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Senior Spotlight


With their University of Michigan careers nearly complete, our Mathematics seniors have lived, learned and grown with us. Their achievements never cease to amaze us, and without fail - year after year - we are proud to see them graduate and move on to brilliant futures. Our Senior Spotlight gives you insights into who these bright students are, and how Mathematics has shaped them.

Ishpreet Kohli

Actuarial Mathematics
Rochester Hills, MI

When looking for a career in Mathematics, Ishpreet found that actuarial science contained the perfect blend of mathematics, economics, computer science, and various other skills that he enjoys. One of his favorite classes in the department was Linear Algebra. While theoretical math is not directly applicable for his career interests, learning to think creatively to solve proofs and going through the challenges of the class has increased his skill-set greatly. Ishpreet’s favorite college experience has been traveling to Indianapolis, IN with the basketball band. Outside of academics, the marching and athletic bands have become his second family. After graduating from Michigan, Ishpreet will be starting a position as an actuary at State Farm. After a few years in the industry, he hopes to apply to graduate school to pursue higher education.

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “You can achieve anything if you're willing to work for it! Never back down from a challenge that you want to pursue. Also, talk to your professors as much as possible. Forming connections with them is not only helpful while in classes, but it also teaches you how to form connections further down the road as well as help you remain invested in the material.”

Yue (Amanda) Yao

Honors Mathematics
Ningbo, Zhejiang, China

Yue was inspired to pursue a Mathematics degree because of its simple beauty and clear process. Among some of her favorite courses taken here at the University of Michigan are Math 465, and Math 425. She particularly enjoyed her courses taken with Professor Stephen DeBacker (wait for his joke!). Outside of Math, Yue enjoys photography, playing the piano, and cooking. After graduation she plans on pursuing an MS in CS or in MFin in Financial Engineering.

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Enjoy your journey!”

Antareeksh Deb

Pure Mathematics
Johns Creek, GA

Antareeksh came to Michigan originally thinking he would major in Economics. However plans changed when, through his struggle to excel in Math 215 he realized how much he enjoyed the content. He decided to major in Pure Math with hopes of someday becoming a professor! Math 217 was one of the courses that Antareeksh enjoyed the most - while difficult, it confirmed that he was a capable future Michigan Mathematician. Outside of Math and academics, Antareeksh enjoys cooking, running, Michigan and Atlanta Sports, and acting! After graduation, he plans on continuing his studies to be able to teach the future students and practitioners of mathematics and really shape the culture of a field!

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors:  “People think you either "get math" or you don’t, but I know first hand that being good at math is a matter of how much you practice and how much support you have from a mentor. Try to avoid using language in classes that might ostracize individuals (i.e. "this result is obvious"). Recognizing that others may not know the same level of math as you can prime you to help others, which fosters a collaborative environment and gives others the confidence to ask questions without fear of judgement. Math is like a team sport - every mathematician is on the same team and they are up against the newest problems in the different fields of math. Everyone, including you, has valuable insight into a problem (however much it may be) that could determine whether a solution is found or not. I think reminding yourself of that can be useful in combating impostor syndrome."

Skyler Hardt

Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management
Saline, MI

As an adult Skyler has found joy in running, baking, and traveling, but her love for Math started much earlier. As a child Skyler thrived in her math courses, so much that her parents were not surprised in the slightest when she decided to pursue a degree in Mathematics. Among some of her favorite courses taken here at the University of Michigan are Math 425 and Math 525. But let us not forget the joys of extracurricular experiences - being in the stadium while everyone sings Mr. Brightside on football gamedays is one of Skyler’s favorite memories! After graduation she plans on starting as a data science consultant at KPMG in NYC!
A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Being a Math Major who knows how to code makes it super easy to get a great job offer!”

K. Faryab Haye

Mathematical Sciences: Discrete & Algorithmic Methods
Karachi, Pakistan

K. Faryab was first drawn to Mathematics for it’s objectivity. Principles of Analysis (Math 351) and Introduction to Combinatorics (Math 465) have been two of his favorite courses to participate in here at the University of Michigan. But it was watching the HAILStorm Laser Show live, projected on Rackham Amphitheater at the UM200 Fall Festival his freshmen year that proved to be the most breathtaking experience during his time with us (For those who missed it: After graduation, K. Faryab will be starting the SUGS Computer Science & Engineering Masters Program here at the U of M!

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Math at Michigan is hard. You're not the only one struggling, we have all gone through the imposter syndrome!”


Words of Advice to Prospective Math Majors

“Be open to taking classes that pique your interest because college is a wonderful time to explore all your passions.”

Jiazhen Yang, Class of 2021 - Actuarial Mathematics

“Never be afraid to ask questions. Some of your peers will be extremely intelligent - don't forget you are too! You may feel like you're slowing the class down, but odds are you aren't alone in needing help!”

Joseph Minnella, Class of 2021 - Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Physics

“If you feel you are not doing well in a math class, do not question your intelligence. Find a professor who fits your learning style and retake the course.”

Isaac Deng, Class of 2021  -  Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management

“Go to office hours, and be as honest and genuine with your professors as you can. It'll make the class material way more engaging for you and your prof can customize your learning experience a lot better.”

Marianne DeBrito, Class of 2021  -  Pure Mathematics

"Anyone can be a mathematician as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort required. You know yourself better than anyone else- if you want to major in math, don't let anyone dissuade you. Remember that it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Taking on a challenging major is going to be difficult and will definitely push you. Go to office hours if you have problems and try to make friends with people in your classes, so you have a strong support system."

Marisa O'Gara,  Class of 2021  -  Mathematical Sciences: Discrete & Algorithmic Methods

“The classes that math majors take are very different from those you take in high school or even in the calculus sequence. Join a math club. Watch youtube videos. Learn math outside of school. That's the best way to see what the subject has to offer and to know if it's right for you.”

Christopher Rose, Class of 2021  -  Pure Mathematics

“Challenge yourself and keep moving. Discuss problems with your peers and professors!”

Rui Dong, Class of 2021  -  Honors Mathematics

“About 90% of all the problems I've ever been stuck on have been solved by taking a break, going for a walk, and returning to it later with a clear head. I think this applies to any discipline. When the work gets tough, take a step back and clear your mind, it's more helpful than you think.”

Faustas Udrenas, Class of 2021 - Pure Mathematics

“Prepare well! Math can be hard.”

Ziyu He, Class of 2021 - Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management

“Don’t worry - notations on the chalkboard looked like a bunch of scribbles at first to me too. There is nothing more important I've learned in college than making the overwhelmingly complicated into something manageable and simple. There is nowhere that has taught me that skill better than my math classes.”

Charlie Butz, Class of 2021 - Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Economics

“Don't take calculus at a community'll regret it!”

Parmida Davarmanesh, Class of 2021 - Honors Mathematics

“Get involved in math extracurriculars! Student Actuaries at Michigan was so helpful to me as I figured out what career to pursue after graduation.”

Emily Coffield, Class of Fall 2020 - Actuarial Mathematics