Alumni Feature - Dalton Heilig

A native of Whitehall, Mont., Mathematics and Secondary Education major Dalton Heilig graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2016. Currently teaching high school math in Chinook, Mont., he says “he loves helping people to learn and grow.”

Recently, Heilig’s math research was published in the “Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal,” a publication that showcases a variety of graduate and undergraduate research.

According to Heilig, the article is a culmination of a lot of hard and enjoyable work. With the encouragement of Mathematics Associate Professor Tyler Seacrest, Heilig was able to summarize his ideas and learn about the publishing process.

“The Math Department at Montana Western was very knowledgeable and accessible. The block schedule allowed me to focus on my own research interests for large periods of time, which allowed me to immerse myself entirely in my research. Professor Seacrest was particularly helpful and encouraging. He is truly a mathematician and a great teacher, willing to go above and beyond to deliver quality instruction. I am very fortunate and grateful for his willingness to work with me and discuss my ideas and research,” said Heilig.

The paper describes Heilig’s work on the patterns that arise from difference tables of exponential functions. According to Heilig, “there are patterns everywhere in life, and part of mathematics is learning to describe, understand, and manipulate them.”

Heilig’s work was associated with one of the many topics discussed in Tyler Seacrest’s number theory class, including writing closed forms for polynomial functions based on their difference tables.

His quest for knowledge is continually expanding as he is teaching and learning more about math every day. He would like to continue conducting mathematics research, as well as eventually pursue advanced degrees in math in order to one day teach at the college level or work in industrial fields.

Finally, Heilig wants to let upcoming math students know that “the math instructors at UMW are very knowledgeable and willing to help you, so if you set your mind to something and work hard, you can achieve your goals.”

Visit the Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal website to learn more and read Heilig’s publication, “Pascal’s Triangle in Difference Tables and an Alternate Approach to Exponential Functions.”