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Trey Smith: A Study in Balance

August 29, 2007

Dr. Trey Smith certainly displays a flair for balance, whether he is teaching mathematics, writing plays or riding his unicycle.

An assistant professor in the ASU Mathematics Department, Smith balances the classes he teaches between several different types of students. Besides algebra and calculus classes stocked mostly with math majors, he also teaches courses designed specifically for liberal arts and business majors.

“One of the best things about ASU is that it affords me an opportunity to work with some really great students,” Smith said. “Due to a great research scholarship program and an encouraging philosophy with regard to student research, I have been able to work on some really fun projects with a lot of different students.”

For his outstanding work in the classroom, Smith is the recipient of the ASU 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Smith has also found a unique way to balance the two sides of his brain. While his analytical left brain concentrates on math lessons, he exercises his creative/intuitive right brain by writing plays. His works have twice been featured in the ASU Summer Dinner Theatre productions of “Uncommon Threads” in 2005 and “Original One-Act Plays” in 2007.

“His plays make me think and laugh and wonder,” said ASU theatre director Dr. Bill Doll. “They also make me really, really puzzled about how screwed up those wires in his head must be.”

But, the most obvious exhibition of Smith’s balance is when he is partaking in his unusual hobby of riding a unicycle.

“I took up unicycling two summers ago and it started out as a father-son thing with my then 11-year old son, Lee,” Smith said. “After we both learned, we got seriously hooked. Both of us are actually more into muni (mountain unicycling) and have gone on several trail rides together.”

A member of the ASU faculty since 1994, Smith earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ASU and his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He is married to Laura Smith and they have three sons, Huston, Carl and Lee.