### Cory Colbert

**Where are you from?**

I was born in Petersburg, VA, and I grew up in Midlothian, VA.

**Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.**

When I was in high school, I had assumed that mathematical facts were just statements that were agreed upon by the larger mathematical community; I did not know you could prove them. My computer science teacher showed me how to prove theorems about the natural numbers using mathematical induction, and I was hooked. I knew I needed to study mathematics.

The second experience is when I attended my first ever math talk. It was given by a new professor in the mathematics department who studied analysis. He spoke about how to compute the volume of an n-dimensional ball of radius r, and then he showed a proof that for a fixed radius r, the volume tends to zero as n tends toward infinity. I was stunned and hooked! Fun fact: That professor, Kevin Beanland, is now my colleague here at Washington and Lee!

**What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?**

It feels really good to get better at mathematics and understand more today than you did, say, a year ago. I really like it when I can’t understand the proof of a theorem, or a difficult theory in mathematics, but then, after a few months (or years!), it finally clicks. When you look back at what you’ve come to understand, you realize that it was worth the struggle. Math is beautiful.

**What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?**

I’ve really gotten good at doing my flight simulations. I fly both X-Plane and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, and my favorite aircraft is the A321 NEO XLR. I also like the A350XWB for long hauls. I have nearly 1,000 hours of flight sim experience, and I love how much I’ve learned about airplanes and how they fly. Flight is awesome!

**Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.**

One of the biggest regrets I have about graduate school is that I did not network a lot, and I did not work a lot with others. I think this made me feel really isolated, and I think it actually made studying math much harder. I later found that working with others is a great way to learn math. So don’t be afraid to network and do some math with your friends!