Nart Shalqini ’21 heard a calling in mathematical research and answered in earnest.
The recent Franklin & Marshall College graduate described uncovering his passion for independent research and problem solving after enjoying inspiring conversations with professors during office hours and working side-by-side with Professor of Mathematics Wendell Ressler during a Hackman summer research project.
“Exposure to mathematics beyond the classroom made me realize this passion,” Shalqini said. “I decided to pursue further research through independent studies and another Hackman research project, which resulted in two papers and contributed to my Ph.D. admission to Virginia Tech.”
One of these papers, “N-Sociable Heronian Triangles,” appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal and has been selected as a Richard V. Andree Award winner for 2021. The awards are given annually to the authors of papers written by undergraduate students that have been judged to be the best to have appeared in the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal in the past year.
“I wasn’t expecting to receive this award at all, given that Pi Mu Epsilon is one of the most widely read undergraduate journals with high-quality submissions,” he said.
Shalqini credits his skills in mathematical writing to his F&M education and support from attentive professors.
“The emphasis a liberal arts education places on written communication has certainly placed me one step ahead in my career,” he said. “Being able to write clear and convincing arguments is the key for a successful career in academia. After all, academia is about convincing your peers of your claims and communicating your ideas to those who are new to the field.”
Shalqini will begin his studies at Virginia Tech in the fall, where he will pursue a doctorate in mathematics. He encouraged incoming F&M students to follow in his footsteps and take advantage of the opportunities a small college environment offers, particularly in research.
“The [relatively] small size of F&M allows for forming close bonds with professors and getting to be a part of their research. Often, students don’t realize that getting research—or funding for research—is extremely difficult in larger universities,” he said. “Research experience in a competitive environment is invaluable. It shows a student’s ability of independent investigation, perseverance, and collaboration—which are all very in-demand skills.”
Shalqini was awarded the Ronald K. Stuart Mathematics Prize, given to one or two graduating seniors who have “completed major work in the field of mathematics with greatest distinction.”
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