Our Mathematics students live, learn and grow with us. Their achievements never cease to amaze us, and without fail - year after year - we are proud to see them succeed in our program and move on to brilliant futures. Our Student Spotlight gives you insights into who these bright students are, and how Mathematics has shaped them.

## Adam Earnst

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2023

West Lafayette, IN

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I play the cello, and I'm a member of the Campus Symphony Orchestra. I also love going on hikes, bike rides, and doing just about anything outdoors (which is a great mind-refresher if I ever feel stuck on a math problem).

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I was drawn to advanced math for its combination of logic and creativity. I also just loved playing around with numbers growing up, so mathematics seemed to be the perfect choice for me.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

My favorite math class here was probably math 575 (number theory). It was so rewarding to rigorously study a subject that can be appreciated by people with pretty much any level of math background.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

Going to the OSU football game this past year was amazing (2021) - it was amazing to see everyone rushing the field through the snow after we won!

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Go to office hours! It takes time to understand math, and that's okay. My professors have always been happy to explain concepts I didn't understand. One specific tip - people think in very different ways when it comes to math. If there is something that your professor thinks is obvious, don't be afraid to probe deeper. Doing so has given me some great mathematical intuition that I otherwise would've never gained.

## Akash Narayanan

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2023

Rochester Hills, Michigan

**What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?**

I really enjoy playing chess competitively and have been doing so for around ten years. I also enjoy playing the violin and playing Mario Kart with my sister.

**What inspired you to major in Mathematics?**

I’ve always liked math and I especially love explaining math concepts to others. I also really enjoyed my freshman-year math courses, which convinced me to major in math.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

One of my favorite math courses was Math 295, which was my first introduction to proof-writing. While the course was very difficult, the supportive and collaborative learning environment helped me understand the material and encouraged me to major in math. I also really enjoyed Math 396; the material was very interesting and working with others on homework was always fun.

**What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?**

One of my favorite memories is going to the math walking club. I also really enjoy helping out with Super Saturdays.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Try to collaborate with your classmates! I find that discussing the concepts and homework with others reinforces my understanding of the material. Relating to this, explaining a concept to others almost always strengthens my own understanding of the material. Attending office hours is also a great way to clarify the material.

I also recommend starting homework as soon as possible after it is assigned; this will give you a few days to think through each problem, especially those that are particularly challenging. Sometimes, you may come up with a solution to a difficult problem even when you are doing something else completely unrelated to math.

## Andrew Keisling

*Honors Mathematics*

#### Class of 2023

DeWitt, Michigan

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I love to play games, especially "Settlers of Catan" and "Dungeons and Dragons". I also enjoy playing the trumpet.

**What inspired you to major in Mathematics?**

My grandfather is a former math professor, and he has shared his passion for math with me throughout my life by giving me puzzles and coaching my high school math team. With the love of math that he gave me, I have decided that I would like to become a math professor too!

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

I have most enjoyed the abstract algebra sequence (Math 493 and 494). When we were able to use the power of group theory to study the properties of polynomials and fields via Galois theory, I was amazed by how much mileage we were able to get from a few simple correspondences. I fell in love with algebra and have been pursuing it ever since.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

One of my favorite memories has been all the Thursday evenings spent working with the middle schoolers and high schoolers in Math Circle. Especially this year, when we have gone back to working in person, it has been so fun to explore math with these students and see how their minds work!

**What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?**

I will be pursuing a math Ph.D. at UC Berkeley starting in the fall.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Learn to work with others, and don't be afraid to ask for help! Doing math on your own can be frustrating at times, and everyone can benefit from bouncing ideas off each other.

## Cameron Haynes

*Mathematical Sciences - Mathematical Biology*

Class of 2023

Stevensville, MI

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

-Reading

-Watching Telugu and Bollywood movies

-Coding

-Pickleball

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I first got interested in a deeper role in the Math department when I noticed that I was having a lot of fun when working on a problem set with people from my class. I met some of my best friends through working on a homework together, and once I experienced that kind of atmosphere, I didn't want to give it up. Plus, I've always felt somewhat incompetent when it comes to math, so I wanted to challenge myself and become more qualified for a career in science.

**What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?**

*I loved MATH 185 because it was my first introduction to proof-based math and James Heffers made class a really fun environment. We got to review all the old concepts from calculus and see them in a totally new light as we worked through the logic that underlay them.*

My other favorite class was definitely MATH 490 with Sarah Koch. I just felt like I learned so much through Sarah's mini-lectures at the beginning of class, and I was also able to stay more engaged during class because it was an IBL class and I could work on problems with my friends. But a great part of my love for the class stemmed from how cool topology is, and 490 was a great opportunity to learn it from basic principles, offering a lot of wisdom on proper proof strategy and technique along the way.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

That's a really hard question to answer, but here are three really good memories all relating to the Math department:

1. Staying up late working with a friend on a research project for MATH 389 and making a breakthrough.

2. Doing mini-chalk talks with some friends on our summer research.

3. Getting snow cones from Carol at Walking Club.

**What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?**

Lord willing, I'll get to do some full-time research on math modeling in phage therapy right here in Ann Arbor for a year. Then, I plan on pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics or Microbiology; hopefully, I'll eventually find a career somewhere and cease being a student, but until then, I'm happy to keep learning.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Lean into the people around you and always find some people in each of your classes to work with on problems or converse with about your day. We're unlikely to remember everything we learned in each of our classes here, but our need for soft skills will be lifelong, and the friendships you can make in the department can make your life wonderful in the present and the future.

## Cassie Prokopowicz

*Honors Mathematics*

#### Class of 2023

#### Oak Park, IL

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

Playing the viola, fashion, woodworking, working with youth, linguistics (my other major)

**What inspired you to major in Mathematics?**

I knew I wanted to teach math, either as a professor or high school teacher, so I decided to major in math and decide which education path to pursue after taking more math classes

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

I loved math 295 and 296, even though the material was so hard, because the community we formed in that class was really collaborative and fun. That community was especially important to me once the pandemic hit, as we spent a lot of time chatting playing online games together when there was not much else to do. I made a lot of friends in that class and learned so much about many areas of math, how to collaborate with others, and how much of a difference having a great educator can make. I also really enjoyed the material in math 465 and math 590, I felt like I really understood the concepts in those classes and enjoyed working on the problem sets.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

It's hard to pick one favorite memory. I think most of my favorite math memories can be categorized as times where I was working with friends on a problem set, often at a professor's office hours, while taking lots of breaks to talk about other stuff and laugh together. Outside of math, I live in a cooperative house and I have made so many wonderful memories with many amazing friends there.

**What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?**

Starting this June I will be in a year-long program at Michigan to get an MA in Secondary Education with a teaching certificate. After that I plan to be a high school math teacher!

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Make friends in your math classes and work on your homework with them! It is so much more fun to do math with a friend, and you will learn a lot more by collaborating with others. Get involved in the department -- you can find ways to do this in the Math Missive emails! It is another great way to make friends. Finally, math is really hard, so make sure to give yourself a break sometimes! Don't overwork yourself; make sure you leave enough time to get some good sleep, hang out with friends, and enjoy your hobbies.

## Henry Fleischmann

*Honors Mathematics*

#### Class of 2023

Ann Arbor, Michigan

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

Board games and politics.

**What inspired you to major in Mathematics?**

I came into college completely undecided—my favorite subjects in high school were biology and history. But, I received a scholarship to study honors math and Stephen DeBacker scribbled “Hi :)” on the physical letter. That little touch led me down the rabbit hole of honors math of Michigan.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

Math 296, Math 465, and Math 493. I learned an enormous amount of new and exciting math in 296 and Sarah Koch is a particularly inspiring teacher. Math 465 introduced me to my favorite subfield, combinatorics. Math 493 showed me that group theory is absurdly powerful and made me ever more fascinated in applications of abstract algebra.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

I participated in three NSF REU programs, all supported by recommendation letters from my Michigan professors. These exposed me to research and helped me build an international network of math-inclined friends. During a program at Williams college, I began a hike up a mountain a little too late at night. As the sun was setting and we were still a few miles away from the bottom of the mountain, we realized that we were not on the trail we thought we were on… Just before making our way down in the darkness, we splashed around in a beautiful natural waterfall. Telling stories and hiking down a mountain in complete darkness is quite the bonding experience. One of my friends from the adventure is now a Michigan Math PhD student!

**What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?**

I am off to Cambridge for a masters in math next year. The following year I will start my PhD in theoretical computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Math is really hard. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and fail repeatedly. If you can muster the courage to fail and retain your excitement about the material, studying math is incredibly intellectually rewarding.

## Yu Shi

*Mathematical Sciences - Control Systems*

#### Class of 2023

#### China

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I don't think one page could include my hobbies. So I am going to list tip of the iceberg. Basketball, Golf, Swim, Table tennis, Snooker, Fishing, Bowling...Photographying, camping, Composing, Modern art, Pop Music, Movies.....

**What inspired you to major in Mathematics?**

When I finish the first proof problem in Math 217. I got a glimpsed of the mysterious color of math.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

Math 354. I love Professor Andrei, he is the collest professor I have ever seen.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

Working on math 217 problems as a team. Sometimes trashtalking/blameing the problems is funny.

**What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?**

Probably get a Masters degree at UMich.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Come and survive! Math is worthy!

## Dhruv Kulshreshtha

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2024

Bangalore, India

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I enjoy cooking, reading, watching sitcoms, and meeting new people. I have also recently started kayaking again, which has been a lot of fun.

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I believe that my interest in mathematics stemmed from my general inclination towards teaching and problem-solving. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed teaching; especially science and mathematics. I used to tutor my peers and juniors in high school, which not only helped them, but also helped me acquire a deeper knowledge of many concepts. I also like solving problems using various techniques; especially those that follow from other - seemingly unrelated - results. Seeing as how doing mathematics essentially boils down to constantly attempting to solve problems, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to see why I would enjoy it.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

In spite of the abnormally high workload and the constant homework assignments, I think Math 297 (an Honors Analysis class) was probably my favorite math class at U(M). As promised by the title, we were introduced to analysis, primarily on finite dimensional inner product spaces. However, this class also gave us our first taste of point-set topology, group theory, multilinear algebra, and many many other things. By the end of the class, not only had I learned a bunch of new math and typed out over 30 homeworks, but I had also attended the final in a onesie and made some great friends with whom I struggled throughout the semester. I also enjoyed Math 582 (Set Theory) and Math 571 (Numerical Linear Algebra), which were both relatively lighter in terms of the workload and covered a bunch of interesting topics.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

I don’t think it would be possible for me to pick a favorite memory, but some of my fondest memories so far include working for the math corps, kayaking with my friends and professors from the math department, trying new restaurants across Ann Arbor, hanging up Christmas ornaments in East Hall, TA-ing the proofs class, experiencing the peony garden in the spring, casually walking through a blizzard in the winter, and watching the OSU football game last fall.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Pursuing mathematics can be intimidating. Pretty much everyone I have spoken to has told me that they’ve experienced some level of imposter syndrome at some point in their mathematical careers. However, from my personal experience, the mathematical community is supportive, collaborative, understanding, and super tight-knit. Talking to seniors, going to office hours, and reaching out when you need help can go a long way. It can be especially hard to navigate a math major - while also dealing with the countless other things that one expects out of a college student - but as long as you know that you’re not alone, you’ll be perfectly fine.

## Miho Kasai

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2024

Tokyo, Japan

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I like going to museums!

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I decided to major in mathematics after taking a few math classes during my freshman year. I found it beautiful that every result is derived from a series of axioms, definitions and theories. Learning math was as if I were discovering a new world, and I wanted to explore more.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

I liked Math 575 because I was interested in Number Theory and Professor Kartik was a great teacher.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

The Morning Walking Club!

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Go to lectures and do homework.

## Julia Rehring

*Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Biology*

Class of 2025

Denver, CO

*Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Biology*

Class of 2025

Denver, CO

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I love thrifting, painting, reading, and doing anything outdoors (even just sitting outside). I'm also a big fan of whales, the show Jeopardy, and Moe's Bagels from Denver.

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I've always loved math my whole life and found it easier than other subjects, but was really inspired to pursue it as a career when I learned about Applied Mathematics and how so many things depend on and rely on mathematicians. I particularly became interested in Mathematical Biology when I learned how math was used to revolutionize how AIDS/HIV was treated in the 90s from Professor Steven Strogatz.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

I haven't been in the department too long, but so far have really enjoyed both 217 and 201 as they have given me a great chance to bond and learn from/with peers in a way I haven't experienced before.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

Definitely the Ohio State Game last fall (2021). So freaking cool!

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

There are a lot of cool math majors out there so make friends with them!

## Christine Mao

*Mathematics of Finance and Risk Management*

Class of 2025

Shenzhen, China

*Mathematics of Finance and Risk Management*

Class of 2025

Shenzhen, China

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I really like ice skating, traveling to different places, listening to music (Pop, R&B, and Kpop!), and playing badminton.

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

I was inspired to major in Mathematics by my fascination with the exactness and precision that math offers. The beauty of solving problems with clear, logical steps and arriving at indisputable answers has always appealed to me. I find joy in the rigor and structure of mathematical concepts, and I appreciate how they provide a framework for understanding and solving a wide range of problems. Additionally, the universality of mathematics across various disciplines and its role as a language of nature further motivated me to delve deeper into this field.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

One of the classes I've enjoyed the most in the department is Math 217. Despite its challenging, abstract, and proof-based nature, it provided an unforgettable experience. Constructing intricate proofs alongside classmates fostered a strong sense of collaboration, and the shared intellectual journey created close connections within the group. The class not only honed my analytical and problem-solving skills but also allowed for meaningful interactions with the instructor, enhancing my understanding of the material. The difficulty of Math 217 made the accomplishments and insights gained even more rewarding, making it a standout and enriching part of my academic journey.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

Definitely going to football games with my friends, especially night games! There's a special moment that stands out—when everyone comes together to sing "Mr. Brightside." It's a shared experience that encapsulates the joy and unity of college life, creating lasting memories that go beyond the excitement of the game itself. These moments of collective spirit and celebration are what make the college experience truly unforgettable for me.

**What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?**

I'm still exploring various paths but currently, but I'm particularly interested in pursuing a career in Quantitative Finance. One of my primary goals in my future career is to apply the knowledge and skills I've acquired at Michigan to real-world problem-solving. I am excited about the prospect of making a tangible impact with the expertise I've gained during my time at Michigan.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

For aspiring Math Majors, my advice is to foster curiosity and be well-prepared. Cultivate a genuine interest in the subject, exploring beyond the classroom to understand the practical applications and broader implications of mathematical concepts. Additionally, ensure a strong foundation in fundamental principles before tackling more advanced topics. Regular practice in problem-solving is key, as is effective time management. Embrace challenges with perseverance, and don't hesitate to seek help when needed. Enjoy the journey of continuous learning and discovery in the world of mathematics.

## Timothy Cheek

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2025

Ann Arbor, MI

*Honors Mathematics*

Class of 2025

Ann Arbor, MI

*What are your hobbies/interests (music, art, movies, etc.)?*

I like watching sports (soccer, football, hockey) and playing sports (soccer and tennis).

*What inspired you to major in Mathematics?*

Math 201 (Intro to Proofs) really opened my eyes to higher mathematics and abstract logical thinking. I enjoyed making formal arguments and just sitting back and thinking about math. I also appreciated working closely with the dedicated student TAs who shared their passion and knowledge for math.

*What classes have you enjoyed the most in the Math Department (and why)?*

I really enjoyed the honors algebra (Math 493-4) sequence; it helped formalize the intuition I gained from previously working with algebra and was refreshingly different from the usual thinking in calculus/analysis. Complex analysis (Math 596) was also really fun; pretty much everything nice that you'd want to happen does indeed work.

*What has been your favorite memory so far during your college experience?*

My favorite memories have come from math NSF REU programs (supported by recommendation letters from Michigan professors). Unsurprisingly, I really like math, so I found working on math all day, every day, for weeks with other people as passionate as you to be incredibly enjoyable. The added bonus was meeting more cool people when presenting my research and then running into the very same people as I progressed through college.

**What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?**

The hope is to enter a math PhD program.

*Do you have any advice for prospective Math Majors?*

Study in East Hall! Not only is the environment very math-y, but you'll likely run into your classmates. Working with friends makes homework a lot more fun, and you'll learn more helping each other. You can also snag free food from popcorn Thursdays, undergraduate tea time, etc.