DAVIE — Rhiannon Tiger has always liked puzzles. As a small child, her favorite thing to do was a puzzle; as an adult, she still enjoys playing sudoku and tackling a good jigsaw puzzle. She gets great satisfaction by finding the solutions.
Now that she is a student at Broward College, Tiger is in her element as a mathematics major. During high school, she realized why she loved math. Aside from getting straight A’s, math was all about being organized enough to correctly solve each problem. She still appreciates that there is only one solution to a math problem.
“I’m a very neat, logical, literal, organized person,” said Tiger, 21, of Pembroke Pines. “Math and science have always been my best subjects.”
There are different areas of study within the field of mathematics, and Tiger has her most and least favorites. Algebra and trigonometry suit her skills best. She excels at breaking down an equation and solving it; she has a clear vision of exactly what to do when faced with an equation. She claims not to be a visual person, so geometry can be problematic for Tiger, and there are too many probabilities and variables in statistics. Tiger gets her joy in solving complicated equations, which are much like puzzles.
“I feel accomplished after I’ve solved something,” Tiger said. “I like to challenge myself.”
Tiger would rather be productive than watch too much television or spend a lot of time on the Internet. After a couple semesters off from college, those had become habits. Now that she’s back to school, she looks forward to the challenge.
“Doing math is more fun than sleeping in,” she said. “Even though I’m tired, it feels better to be productive.”
Tiger credits her teachers for her devotion to math, starting with her high school algebra teacher. When she entered Cooper City High School, she didn’t score well in math. During her prerequisite classes, she paid attention and met with success.
“The more I did well, the happier I felt about it,” Tiger said. “I am still doing really well in college. My teachers like me because I practice a lot at home and turn in organized homework assignments.”
Today, she is inspired by her math teachers at Broward College. Once Tiger gets her associate degree, she plans to continue her education and get a bachelor’s degree from a university, possibly Florida Atlantic University or the University of Florida. After that, she wants to earn a master’s degree.
“A lot of people tell me I’m good, but I don’t know how good I am,” she said. “I think I’m a good student because I study, but I don’t know if I’m really smart. I’d like to go to graduate school somewhere like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) if I’m good enough.”
Her dream job is to be a college math professor and continue studying as much math as she can.
“I want to teach students who like math and want to learn about it,” Tiger said. “Not a required class students have to take whether they like it or not.”
Her advice to young students is not to get discouraged about going to school. She believes it is easy for anyone to do well by following a few basic rules.
“Pay attention, do your homework, study when you have time, always go to class and take a lot of notes,” she said. “Do what the teachers tell you to do and more. If you find a subject you really like, try to do more with it.”
Tiger has a zeal for what she does.
“Math is something I feel passionate about,” she said. “People should try to find their passion; you can find it at any age.”