Two Northeast Alabama Community College alumni recently returned home to talk with Mu Alpha Theta math honor society members and their families. Mr. Jesse Hairston, a UAH cybersecurity research scientist, and Dr. Mike Tinker, a NASA aerospace engineer, discussed opportunities available to Northeast graduates with a math or science degree. They specifically mentioned internship and scholarship opportunities. “These men are modern day explorers using mathematics as a guide map,” observed Mu Alpha Theta member and NACC math tutor Danielle Jordi, who will be majoring in chemical engineering at UAH in the fall.

2012 NACC alumnus Jesse Hairston received a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service to complete his computer engineering undergraduate and cybersecurity graduate degrees at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He currently works at the UAH Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education. His enthusiasm was evident as he described how he creates demonstrative cybersecurity attacks, teaches cybersecurity boot camps and courses, and writes proposals for research funding. Jordi commented that, "Mr. Hairston is directly involved in bringing the invisible world of online security to light for many area students. He is driven to inspire the next generation of STEM careers, and he emphasizes the important role of mathematics in the world of computer science." For students searching for a career path, Hairston suggested to be adaptive. “You don’t have to have everything figured out now. Just have a general direction to go in. Be open to taking unfamiliar paths in your education and career.”

1980 NACC alumnus Dr. Mike Tinker described how he "beat the odds to accomplish something big" in working as an aerospace engineer for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Although he grew up in a farming family where few finished high school, he dreamed of space travel and becoming an astronaut. With encouragement from his family and teachers at North Sand Mountain High School, he came to Northeast and completed a pre-engineering degree. He then transferred to Auburn University where he completed his undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees. Dr. Tinker has worked on the Hubble Space Telescope investigation and design corrections, International Space Station hardware, the STS-114 Space Shuttle anomaly, the Ares I rocket design, and inflatable space structures research and development (that led to a patent from the U.S. Patent Office). He often used the word "fun" to describe his projects! Michael Warner, a Mu Alpha Theta member and NACC math tutor who will be attending UAH in the fall, noted that, "As a student pursuing the type of career that Dr. tinker is in, I was thrilled to see that he enjoys his job. He seems to care greatly about the importance of math in engineering as well as the students who make up the next generation of engineers and scientists."

The NACC Mu Alpha Theta math honor society promotes math year round, but especially in March.

Mu Alpha Theta sponsored Pi Day activities on March 14 (3.14) Pi Day. The winner of the unit circle race was Andrea Melchiorre with a time of 2 min., 29 seconds. Daley Wilks recited the most digits of pi – 61 digits! The two students who estimated the closest number of m&ms in the two guessing jars were Thomas Hartline and Myra Pleasant.

Mu Alpha Theta also hosted their annual Algebra I Bowl on March 14. The student with the highest score was Jathan Underwood from Plainview school. He received a new TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator. The school with the most participants was Plainview. They also received a new TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator.

In addition to these events, the NACC chapter of Mu Alpha Theta also offers summer honors scholarships to current Mu Alpha Theta members taking at least three semester hours during a summer semester; a Mustang 5K run/walk in November, and year-round toner recycling for summer scholarships; and a tutor shadowing project for education majors.

The 2016-17 NACC Mu Alpha Theta officers were: President – Michael Warner; Co Vice-Presidents – Savannah Anne Ulmer, Danielle Jordi; Secretary – Kristen Shelton; Treasurer – Andrea Melchiorre; Parliamentarian – Logan Sears; and Historian – Brittany Bell. These officers conducted the spring induction ceremony and recognized 50 new members: Joshua A. Andrews, Yiye Avila Bautista, Sheena Beasley, Davis Bostrom, Alyssa Brewster, Alejandro Campos, Taylor Clark, Colby Cochran, Austin Thomas Evans, Chasody Lynn Fleming, Megan Garner, Martin Gomez, Nancy Gonzalez, Loren Grider, Crystal Gail Hardeman, Benjamin Duane Harris, Savannah Hartline, Reily Lauren Hill, Tatem Jones, Andres Aguirre Juan, Alexander Scott Kellett, Terry Hayden Land, Eric Lopez, Lauren Lusk, Krysta McGinness, Summer Jade McKinney, Claire Megehee, Alexander Miller, Adam Lucas Painter, Danny Parrish, Pierce Coley Porter, Addison Rains, Samantha Katlin Ridley, Nathan Rigdon, Lacey Christine Romans, Kaitlyn Olivia Shankles, Meridith C. Shankles, Maylee Shiflett, Paige Smith, Ashley Townsel, Christian Andrew Townson, Emily Nicole Wall, George Ivan Westmoreland, Kelsi H. Wetzel, Samantha Shavon Williams, Jordan Alan Willoughby, Kyle James Woods, Tisina Woods, Sady Anna Yvonne Wooten, Xinyu Zeng.

The 2017-18 NACC Mu Alpha Theta officers are: President – Ben Harris; Vice-President of Leadership – Kelsi Wetzel; Vice-President of Membership – Jarvee Liles; Vice-President of Service – Miguel Esteban-Mateo; Vice-President of Scholarship – Erica Williams; and Vice-President of Fellowship – Jordan Willoughby. These officers conducted the summer ceremony and recognized 24 new members:

Whitney Ashley, Bobby Brooks, Alexandra Bryant, Justin Lee Culver, Alexis N. Dawson, Kayla Deere, Evan Elizabeth Hoge, Shawn Allen Dunn, Miriam Nallely Elorza, Jennifer Chaney Fant, Andrew Fricks, Sydney Morgan Keller, Pamela Lynn Lemaster, John David Martin, Ryan Martin, Nicholas Kyle McLain, Taylor Mullins, Ashton Peek, Alyssa R. Puckett, Gerardo Reyna, Reveca Susana-Andres Tomas, Courtney Watson, and Amanda L. Whitley.

Mu Alpha Theta is the national mathematics honor society for community college and high school students throughout the United States. The purpose of Mu Alpha Theta is to promote scholarship in, and enjoyment and understanding of, mathematics. To be eligible for membership in Mu Alpha Theta a student must have completed MTH112 Precalculus Algebra or a higher level mathematics course; have a 3.0 GPA (out of a possible 4.0) in all two year college mathematics courses at or above the MTH112 level; and be pursuing a higher level mathematics course, that is one above the MTH112 level.

For questions regarding mathematics courses at NACC contact a Mu Alpha Theta sponsor: John Camp, 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001 ext. 2370, campj@nacc.edu; Adam Niblett, ext. 2389, nibletta@nacc.edu; or Milah Breland, ext. 2262, brelandm@nacc.edu.