Marc Mace ('10) | Mathematics

Marc Mace

Accepted to Oklahoma State University
to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics

"The professors at ACU really know their stuff," says Marc Mace ('10), who is headed to Oklahoma State this fall to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics.

The Keller, Texas, native chose ACU over other universities, including Rice and University of Texas at Dallas, but after visiting ACU his decision was easy.  "I knew I needed to come to a place where my faith could be challenged and grow," he says. He found at ACU professors and fellow students who cared about helping him grow, but beyond that he found an exceptional academic environment.  

Learning how to learn

Marc's professors "not only taught me the material I need for my future plans, but they also taught me how to think about the material," he says. "I don't plan on understanding everything I come across after I graduate, but I know how to learn something new thanks to those classes. Not just mathematics courses, but physics, computer science, even Bible, they all challenge you to a point you never imagined. You learn how to learn."

Abilene is a great town to come to for school. It is small enough to get around easily, but large enough to have anything you could find anywhere else. There are a lot of activities for college students, and ACU gives you many opportunities to participate in them. Whether it be an arts festival, a drive-in movie theater, or just walking downtown, there is always something that can help you take a break from studying.

While at ACU, Marc participated in a National Science Foundation-funded Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates. He spent eight weeks in Indiana doing mathematics research in a field called computational number theory.

"We looked at encryption schemes used in cryptography (code making and breaking) and tried to see if there was a way to break the codes," he says.

Research experience

That research experience helped him get into Oklahoma State's Ph.D. program and solidified his interest in a future career with the Department of Defense as a cryptologist.

His experience at ACU also gave him the spiritual sharpening he sought. "My faith has definitely been challenged while at ACU," Marc says. "There have been ups and downs along the way, but I have a better understanding of who I am and what I believe. Most of the journey has challenged me to juggle thinking logically (like a mathematician) about God versus accepting the faith aspect of following Him. It is definitely tough, and something I think we all struggle with."

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