Number 40, October 6, 2015
Higher math has re-wired how Jedidiah Lindborg ’16 processes information. “Logic and Proof [Math 3000] actually changed the way I think and analyze,” he said.
“Applied math provides the perfect balance of knowledge and challenge. Math doesn’t come easily to me, but it motivates me – the more difficult it is to obtain, the more I gain,” he laughed.
Lindborg actually came to Coastal Georgia with no clue what he wanted to pursue. The College Foundation Scholarship recipient (Community Education Endowment) started taking math electives while working on an associate degree in criminal justice. “I wanted a bachelor’s degree, however, and math was more my passion and could open more doors for me than the A.S. in criminal justice, so math became my major. Because of the problem-solving skills math develops, there is actually a surprisingly strong tie between criminal justice and math.”
When he graduates in May, he’s thinking about applying for work with the FBI or becoming an “imagineer” in the design and development division for Disney in Orlando. Graduate school is also a possibility. “I think I want a break from coursework,” he explained, “but I’m ready and eager to see what comes in the next step of my life.”
In addition to carrying more than 15 hours per semester on average, he is president of the campus chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society, tutors for the ATTIC, coached one of the Marshes of Glynn public libraries’ summer robotics program for middle and high school students this summer, currently teaches a freshman workshop on campus, actively participates in the Math and Engineering Club, and works at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as a role player.
The FLETC role playing is an off shoot of his former participation in the Shakespeare Club. “Acting is therapeutic. When I’m role playing, I’m seeing something from a different perspective.”
That shift in perspective is also what he liked about his Modern Geometry [Math 3360] class with Dr. Jamil Mortada, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. “He told us upfront that we would be looking at geometry from a completely different perspective, so we have to open our minds as if we are going to a new world, a new planet where the rules of geometry are a bit different.”
“Professors are what make this College,” he added, “especially those in math; we have an amazing team in that department! Each professor is brilliant, able to show you why they are, and why we should be passionate about mathematics. The head of the department, Dr. German Vargas [Associate Professor of Mathematics], is the best professor I have ever had. Dr. Vargas has this amazing way of explaining things, of synthesizing questions and letting us find the answers. Higher math is so abstract, explaining it in a way someone can comprehend is absolutely critical. I’d ask a question and he would understand why I asked it – my framework. You actually can see him thinking, as he rests one arm on his other and holds his chin. Then he would demonstrate the logic – how I was perceiving it, but why there might be a better or faster way to derive a solution. He uses our questions to understand how we are thinking about the problem, then he guides us very slightly to what we should be moving towards, like he and his students are a team. And he fully believes in every one of us - of that I have no doubt. At the end of the class, I feel more like he proved to us that we could derive the answer on our own now that we’re at this higher math level. Instead of feeling like I’m just being taught information, it’s more like I was taught a way to approach the information, and that my unique way - along with everyone else’s - works. That is a very inspiring and motivating feeling. Of course, it’s not all us - he guides with a pointed question here and there. I’d say he’s a master of the Socratic Method.”
Lindborg is not afraid of abstraction.
“I am spiritual by nature. I’m serious about doing the best I can do for the glory of God. It’s funny - many branches of mathematics were created to prove God. Newton, Pascal, and really, many of the greats put God first and were able to start understanding this language of math He made to govern the universe. I am a seeker of truth, and math helps me understand His order and complexities. I am in awe of Him, and want to seek and serve Him all my life. To that end I am striving to make myself someone He would seek, to become Christ-like. Though math satisfies my need to be challenged and find truth, there is no question in my mind that my passion in life is for God.”