Osborne-2937Susan E. Osborne,
Associate Professor of Mathematics

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5708
Office: Davenport 105B

Mrs. Osborne is always seeking new tools for her toolbox. Not hammers, pliers and other physical tools, but mathematical principles and concepts. These tools are problem solving tools that can be applied in businesses and industries of all types. What can these mathematical tools do?  They can allow a superstore to set lower prices than any other store, determine the best possible location for a new fire station, or design a box that holds a specific volume but uses the least material.  They can schedule workers for a set of tasks, determine the best design for waiting lines in a bank, improve the quality of products through quality control and much more.  Can every problem be solved?  This depends on what you mean by a solution. Sometimes we can accept an approximate answer as good enough rather than spend an enormous amount of time to obtain the exact solution.

Occasionally, a problem can be particularly difficult to solve and, perhaps, it is even impossible to determine an exact answer.  When this is the case, the applied mathematician can build a mathematical model and use technology such as computer simulations to find an acceptable solution. Computers can run the simulations hundreds and even thousands of times in a brief time frame. Using statistics, the simulations can give a very good estimated answer.

Mathematics is an essential key in today’s business and industries. Filling your toolbox with good mathematical concepts can put you ahead of others in the workforce. Of course, just like with physical tools, one must start with simple tools and work toward using “power” tools. So come and get started discovering a new set of tools for your toolbox!

Master of Operations Research, Engineering, North Carolina State University.

Master of Arts, Mathematics, Wake Forest University.

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics and Business Administration/Accounting, Averett University.

Diploma, General Electronics, Danville Community College


Stephen Davidson
Instructor, Mathematics

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-7243
Office: Frith Hall 416

“Own yourself.”  That is the mantra that Stephen Davidson lives by. He lived by it as a child who proudly wore wrestling and comic book t-shirts to school. He lives by it as an adult who proudly wears wrestling and comic book t-shirts to holiday dinners. And he wants to pass along that message to anyone else who will listen. And if teaching Math is the conduit for that message, then he gets to work with math – which he loves – and he gets to make a difference, at the same time. That’s his goal.

What does it mean to “own yourself”? On the surface, it seems simple: don’t be ashamed of who you are. Even better, don’t be afraid of who you are. Others don’t matter. Only you matter. So, be yourself totally and completely. So, yes, this naturally includes expressing oneself honestly. It includes not hiding oneself for fear of others’ reactions. But it also includes not hiding from oneself out of fear or apathy. Don’t hold yourself back and don’t make excuses to do so. Anything can be justified except for fear-based justifications.

Stephen knows that not everyone loves Math. He knows that not every student who walks into his classroom is going to use it on a daily basis, once the class has ended. Very few will, to be honest. And his response to this is, “So what?” That’s a justification. It’s an excuse to hide from oneself because of a fear of the material. Nobody would voice dissent towards learning something if they truly believed they were capable of learning it. And he’s here to tell you to quit hiding, because capable you are.  All he asks is to be trusted. To be listened to. Success will not always come quickly. But, with trust and hard work, it will come for anyone who wants it. But it’s important to not only trust him, but to trust yourself, as well. “Own yourself.” You might be surprised by what follows.


tuckerDr. Gary Tucker,
Professor of Mathematics

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-5709
Office: Frith Hall 415

America landed a man on the moon and created “Star Trek.” Those two things were more than enough to get Dr. Gary Tucker interested in science when he was just a boy.

He went to K-Mart when he was in middle school, and he found chemistry books for $1. He bought and devoured those. Then he found they had books on mathematics and calculus. Completed both of them.

When he got to high school, he took a geometry class. Guess what book he found at home — yes, geometry.  The book at home taught him how a formal geometry proof should look, and when he turned in his first proof, it was perfect. The geometry teacher sent him to the back of the room — in a good way: “You just sit back there and work on your own. You’ll be fine.”  He knew he had found his calling.

When Tucker was a sophomore at Averett (then called Averett College), the school began offering Computer Science. That was a natural fit for him, and he is now a Professor of Computer Science.  Although he clearly loves (and teaches) both Math and Computer Science, he does issue an interesting warning: “Math books don’t get obsolete, but computer things do. It’s Windows 7 now, but it will be 8 when they graduate and 9 about 10 minutes later. So I give them the Google Earth view of Computer Science. If they want to drill down, into the current details of today, that’s up to them. Definitely the most important thing I do is teach them how to learn.”

He also works to develop his students’ presentation skills: “Every other Friday, they do presentations, summarizing news stories to the class. We do that in every upper-level IT course, because if you’re getting a degree in Computer Science, you’ll likely be the head of a Computer Science group someday. That means you’ll need to stand up and talk in public, asking for budget money, justifying your requests, presenting a case.”  Tucker currently is expanding internship opportunities for the Math and Computer Science students, and their presentation skills will likely be put to use there, even before graduation.


Additional study at Nova Southeastern University, Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics, Duke University

Master of Arts, Mathematics, Duke University

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology/Chemistry, Averett College


10+ years in Internet security; 15+ years teaching


Keeping Children Safe on the Internet; General Internet Safety: Worms, Viruses, Malicious Software; Information Privacy; Applying Mathematics to Biology; Using Technology to Teach Mathematics

Community Involvement, Volunteer Activities and Professional Affiliations:

Southern Piedmont Technology Council, Secretary

Forest Hills Elementary PTO, Second Vice President

Danville Public Schools, Parent Advisory Council

Pittsylvania Baptist Association, finance team

Averett Christian Student Union, Faculty Advisor

Interim Pastor at Shermont Baptist Church