Alumnus receives math education honor

James Adam Schrum, a May graduate of Western Carolina University, has been named the Outstanding Mathematics Education Student for the western region of the state by the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Schrum traveled to Greensboro recently to receive his award from the NCCTM. WCU students and alumni have been named winners of the honor for 24 of the last 27 years.

On campus, Schrum was a Teaching Fellow and Honors College student prior to graduating magna cum laude (with high honors) with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. He also was named to WCU’s dean’s list for each of his undergraduate semesters. He is now enrolled in the university’s master’s degree program in math.

Schrum previously worked for a year-and-a-half as a math and chemistry tutor for WCU’s Office of Student Support Services. He tutored students at WCU’s Mathematics Tutoring Center during the fall semester that just ended.

Nory Prochaska, director of the math tutoring center, said Schrum is highly sought-after as a tutor by students. “He’s thorough, clear and creative in his approaches to helping students, but perhaps his most effective quality as a teacher is his quiet, encouraging and absolutely non-judgmental approach to students of all levels. He has the makings of a great teacher,” Prochaska said.

Schrum, who works as a graduate assistant, will be teaching a section of pre-calculus in the coming spring semester and expects to receive his master’s degree in May. His long-range plans include working toward a doctoral degree in math and eventually teaching the subject to college students. Schrum said that although it is common for people to dislike math, he considers it to be a “beautiful subject” that he has always loved.

“Teaching is something I love doing,” he said. “I love explaining things and seeing other people understand things.” Receiving the award from the NCCTM “was nice and quite an honor, but I’m not sure I was deserving of it,” he said.

A Lincolnton resident, Schrum graduated from West Lincoln High School in 2010. He is the son of James A. Schrum of Lincolnton and Debbie B. Phillips of Gastonia.

Each year, the NCCTM professional organization recognizes one college junior and one college senior from each of the western, central and eastern regions of the state. Recognition is based on the student’s grade-point average and involvement in NCCTM and campus and community activities.

James Adam Schrum (left) assisted students at WCU’s Mathematics Tutoring Center during the fall semester.

James Adam Schrum (left) assisted students at WCU’s Mathematics Tutoring Center during the fall semester.