of humorless men and women, isolated in a world of complicated calculations. This stereotype limits people's ability to see these dedicated professionals as individuals, whose discipline enriches their lives and their student's lives inside and outside the classroom.
Odrun Stevens is an adjunct Professor of Mathematics at Wilson College, silver medal winner and the archery club advisor and coach. He sports a bushy mustache, rides a Harley-Davidson Super Glide motorcycle and is definitely not isolated.
Mathematics Applied to Archery
Stevens, a nationally ranked archer who designs and builds crossbows says, "Geometry plays a huge part in the shooting and building of crossbows, especially in the trigger and sighting systems."
In 1998, Stevens won a silver medal in cross bow for the U.S. archery team during the world championships in Hungary. It was in preparation for the competition that he grew his trademark bushy mustache. With a soft laugh he says, "He will shave it when he is ready to retire from teaching."
Stevens graduated in three and one-quarter years with his Bachelor's Degree from Shippensburg University, then returned to get his Masters Degree and taught mathematics in the public school system for thirty-five years retiring at fifty-six. He is in his eleventh year teaching at Wilson. If he teaches for another four years as planned, he will have logged one-half a century in the classroom. Connie Stevens, his wife says, "He loves to teach and the students at Wilson want to learn." Not only do his math students benefit from his dedication and experiences but the archery club benefits at well.
The rhythm of metal striking paper and wood greets people as they walk into the archery room located in the field house. Inside team members joke with each other as they wait their turn to shoot. Stevens corrects their form, gives instructions for the adjustment of the angle of their bows, and encourages them as individuals and a team. Archery Club President Lidia DeShong class of' 14 said, "Coach Stevens is a great archery teacher, he shows you what to do, then steps back and lets you do it."
Stepping back and letting students do it, combined with the discipline of mathematics and a passion for archery may not be part of the mathematics professor stereotype, but luckily, for his students Professor Stevens does not fit the stereotype.