Dr. Paula Grafton Young came to Salem College in 1993. Dr. Young says she came to Salem because it was exactly the kind of place she wanted to spend her career. She teaches courses such as probability, mathematical statistics, college geometry, real analysis, and the computer applications sequences, along with courses that support the new minor in statistics.
Dr. Young has received several awards and recognitions, including the John W. Keesee Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant, the J. Hillman Yowell Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the John C. Massie Graduate Summer Research Fellowship, all from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Young has also received the Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award at Salem College and the Alumni Award for Achievement and Merit from the University of Arkansas, Monticello. She was named Salem Distinguished Professor for the 2002 to 2007 period and received the Pfohl Award in 2011. In 2009 - 2010, she delivered both the Opening Convocation address to the College community and the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2010, who dedicated that year’s Sights and Insights to her.
When not teaching Dr. Young loves to write and talk about mathematics, including co-authoring Finite Mathematics, An Applied Approach, 3/e. She enjoys working with metric spaces (different ways of measuring distance in the plane). She says she is always interested in taking complicated mathematics and making it interesting and accessible to a wider audience, which is where most of her publications and presentations have been focused. She has also authored several supplements to accompany texts written by other authors; these supplements help to integrate graphing calculator and spreadsheet technology into lower-level mathematics courses, such as Finite Mathematics and algebra-based Calculus courses.
Dr. Young has been very involved in service to Salem College. She has served on committees such as Academic Council, Curriculum Committee, Coordinating Committee, Faculty Advisory Board, Strategic Council, Review Committee, and the Tenure and Promotion Committee. She advised Mortar Board for several years. Early on at Salem, she was an adviser to the Eco Club. She also served as an adviser to International Club and helped the club to expand its annual International Dinner and International Show to involve the Winston-Salem community. Recently, she chaired the Strategic Planning Steering Committee that was charged with developing the College’s 2013 - 2017 Strategic Plan. She currently manages the QUEST Program, which provides peer-tutoring and other resources to encourage students to develop their quantitative, scientific and technological skills.
Dr. Young sees the strengths of a women’s college as building confidence, providing personal attention, and providing opportunities for interacting with professors in and out of the classroom. She believes that Salem College succeeds at developing strong leaders and scholars and that students who are interested in a career related to mathematics or statistics will find a comfortable home in the Mathematics Department at Salem College.
Advice to prospective mathematics students: “Go for it! Students often say, ‘I like mathematics, but I don’t want to teach.’ No problem! Successful people tend to couple something they are good at with something they are interested in–a major or minor in mathematics, or even just an extra couple of mathematics or statistics courses in college, narrows the earnings gap between men and women in the same jobs.”