Student Spotlight January 2014
Heather Hunt graduated high school in 2005 from DuPont Manual here in Louisville. After graduation, she went on to attend the University of Kentucky where she earned a B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Statistics in 2009. Ms. Hunt started at the University of Louisville in August of 2009 as a Master’s student in Mathematics. After realizing her love for this area of study, she decided to continue her education in order to earn her Ph.D. Ms. Hunt is currently working on her dissertation.
What brought you to the University of Louisville?
I grew up in Louisville and wanted to be closer to my family. Besides that, I did not really know what I wanted to do when I graduated from UK so I applied to graduate school and hoped for the best! The fact that UofL offered me a teaching assistantship helped!
Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
I work in the area of functional equations, specifically with equations defined on abstract structures. When I started researching I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do because I was interested in so many different areas. This area stuck out to me because it combines the knowledge and tools from several areas into one.
How would you describe your area of study/specific research to your grandmother?
I work to solve specific equations, but rather than solving for a variable I try to find the type of function that satisfies the given equation. To say that I work on an abstract structure means I no longer work only with real numbers, but also with arbitrary unknown variables for which a value may or may not be known. Specifically, I work with non-commutative groups, which are a structure where x times y is not the same as y times x.
What made you go into this field of study?
I enjoy the challenge and the material. The area also seemed to be quite open in terms of unsolved and interesting problems.
Awards, honors, publications:
I was awarded a service award for service to the Graduate Student Council in the Spring of 2013. I was awarded a Teaching Assistantship in the Department of Mathematics at UofL beginning in August of 2009. While working on my bachelor’s degree, I received two awards based on academic achievement.
While working on my dissertation I have been able to publish two papers with my advisor. We were also able to publish a joint paper with another graduate student within the department and a visiting professor at the time.
Long term goals/aspirations:
I hope to be a college professor, get married, settle down and have children one day.
What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?
I would have to say my first publication with Dr. Prasanna Sahoo.
What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?
The people that I have met while here at UofL have truly made my graduate school experience. It would have never been the same without them!
What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?
The amount of time needed to get everything done and I'm not sure that I really ever dealt with it!
I am from Louisville and my parents still live here. I have an older brother that lives in Colorado and an older sister who is married and lives in Bardstown, Kentucky. I have a boyfriend that I have been dating for going on seven years now.
A talent you have always wanted: I've always wanted to be able to cook like a chef!
Favorite quote: Prepare for the worst but hope for the best!
Role Model: My mother
Favorite Vacation Destination: Hilton Head, SC or anywhere near a beach really!
If you weren't in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Who knows! Probably teaching high school here in Louisville.