When he’s not studying mathematics, senior Parker Tippin plays on the bowling team, works with Bowling Coach Billy Murphy at his store, and in the case of last semester, completed a cooperative education opportunity with Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Lori Steiner.
A unique learning opportunity
Between his job and his cooperative education course, Tippin was able to combine two passions — math and bowling — into an impressive display of theoretical exploration and practical application.
Part of Tippin’s job is to drill holes in the bowling balls for players, which Steiner said involves “a real art and skill, as well as science.”
She added, “Parker is known for being very skilled at this aspect of his job.”
“Over the course of this semester, I have really tried to focus even further on the technical aspects of my job,” Tippin said. “I have been very blessed over the course of my career to have talked with many technical experts in my industry. This co-op ed. experience and the research that I was driven to do has improved the quality of my work as well as given me a deeper knowledge of day-to-day activities that I perhaps took for granted.”
Through the internship, Tippin said he has witnessed firsthand how physics and mathematics relate to his sport.
“When I used arcs and angles to position weight blocks inside the ball, I always did it without thinking because I knew certain layouts produced certain types of ball motion,” he said. “I knew the reasons why they worked, but I did not truly stop to think about the physics of them. The same goes for why weight blocks are shaped the way they are.”
Mentors at Newman
In addition to the help, coaching and support of Murphy and Steiner, Tippin was able to pull from the wisdom of other faculty.
“My meetings with Dr. (Ryan) Huschka were invaluable to answer many of the questions that I did not have answers for. I was strong with the math of it all but weak with the physics.”
He explained that his theoretical research — informed by the physics and math — will soon have very practical and tangible results.
“This semester was more ‘theory’ heavy, and next semester for scholar’s day will be where I throw together the off-the-lanes math and physics with the on-the-lanes results when the balls are thrown,” Tippin said.
Tippin has also had the chance to meet with a local professional for some advice that would help him improve on the lane.
“I was incredibly fortunate to have a meeting with the Midwest Regional Manager for Storm Bowling to discuss some technical aspects of our sport. He even gave me some layouts to use on my own equipment that have helped my performance both collegiately and independently in competition.”
For Tippin, the experience he has gained from bowling applies to many values of work and even life itself.
“Bowling helped me develop strong values of teamwork, understanding, patience and courage. As someone who used to be very timid, I never would have guessed that I would one day have the confidence I do today in all aspects of my life.”
Murphy said he has witnessed Tippin’s confidence and passion grow throughout the years.
“Parker is an incredibly intelligent young man and a hard worker,” Murphy said. “With the ball technology that we have and all that needs to be known, his knowledge of math and everything he loves doing is intertwined with the job itself.”
A career in the bowling world
Beyond gaining confidence in himself and his abilities, and learning to do what he loves, Tippin’s time at Newman has given him an incredibly strong intellectual and vocational foundation to build upon.
“My understanding of geometry and physics will be particularly useful in my career,” he said. “This however will not limit me from finding more ways that math can be found in my workplace. From simple fractions all the way to three-dimensional calculus, the knowledge that Newman has given me will never lose its place in my life.”
Upon graduation, Tippin will run the east location for Wichita Bowling Supply full-time, building upon many of the necessary skills he’s gathered throughout his time as an undergraduate student.
“I am looking forward to doing research on the applications of layouts and showing how they affect ball motion through a practical study out on the lanes,” he said.
Each opportunity, match and class has been of great value to Tippin.
“Newman taught me to put passion into my work, both in my interactions with people and the subject matter itself. I hope to emulate this each day as I continue my career with bowling.”