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Jenkins’ senior project tackles advanced math, physics

January 8, 2013
By cnp
Posted in Mathematics

Glendon Jenkins, a mathematics major from Wickes, Ark., has always been fascinated by math and its principles. Now, in his senior year at University of the Ozarks, Jenkins is right in the middle of a senior project that delves into the discipline of quantum computing.

Jenkins, the sixth of eight children, remembers watching his older sister, Ladonna, graduate from Ozarks when he was just a child. When it came time to make his college decisions, Jenkins couldn’t shake the hold Ozarks had over him.

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Glendon Jenkins, a mathematics major from Wickes, Ark., is working on a senior project researching the mathematics behind quantum computing.

"My sister graduated from here in 1999, so I remember coming to campus when I was much younger. But more than that, I really liked the small campus atmosphere. I always felt included on this campus. No matter where else I visited, it always seemed right at Ozarks," Jenkins said.

After taking upper-level math courses in high school, Jenkins knew his future was in mathematics and he knew Ozarks’ academic reputation was solid, but even Jenkins was surprised by how far he’s come in just four short years.

"I’ve enjoyed studying math at Ozarks," he said. "It can be frustrating in the sense that is extremely challenging, but in the long run I know that challenge is paying off for me. I know it has challenged me to the point that, I have no doubt that I’m prepared to tackle graduate level work."

"Because we are such a small program, it seems like we get into much more theoretical math. Our professors can work with us on complicated concepts that would be impossible with larger classes," he explained.

At this point, Jenkins is smack in the middle of researching his senior project, which he hopes to present later in the 2013 Spring Semester.

"In line with my interests, my senior project is heavily research focused," he said. "The current plan is to research the mathematics behind quantum computing. Basically, there is classical computing, then there’s quantum computing. Quantum computing is on a much more minuscule scale, so you have to worry about many of the smaller forces of nature and certain principles that don’t affect classical computing.

"In order to delve into the mathematics of quantum computing, I’ll have to give a basic representation of the physics of quantum computing as well, so I’ll be addressing both the math and physics of this question."

For Jenkins, his time at Ozarks has been about much more than excelling in math courses. Jenkins has been able to branch out of his comfort zone into areas he never expected: both academically and personally.

"I chose Ozarks for its academic reputation," Jenkins said. "I love the academic challenge I’ve had here, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, but I had no expectation of meeting the great people that I have here and the opportunities to lead others. Ozarks has changed me, and I absolutely feel prepared to be successful later in life because of that."

Jenkins, who will graduate in May, plans to study mathematics in graduate school and eventually work in some aspect of theoretical math research.