Getting to Know: Karin Saoub

by minton on August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job.

Karin Saoub has published a general education book on graph theory, and is finishing up a similar book for math majors. Her bulletin board includes student projects from a geometry class and drawings by her two children.

Her research interests include gerrymandering and how to mathematically minimize its effects. She works with her classes to produce fun projects to use the concepts for real life purposes. A recent project involves her students running a fake business but using math to maximize the returns they can receive. She has her class find schedules, create routes, organize pipelines, and pick employee preferences.

She has changed her focus as she has worked as a professor. She worked in graduate school on the ideas of graph theory and graph coloring, which are fairly theoretical. She has shifted these ideas so that they are more accessible to students. She has also begun to write more books instead of articles. In 2050, she pictures schools like Roanoke College with more job training, distance learning, and more skills and less processes. Her favorite phrase is “Essentially,” and her favorite books are by Jane Austen, specifically Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.