Senior Salute 2014 - Alec Biehl
“The abstract critical thinking and problem-solving skills learned in my mathematics courses have refined my capacity to approach situations logically and rigorously analyze the whole picture, which extends beyond merely proving some mathematical relationship. Taking geography classes, on the other hand, gave me the opportunity to study spatial patterns on the earth’s surface in order to better understand how people, places, and ideas relate and influence one another. I truly feel that this combination of majors allowed me to reap the benefits of a liberal arts education.”
A mathematics and geography double major, Alec Biehl, of Medina, Ohio, has always had a wide array of interests.
“Going into college, I knew that I wanted to pursue a double major because it would provide me with flexibility in my education and post-college options,” Biehl recalls. “Moreover, I would become a well-rounded scholar honing my skills and knowledge in more fields, which is important when finding viable solutions to real-world problems. My attraction has always been to patterns and determining the logic and behavior behind them. Both mathematics and geography allowed me to study patterns from different perspectives.”
During his honor seminars, Biehl had the opportunity to gain even more insight from different perspectives.
“The passion that Gerry Hudson, emeritus professor of political science, and Alejandra Gimenez-Berger, associate professor of art, exhibited for their respective fields inspired me to care deeply for the role international organizations play in our world and the beauty of Italian Renaissance art. Most importantly, these professors taught me to appreciate knowledge and the work of individuals outside of my own fields of study.”
Following graduation, Biehl will attend Northwestern University to earn a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Transportation Systems Analysis and Planning.
“I feel it is the best way to apply what I have learned in my Wittenberg academic career. Not only have I gained the technical skills necessary to confront contemporary engineering problems, but I also have an awareness of such challenges in the context of urban geography. I am excited to be able to work in a discipline, whether it is in an academic or industry setting, which has the potential to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Northwestern University has an immense network of individuals associated with transportation-related activities and I have no doubt that many opportunities await both in Chicago and on a global scale.”
Reflecting on his time at Wittenberg, Biehl advises future students to build strong relationships with faculty, staff and fellow students.
“Through the relationships I have built over the past four years, I discovered opportunities and experiences that made me a competitive applicant to top-notch graduate programs. It is also easy to find your niche at Wittenberg, both academically and socially, which allows you to achieve a greater understanding of who you are as a person and build empathy towards people of different walks of life. Together, these opportunities for growth, when taken to heart, will prepare you to become a productive and respectable world citizen.”