Sharon Robbert

Professor of Mathematics; Department Chair

Education

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1993 M.S., University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1989 B.A., Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983

Associated Academic Programs

Mathematics

“Understanding how to think rationally and use quantitative understanding appropriately is critical to thriving in the public square.”

While studying mathematics in college, Dr. Sharon Robbert found that the content came easily. “When peers identified that I was not only good in the field but good at explaining math concepts to others, I started tutoring math—first just friends, and then later for the college. I found that explaining mathematical concepts helped me understand the subject even better—and I enjoyed really understanding the concepts.”

Robbert taught mathematics in high school before becoming a professor, and has recently served as Trinity’s interim provost. She believes that the problem-solving skills that students learn in mathematics courses translates into any situation, whether or not advanced mathematics concepts need to be applied. “Nearly every news publication includes numerical data; most vocations require some understanding of numerical concepts. Also, math majors and minors build fortitude on this common rational/quantitative ability: by studying mathematics, students practice persistence in looking for solutions to a difficult or challenging problem.”

What drew her to Trinity:

God provided a position at Trinity at exactly the right time. “In the spring of 1993 when I was completing my Ph.D. in mathematics, Prof. Rich Kooy retired from Trinity’s math department. Having an opportunity to work at a Reformed Christian college in the Chicago area was an answer to prayer! In the 20-plus years that have followed, my two sons have completed degrees at Trinity, and I have been blessed to be involved in many roles at the college.”

Robbert also appreciates how Trinity allows faculty, staff, and students to develop and build on their gifts in new ways. “For example, I have been blessed with the opportunity to develop expertise in college accreditation and in Tolkien literature, in addition to enhancing my expertise in mathematics.”

Research interests:

Robbert’s research interests currently focus on two areas:

Crypography

Robbert started studying the mathematics of cryptography after reading a novel that incorporated the story of the mathematicians at Bletchley Park breaking the German Enigma code during World War II. “In addition to studying historical cryptographical systems, I have taught a topics course on cryptography and have conducted joint research with several gifted mathematics students on Elliptic Curve Encryption under Trinity’s VanderVelde junior scholar program.”

Mathematical technology

This area has been a passion since Robbert began teaching at Trinity. “Most recently, I have been experimenting with freeware called Sage that will permit Trinity students to continue to utilize software after graduation.

When she’s not teaching:

Robbert loves to read, especially novels. “I also enjoy gardening, both fruits/vegetables and flowers. I do get frustrated when squirrels steal my peaches, though, so next summer I will be looking for innovative ways to prevent squirrel access to my trees.” She also participates in church music groups. “I sing soprano in the choir, play my violin and viola with the church orchestra, and ring handbells.”

Courses

Abstract Algebra
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
Differential Equations
Discrete Structures

Linear Algebra
Mathematics within a Liberal Arts Tradition
Real Analysis
Senior Seminar in Mathematics
Topics in Mathematics: Number Theory, Cryptography

Papers and Publications

Klanderman, D, M. Maxwell, S. Robbert, & M. Webster-Moore. Creating Problems And Their Solutions: Service Learning Through Trinity Mathematics Triathlons, Math Nights, And Math Centers. Primus. Volume 23, Issue 6, pages 563-571, 2013.

Klanderman, D. & S. Robbert. Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith and A Certain Ambiguity—A Review Essay. Christian Scholars Review, Volume XLI, Issue 4, pages 401-405, 2012.

Robbert, S., editor. Trinity Christian College Institutional Self-Study Report. Presented for Reaccreditation by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 2010.

Honors and Awards

2014-present Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission

2013 Distinguished College/University Teaching of Mathematics, Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America

2011 Women’s Advanced Leadership Institute, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

1994-95 Project NExT fellow, Mathematical Association of America

Professional Society Memberships

Association for Christians in the Mathematical Sciences
Mathematical Association of America
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

+ Expertise

While studying mathematics in college, Dr. Sharon Robbert found that the content came easily. “When peers identified that I was not only good in the field but good at explaining math concepts to others, I started tutoring math—first just friends, and then later for the college. I found that explaining mathematical concepts helped me understand the subject even better—and I enjoyed really understanding the concepts.”

Robbert taught mathematics in high school before becoming a professor, and has recently served as Trinity’s interim provost. She believes that the problem-solving skills that students learn in mathematics courses translates into any situation, whether or not advanced mathematics concepts need to be applied. “Nearly every news publication includes numerical data; most vocations require some understanding of numerical concepts. Also, math majors and minors build fortitude on this common rational/quantitative ability: by studying mathematics, students practice persistence in looking for solutions to a difficult or challenging problem.”

What drew her to Trinity:

God provided a position at Trinity at exactly the right time. “In the spring of 1993 when I was completing my Ph.D. in mathematics, Prof. Rich Kooy retired from Trinity’s math department. Having an opportunity to work at a Reformed Christian college in the Chicago area was an answer to prayer! In the 20-plus years that have followed, my two sons have completed degrees at Trinity, and I have been blessed to be involved in many roles at the college.”

Robbert also appreciates how Trinity allows faculty, staff, and students to develop and build on their gifts in new ways. “For example, I have been blessed with the opportunity to develop expertise in college accreditation and in Tolkien literature, in addition to enhancing my expertise in mathematics.”

Research interests:

Robbert’s research interests currently focus on two areas:

Crypography

Robbert started studying the mathematics of cryptography after reading a novel that incorporated the story of the mathematicians at Bletchley Park breaking the German Enigma code during World War II. “In addition to studying historical cryptographical systems, I have taught a topics course on cryptography and have conducted joint research with several gifted mathematics students on Elliptic Curve Encryption under Trinity’s VanderVelde junior scholar program.”

Mathematical technology

This area has been a passion since Robbert began teaching at Trinity. “Most recently, I have been experimenting with freeware called Sage that will permit Trinity students to continue to utilize software after graduation.

When she’s not teaching:

Robbert loves to read, especially novels. “I also enjoy gardening, both fruits/vegetables and flowers. I do get frustrated when squirrels steal my peaches, though, so next summer I will be looking for innovative ways to prevent squirrel access to my trees.” She also participates in church music groups. “I sing soprano in the choir, play my violin and viola with the church orchestra, and ring handbells.”

+ Courses, Publications & Research

Courses

Abstract Algebra
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
Differential Equations
Discrete Structures

Linear Algebra
Mathematics within a Liberal Arts Tradition
Real Analysis
Senior Seminar in Mathematics
Topics in Mathematics: Number Theory, Cryptography

Papers and Publications

Klanderman, D, M. Maxwell, S. Robbert, & M. Webster-Moore. Creating Problems And Their Solutions: Service Learning Through Trinity Mathematics Triathlons, Math Nights, And Math Centers. Primus. Volume 23, Issue 6, pages 563-571, 2013.

Klanderman, D. & S. Robbert. Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith and A Certain Ambiguity—A Review Essay. Christian Scholars Review, Volume XLI, Issue 4, pages 401-405, 2012.

Robbert, S., editor. Trinity Christian College Institutional Self-Study Report. Presented for Reaccreditation by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 2010.

+ Awards & Memberships

Honors and Awards

2014-present Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission

2013 Distinguished College/University Teaching of Mathematics, Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America

2011 Women’s Advanced Leadership Institute, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

1994-95 Project NExT fellow, Mathematical Association of America

Professional Society Memberships

Association for Christians in the Mathematical Sciences
Mathematical Association of America
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics