Lane Bloome ’13 of Raymond, Ill., has learned the meaning of persever- ance through mathematics. “It’s not about the ability never to be lost,” he says. “It’s about being comfortable with being lost and eventually finding your way out.” His skills came in handy earlier this year at the Cornell University Summer Mathematics Institute, an eight-week program designed to prepare undergraduate students for graduate study. “Each night we had the equivalent of a week’s worth of homework,” Bloome says, “and they gave us study sessions in order to do it. There’s very little time for ideas to really formulate.” Bloome was well prepared for his time at Cornell. During summer 2011, he attended Auburn University’s Research Experience for Undergraduates. He also completed four inde- pendent study courses between his freshman year and the end of his junior year, three under the supervision of Dr. Joe Stickles, professor of mathematics, and one under Dr. James Rauff, professor of mathematical and computer science.
Mathematics, however, is not the only subject where Bloome is experienced. “I’ve dabbled in a lot of things,” he says. “I’ve taken upper-level classes in six different departments. You find unity within different subjects, and I think that’s what a liberal arts education is: a coalescing of different ideas.” Being part of a social community is also important to Bloome, specifically a community for those interested in mathematics. He is the president of Millikin’s honorary mathematics fraternity, Pi Mu Epsilon, and cofounder of the Math Club. “Mathematicians are not known for being social beings,” Bloome says, “but the more you relate to the people you’re working with, the better you are at the things you do. Having an exposure to other ideas makes things more enjoyable and less challenging.”
The Math Club brought back “Calculus: The Musical!", a comedy performance/lecture Millikin has not seen in three years. The club is also hosting the mathematics department picnic. Outside of Millikin, Bloome continues to volunteer as an assistant scoutmaster for his Boy Scout troop back home. “I really think it offers a lot of good things to young men. Not just things like learning how to use a pocket knife or build a fire, but I think overall those things build some form of confidence, self- esteem and, ultimately, leadership,” says Bloome, who joined the program as a youth and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Stickles has seen Bloome practice these virtues since he first came to Millikin. “During First Week his freshman year, Lane stopped by my office to introduce himself and discuss his career path at Millikin and beyond,” Stickles says. “Since that time, I have had the privilege of watching him grow into a model student, a promising mathematical scholar and a diligent servant to Millikin and the community.” “There are so many people who helped me get to where I am,” Bloome says. His advice to students is two-fold. “First, seek out people who will help you do what you know you can do, and second, give back, knowing that where you are is a product of where you have been. Be thankful for what you have, and seek out the resources to get where you would like to be,” he adds.