Mathematician by day, musician by night

Mathematician by day, musician by night. Jesse Hicks, assistant professor of mathematics has a love for music. Photo courtesy of UMAC.


By: Samantha Stokes

There’s a secret musician in the math department at Dixie State University.

Jesse Hicks, assistant professor of mathematics, has been teaching for 12 years and has a background in mathematical relativity which is part of a branch of mathematics known as differential geometry. His love for general relativity and Einstein’s theory of gravity drew him to mathematics.

Hicks said, “I love and honestly appreciate deep truths. I love ground truths. That’s what I’m always looking for.

Hicks got into teaching because of the thrill that comes from helping students along the journey find those “a-ha” moments. He said he likes to see students grow in their own understanding of things because math makes sense and has upsides and downsides.

Avery Hansen, a sophomore in psychology at Syracuse, said, “His teaching style is very effective and he controls the class well. He makes it fun to go to class because he really understands his students and their life outside of school.

Besides a passion for math, Hicks also loves music. He has always kept music between himself and his family, but recently considered releasing music for fun.

“I never had this vision of trying to be famous or release songs, but recently I thought, why not see if people like it?” said Hicks.

Hicks devotes her time to work, math, music, and family. His favorite band is The Beatles and one of his favorite songs is “Let it Be”.

Hicks is a compassionate and understanding teacher who wants to work with each student to come to terms with complicated material.

“There are truths out there that we kind of have to bend, we can’t dictate how the universe works and that’s a tough thing to come to terms with,” Hicks said. “It’s a hard thing to appreciate, it’s hard to make it understood constantly.”

Hicks currently teaches college algebra, multivariate calculus, and topology. In the spring semester of 2022, he will teach college algebra, multivariate calculus, and linear algebra two.

Mckay Sullivan, an assistant professor of math, said he wanted to help everyone be their best self.

Asked about his favorite class to teach, Hicks said, “It’s like picking a favorite kid, I like topology, but I also like abstract algebra.”

He has also taught a quantum computing course and is working to become a quantum computing expert.

“It’s a technology that’s on the horizon, it’s going to change industries sooner than people think,” Hicks said.

Math is generally seen as a very black and white subject while music has no right answer.

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