When Britney Hopkins came to college, she had stars in her eyes. "I had dreams of working in the film industry," the doctoral candidate says. "I never set out to be a mathematician."
However, after taking math classes as an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas, she discovered that she really liked the subject. "This ultimately led me to grad school where I decided I not only loved the subject, but loved teaching it as well," Britney says.
This meant that she would have to study elsewhere because the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she completed her undergraduate degree, offered up to a masters degree only. "Baylor, which has a good reputation, is also strong in the area I wanted to work in," she says. "This is what ultimately led to my decision in coming here."
Her area of research, ordinary differential equations, is conducted in a less than ordinary environment. "Most of the time, smaller programs do not have the class selection that you see in larger programs, and one may feel that his or her education suffers because of it," Britney says. "The Baylor mathematics program, however, is eager to offer any course that students show an active interest in taking."
For the People, by the People
She feels that she has the best of both worlds, a small personal education with substance and variety with faculty and peers that enhance her experience. "The heart of the department is in the people; they are active researchers but at the same time eager to see you succeed," Britney says. "You would be hard pressed to find a better group of people elsewhere."
Britney plans to go into teaching once she graduates and also plans to continue to research. "I would definitely recommend this program," she says looking back. "Overall, my experiences have been far beyond my expectations."