Associate Professor - Math
Dr. Eric Sullivan received his B.S. in Mathematics from Iowa State Univeristy 1998, M.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (2007), and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado Denver (2013).
Dr. Sullivan's mathematical interests include modeling of fluids in porous media using hybrid mixture theory, continuum mechanics, partial differential equations, and numerical methods for partial differential equations. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, rock and ice climbing, kayaking, and generally being outdoors.
While an undergraduate student at Iowa State University, I found my love for mathematics and for teaching. I started as an engineering major but very soon realized that I was having more fun in my math classes and at my job as a math tutor. After making the switch to a math major, I never looked back. I graduated from Iowa State in 1998 with a BS in Math and an emphasis in Secondary Education. After undergrad, I taught middle school and high school math in Des Moines, Iowa, Dubuque, Iowa, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the point when I was reaching 10 years of teaching, I decided to head back to academia for a graduate degree in math. My focus during graduate school was Numerical Analysis, Mathematical Modeling, and Partial Differential Equations. I did my thesis work on the mathematical models of fluid and contaminant flow in soils. As fun as the thesis was, however, I realized that my post-grad school goal was teaching, not pure research – so I applied to places like Carroll.
One of the things that I truly love about teaching at Carroll is that I get to teach a wide variety of math courses. I have taught almost every course the math department offers, and I thoroughly enjoy them all! My teaching philosophy is that mathematics is not a spectator sport – every student is doing math from the beginning of class to the end. Beyond math, I have also had the opportunity to expand my academic horizons with the addition of our new Data Science program. I have piloted several of the new Data Science courses, led several Data Science senior thesis projects, and worked on collaborative projects between the Data Science program and other departments around campus. The beautiful thing about Data Science is that it is a marriage between Applied Math, Statistics, and Computer Science. The program plays very well to my strengths and background in applied math and numerical analysis. Launching the Data Science program and piloting several of the courses has been a great way to allow me to keep learning and growing as an academic.
Beyond academia, I am an avid hiker, runner, paddler, and mountain biker. Academic life affords my wife, dog, and I the opportunity to take full advantage of the beautiful Montana summers. Since moving to Helena, I have hiked all 700 miles of the Montana section of the Continental Divide Trail. I have also hiked over 400 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington and Oregon. Together we have adventured in the Grand Canyon, in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, and many other places around Montana, Utah, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Colorado. The mountain ranges around the Pacific Northwest have endless possibilities for exploration, and we have a long to-do list of trails, lakes, and backcountry areas to explore in the coming years. The more time we can spend living out of our tent in the summer the better.