Christy Spofford Bittle ('03)

Christy currently works for Metron Aviation, a company that develops and supports air-traffic management systems in conjunction with the FAA, airlines, NASA, academia, and private industry. As an analyst for Metron, Christy models air-traffic flow and develops computer code associated with various models. In her work, she relies both on specific knowledge she gained from her undergraduate mathematics training and on her analytical skills developed in theorem-proof courses such as Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra, and Number Theory. Not surprisingly, courses such as Multivariable Calculus, which focus on modeling and analysis in three-dimensional space, provide tools and knowledge she directly applies.

As a W&L student, Christy authored an honors thesis (titled "Norms of composition operators on the Hardy space") and she co-authored an article "Norms of linear fractional composition operators," which appeared in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society in 2004. She especially enjoyed the number theory course she took at W&L and even applied some knowledge gained from the course to identify the norm of a certain composition operator as the unique positive number x satisfying the equation

where F[j] denotes the j-th Fibonacci number. (The norm of an operator is a measure of the extent to which it can distort the unit ball of the space on which it acts.)