Math, according to Owen Bryk, is a relational subject, but it took him a while to fall head over heels in love with it.
Back in the U.S. after taking college classes in Hungary, the Suffield native was looking for a major and asked himself what was looking good for the future. “Electrical engineering seemed like it needed people and eventually I noticed there was a lot of math in my programs,” he said. “I never knew it before, but I found I really enjoy math. It’s fun. It makes sense. You’re allowed to ask ‘why?’”
Bryk graduated with triple degrees from Stark State in electrical, mechanical and design engineering technologies.
Married and holding down two full-time jobs during his schooling while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, he had planned to go to The University of Akron for at least one bachelor's degree, but was snapped up by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico right after his graduation.
He also racked up plenty of teaching experience as a tutor in SSC’s math labs. His motto: No one should be afraid of math, but like any good relationship, it’s a connection that needs nurturing.
“I ask people why they don’t forget how to tie their shoes or how to eat or where they live and they say because they do it every day. I say, ‘How much math did you do today?’ and the answer is a few minutes or none. People don’t struggle with math because they’re not smart or they haven’t had it for 30 years or they’re ‘not a math person,’” Bryk said. “They’re just not giving the relationship the time it needs.”
That’s not an issue for this student’s romance with numbers. “Once I called math my own, I was a glutton for it,” he said. “If I’m not getting an A, I want to work harder to get the A, but it’s heaven for me.”
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