A Calculating Woman

A Calculating Woman

C. TraubGiven k points (“foci”) in R^2, and a distance d, the k-ellipse is the set of all points whose summed distance to the k foci is d.

Say what?

It may be Greek to most of us, but for Cindy Traub, it’s a vocation. Just five years after graduating from Saint Mary’s College, she’s an assistant professor of mathematics at a place with a familiar name: St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “Math invigorates me,” says Traub. “But it’s not just about boiling a problem down to one right answer. For me, it’s about reasoning and asking ‘why?’”

When she started college, Traub initially planned on becoming a high school math teacher and coach. “But I caught the math bug at Saint Mary’s, and knew I wanted to take my education further,” says Traub, who pursued a math major with minors in chemistry and secondary education. She went on to earn a master’s and doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in Berkeley, Calif., at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

“My Saint Mary’s math professors continued to be a huge resource for me while I attended grad school and looked for a job. Their support was phenomenal. They provided me with contacts, introduced me to their colleagues at other schools…they were my biggest fans!” raves Traub.

Traub adds that she felt the College’s size allowed her and other women to share their ideas, put them in motion, and bring them to fruition. “Small schools are more likely to be receptive to student input,” says Traub. “You can effect positive change. You learn you can do that on a small scale in college, and then as you move into the real world you realize there is no reason to stop asking good questions and trying to make a positive impact.”