Career Options Multiply When Students Major in Mathematics
From high-finance analysts to high school teachers, Stonehill’s mathematics majors consistently find rewarding ways to apply their passion for numbers.
Christina Szczesny ’17 was on the hunt for a major when she enrolled in Honors Calculus I with Professor Timothy Woodcock. It wasn’t long before she saw her destiny: She wanted to be a math major.
“The passion and excitement Professor Woodcock shared was infectious, and I think that’s very valuable and inspiring,” says Szczesny, who is now a senior margin analyst at W.B. Mason, analyzing data and identifying its value for the $1.8 billion national office supply company. “Throughout my math classes after that, there were lots of difficult problems and topics. But that excitement, once you understand, and that excitement that you share with your peers, makes it worth it.”
Szczesny is just one example of how students in Stonehill’s mathematics program have found ways to apply their love of math in numerous professional fields. In almost every case, they credit the department’s faculty with helping to shape their career paths and to prepare them for the workforce.
In her role as a systems engineer for Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Rachael Chandler ’18 says she is constantly using her math education to solve problems.
Chandler began at Raytheon as a systems engineering intern the summer after her junior year at Stonehill. Fast-forward five years, and she is now developing critical systems for government customers such as the U.S. Navy, helping develop a program centered around networking and communication, and spending significant time at sea for test demonstrations.
Chandler says all her calculus and linear algebra classes had a positive impact on her. She singled out Woodcock and Hsin-hao Su as professors who inspired her. “Both were passionate about teaching and kept me engaged and excited,” she says.
Another aspect of the mathematics program at Stonehill that provides a competitive advantage to students is the number and variety of research opportunities. An example is the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), through which students can participate in summer research projects with one or more faculty members.
According to Mathematics Department Chair Heiko Todt, the SURE program has led to students publishing their findings and presenting the research at conferences, a valuable addition to their resumes.
“Our students are well prepared to go into many different fields upon graduation,” he says. “Many of their jobs are in finance — working, for example, as data analysts. Math majors who also majored or minored in computer science frequently launch careers in software engineering. And about half of our students complete a B.A. in mathematics, which typically leads to a career in teaching.”
Todt also emphasized the benefit of learning in small class sizes with professors who truly care about them and who strive to foster a supportive environment to help with both academic and nonacademic concerns. He said the small size of the program allows students to bond with one another, creating another network of support.
That network of support was important to Corey Adams ’12, who is now director of strategic control design and analytics at Fidelity Investments. When he couldn’t find a course that specifically dealt with his two favorite topics — analytics and investments — he said Professor Su helped him develop a personalized directed study program.
Adams, whose role at Fidelity centers on risk management by leveraging big data and visualization technologies, said what many other Stonehill math alumni and current students say: One-on-one guidance and small class sizes are huge benefits; with a teacher student ratio of 1:10, the Mathematics Department feels like a close-knit family. “Once I became a math major,” he says, “everything started to fall into place.”