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Q&A with new faculty: Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Randolph College’s 2023-24 academic year is officially underway, and there are several new faces among the faculty.

Matt Stokes joins the College as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics. 

The Arizona native earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, followed by a PhD in mathematics in 2023. 

Here’s more of what he had to say about his teaching style, Randolph’s students, and what he likes to do outside of the classroom. 

How did you first become interested in your field of study?

In graduate school, I always knew that I was best at analysis, so I thought I might study C*-algebra. However, everything changed when I took a course in p-adic numbers (the instructor Nancy Childress would later become my advisor). From then on, I wanted to do number theory, and I got into Iwasawa theory since that is what my advisor studies.

Describe your teaching style. What can students expect in your classes?

I like to ask a lot of questions, and I like to receive questions. I always want my students to feel comfortable if they don’t know something, or are confused when it comes to some topic. None of us know everything, and we all get confused sometimes. Struggling through the confusion is what it means to learn.

What attracted you to the job at Randolph?

It seemed to me that Randolph was a close-knit community, where professors would get many chances to interact with students (which is my favorite part of teaching).  

What are your initial impressions of Randolph and its students?

In the short time I have been here, the students have impressed me with the questions they ask in class and office hours. I have also been struck by how dedicated and caring the faculty and staff are at Randolph.

What do you like to do outside of the classroom as far as hobbies or other activities?

Doing research is my favorite thing to do, but other than that, I enjoy hiking, camping, going on walks (all the usual stuff). I also play drums as a hobby.

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