Recent bachelors-level graduates in the mathematical sciences
Career profiles are a valuable source of information for prospective mathematical sciences majors. The goal of the Early Career Profiles Network is to collect relevant and timely information about career opportunities for undergraduate mathematical sciences majors that can be broadly disseminated to high school and college students. This departmental network providing profiles of recent graduates is a straightforward and efficient way to continue the flow of timely career information needed by students, counselors, teachers, and faculty.
The American Mathematical Society has developed and administers a network of mathematical sciences departments that systematically provide job profiles of their recent bachelors-level alumni. The Early Career Profile Network is supported in part by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation under the auspices of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Series.
Tim Knapik, Higher Education
Enrolled in PhD program, Operations Research
Stony Brook University
Tim graduated from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 2005 with a BA in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Shortly after, he was offered a job with SI International as a Junior Software Engineer. On the job, Tim collaborated with the Air Force Research Laboratory providing research and developing software. His math background was essential for understanding scientific papers that were read on a day to day basis. His research led to applying Machine Learning techniques and heuristic based optimization schemes to real world problems.
After nearly a year of work in the field, Tim decided to enroll in the PhD. program in Operations Research at Stony Brook University.
Life as a graduate student
As a graduate student you can expect to spend ~40 hours/week attending class, reading, and completing homework. In addition, if you hold a Teaching Assistantship you will be required to work with a professor grading papers and holding office hours tutoring undergraduates. The work is very challenging, but worth the effort. On the positive side, you decide when you are going to work and what topics you wish to pursue.
Advice for students
Try to obtain a summer internship as soon as possible. You will gain some real-world experience, and also get a feel for what kind of job or major suits your interests best. Most importantly, work hard as an undergraduate! Your effort now will pave the way for a job in the future or lay the foundations for graduate school.
Rachel Marilley, Higher Education
Adjunct Math Teacher and graduate student at RIT
Monroe Community College
What she does
Rachel is finishing her Master’s in Applied Mathematics at Rochester Institute of Technology. She teaches intermediate algebra, while working on completing her thesis on delayed differential equations for simple and complex lasers.
Rachel’s background includes Bachelors in Applied Mathematics and a minor in physics. She did research as an undergraduate at SUNY Poly on Cartan Matrices. Rachel says,”Having done undergraduate research was pivotal in my applying to graduate schools. It set me apart from other students and as such I received more scholarship money.”
Advice for students
My advice to current students would be to do some research as an undergraduate; you’d be surprised how interesting and fun it can be. When you get your bachelor’s degree remember you can adjunct teach at any community college, which helps with finances while you finish your Master’s program.
I had an amazing time at SUNY Poly; you’ve got some awesome people in your math department.
Gennady Staskevich, Information Technologies
Received associate degree in computer science MVCC in 1999, transferred to SUNY Poly, and graduated in 2001 with a double major in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.
Computer Scientist - position requires (at minimum) calculus 2 and 3.6 GPA
Air Force Research Laboratories/Information Directorate – Rome Research Site (AFRL/IF-RRS)
What he does
Conducts research, prototyping, experimentation, and demonstration of advanced technologies to address current and future Air Force net-centric interoperability requirements for maximizing the effectiveness of joint and combined military operations in tactical and operational environments.
Math on the job
There are many forms of math, from logical proofs to differential calculus and beyond. Math problems/solutions frequently show up in contract proposals.
Upon graduation, Gennady held a temporary job as a Computer Services Technician at MVCC. A few months later he was offered two job opportunities simultaneously from PAR Technologies and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL) at Rome N.Y. He was hired by AFRL as Associate Mathematician (due to double major).
Advice for students
Most importantly, learning how to learn. Solid understanding of math is crucial for any researcher as it is the basis in other career fields like: physics, computer science, chemistry, etc. My suggestion is to do a double major (one in your area of interest and another in mathematics) or at minimum, get a math minor.