Tony Bedenikovic is impacting students one math problem at a time.
“My favorite part is being in the classroom and talking about cool ideas, trying to explain them in an accessible way,” Bedenikovic said. “There are so many good interactions back and forth with the material.”
Bedenikovic said the classroom is the best part about his teaching experience. His students feel the same way.
Sophomore television arts major and former student of his, Imani Shamsuddin, recalled her experience with Bedenikovic.
“He was able to break material down in a way that I could understand and grasp what we were learning,” Shamsuddin said.
Bedenikovic has been recognized as an exceptional professor not just by his current students, but his previous teachers as well. His former high school teacher recognized the ability in him early on.
“It was my high school English teacher who encouraged me to be a professor,” Bedenikovic said.
He said he believed the teacher was trying to convince him to be an English professor.
High school is where Bedenikovic discovered that he loved to write but also liked math. He described his choice as loving English but being passionate about math, and passion prevailed.
The St. Louis native received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at St. Louis University. For graduate school, Bedenikovic attended the University of Illinois, where he also earned his Ph.D.
Bedenikovic began working at Bradley in 2000 as an associate professor, now making it almost 20 years at Bradley.
As a professor, Bedenikovic currently teaches three different mathematics courses, all of which he draws inspiration from.
“They are all very different. Calculus is at the heart of mathematics. The Art of Mathematical Thinking, I get to teach interesting topics. The Topics for Middle School Math Teachers, that’s a new preparation,” Bedenikovic said.
Preparation is something Bedenikovic is no stranger to. It is his goal to keep preparing himself and adjusting where necessary.
“I want to keep changing my notes. Even though I’ve been here 20 years, every year the notes look different and I want to make them better each time,” Bedenikovic said. “I always find it interesting to have a new preparation. It makes you appreciate the subject.”
His ability to explain and teach mathematics does not go unnoticed.
“If he realized students weren’t grasping the concepts, he slowed down,” sophomore journalism major, Diamond Moody, said. “He was always concerned about how we were doing in the class as well as outside of the classroom.”
Bedenikovic plans to continue enhancing students’ experience at Bradley and creating an impact.
“I’m trying to have a bigger effect on our students by helping with internships and professional connections,” Bedenikovic said.
He understands the importance of gaining professional experience while in school and wants to help students on their journey.