There are students who learn about the importance of international relations between nations, others who study the mind to learn more about the self and there are those who study one of the fundamental building blocks of any academic field, mathematics.
Students majoring in math learn everything from algebra to statistics and how that knowledge can be applied to everyday life.
While math is not everyone’s strongest suit, the students pursuing a degree in it often like the versatility that comes with the major.
“With a math degree you can go on to such a variety of careers and different types of graduate programs,” said Abbey Sterner, a sophomore mathematics major. “Like I could still go into medicine or law or engineering if I wanted to, I may just have to take a few prerequisites.”
Sterner described how convenient it was that the math department is small and students get to know more of the professors and their fellow classmates. As a result, math majors are often more likely to be a part of a research team or gain valuable internship opportunities.
Sterner is involved with research with other students in her class. She’s had two internships previously and will work at another this summer in an actuarial field.
Shawn Brelvi, a junior in the program, explained his daily schedule.
“A lot of early classes to be frank, Calculus 1, 2, and 3, usually they’re either 8 or 9:30 so a lot of it is done in the morning, but I prefer to get my classes out of the way,” he said.
Brelvi is also involved with undergraduate research with his fellow classmates.
The course load can be challenging at times but it can help with other classes, Sterner said.
“My course load is typically two math classes then two classes in a similar field like physics or data science then two other core classes,” she said. “All of the classes require a lot of time outside of class but it’s made a little easier because I can apply my math to my physics so I can combine the work sometimes.”
Brelvi said how class can be stressful, but with time management, the work can be effectively done.
Craig Pelling, a freshman mathematics and computer science double major, also said the work can be difficult, but is worth the time spent on it.
“It is a lot of work but if you’re willing to go through with it, it’ll pay out in the end,” he said.
Students in this major employ a variety of techniques to learn the material.
“Everybody learns math differently, so for me I need to practice a bunch of problems then write out the process I did,” Sterner said. “So it requires me to spend a lot of time out of class learning.”
Sterner, Pelling and Brelvi expressed different goals for after graduation and what their math degree can help them do.
Sterner said she has an interest in actuarial science. Pelling said he is open to the idea of graduate school and will likely begin the job search right after college and Brelvi explained the potential of his degree.
“One thing that I want to do is use mathematics to educate and to really enrich parts of society that currently aren’t optimized so you can use it for traffic systems or urban planning,” he said.
Brelvi also expressed a charitable desire in applying mathematics to society.
He said, “I’m a fan of social justice so one thing that I wanna do is to work with crime statistics and be able to display them to people so that they can understand what’s going on with society.”
Adam Varoqua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.