Faculty Profile: Robert Molina
Math professor Robert Molina has a puzzle obsession. From Sudoku to Rubik’s cubes, he has a vast collection of puzzles in his home—and always brings a table-full to the annual math taco dinner.
Mind puzzles are a branch of his expert field, combinatorics, which is the study of discrete (and usually finite) objects. In other words, it deals with arrangement of items such as books on a shelf or numbers in a defined set.
His interest in mathematics began at an early age, but his math preparation in high school was so bad that he had to take a remedial math class in college.
After leaving community college for a job, he chose mathematics as a major when he went back for his bachelor’s degree because he wanted to finish in two years. He planned on teaching high school, but his class was so unruly during student teaching that he jumped on his professor’s suggestion that he go to graduate school.
“I never realized I was that good at math,” he says.
He came to Alma in 1993 and loves working with a wide variety of students.
“I like teaching mathematics in a liberal arts setting,” he says. “I have the opportunity to teach students who might not like math, but end up having fun and learning in the class.”
In his spare time, he likes to hike, collect guitars and stay physically active.