North Central College - Naperville, IL

Spotlight on a Scholar

Each term we spotlight a College Scholar who provides
outstanding contributions in the classroom, on campus, and in the community.
Learn more about our fantastic honors students through a brief question and answer session.


Winter 2014 Rebecca Heinen

Rebecca Heinen

Majors and minors
My major is mathematics. I also am trying to squeeze in a double minor in economics and political science.

Favorite honors class
I really enjoyed the Math for Social Justice seminar because that class incorporated both of my interests, math and social justice issues.

Best thing about the honors program
The aspect I like the most about the honors program is that the requirements allow me to take classes across all different types of disciplines.

What are you involved with on campus?
I’m the secretary of Pi Mu Epsilon, the U.S. honorary national mathematics society, and I tutor mathematics.

Plans after NCC
I plan on going to graduate school for mathematics.

Dream job
My dream job would be to work in the government to advocate for certain social justice issues using applied math.

Favorite professor on campus
My favorite professor on campus is Dr. Neil Nicholson because he was the first math professor I had my freshman year and I look to him as a great advisor, especially when I switched my major to mathematics. He is very insightful about research opportunities, courses, etc. With that said, the whole math department at NCC is fantastic as well!

A significant research project or internship experience
I completed an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates at St. Mary’s College of Maryland this past summer for six weeks. We researched topics in graph theory. Specifically, my group and I found a self-stabilizing algorithm for path graphs under liar’s domination. We presented our findings weekly, which led to our final presentation. These presentations allowed us to become better presenters and understand the other research topics including knot theory and discrete dynamics.

Advice for other College Scholars
My advice for other College Scholars is to challenge themselves throughout their honors coursework. Even if you have a “hard professor,” take the class anyway because you might learn more and you will feel accomplished for keeping with the class. Secondly, College Scholars should reach out to professors and have conversations with them about possible research topics for an undergraduate thesis.