Stephen Ellison will be graduating as the 2011 Outstanding Graduate for the Arts and Science’s Mathematics Department at the University of Alaska Southeast.
Ellison came to UAS due to the close proximity to his hometown of Klawock and his desire to be a pilot.
“I grew up in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales Island,” Ellison said. “UAS is so close I can still hunt and fish during the summers when I’m not in school.”
“I got my professional pilot’s license and my captain’s license a year after I graduated from high school. I thought I wanted to be a bush pilot,” Ellison explained. “Then I wanted to be a pilot in the military, but that requires a college degree. So I came to UAS.”
After starting his undergraduate studies at UAS, Ellison realized his career plans were up for another change.
“I started out as a biology major and halfway into the year I decided I liked math,” said Ellison. “It felt so rewarding when I figured a problem out. Math just seemed more suited. Then I had a kid and she’s two years old now. I realized that being a military pilot probably was not the best career choice for me anymore.”
Now, after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and minor in Spanish, Ellison has plans to attend graduate school in Alaska.
“I’m planning to go to graduate school for mathematics or statistics at UAA,” he said. “I want to be a biometrician, which is basically a biological statistician. Biologists are always doing statistics and a biometrician tries to put that information together.”
“It’s an infinite world,” Ellison said. “Math is like a ladder and as you move up a rung you need to know something from the previous step to figure it out.”
UAS’ 2011 Commencement will be held at 2 p.m. on May 1 at the UAS Recreation Center.