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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.

Andrew Ghattass

Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Economics
Bay Area, California

Andrew’s decision to pursue a mathematics degree was influenced by his passion for developmental economics. He really enjoyed courses like Math 351 (Principles of Analysis) and Math 425 (Intro Probability) because they are so applicable to Computer Science and Economics classes. During his time here, Andrew has been a member of the BLiSS Team - in Fall 2019 the team got to take a picture with the NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and walk on the football field during halftime in the home game against Notre Dame! Outside of Math, Andrew loves the outdoors; he enjoys hiking, sports, and farming. After graduation he plans on living in Egypt, and conducting research in developmental economics with an emphasis on agricultural development and international trade development.

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Although many math classes may seem very difficult at the beginning, persevere and it will get better.”

Ilana Young

Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management
Roslyn, NY

Ilana always loved and excelled at Math, so it was not a difficult decision to make when she declared her Math Major. Among her favorite courses here are Math 316 (Differential Equations), and Math 472 (Numerical Financial Analysis). Outside of Math, Ilana enjoys cooking, painting, and playing sports. Some of her favorite memories of her time at UMICH are from the unplanning late nights spent hanging out with close friends and learning more about the people who have been so integral in her life. After graduation, Ilana plans to travel to Japan with her whole family and find a job that she enjoys waking up for each morning.


A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: "It is hard but by the end of the 4 years all your hard work and perseverance will pay off. ALSO, if you want to go abroad with the major plan out your schedule as early as possible"

John McCartney

Mathematical Sciences: Discrete & Algorithmic Methods
Jackson, MI

John cannot remember a time that he wasn't interested in math. During his first two years at UM he was initially intimidated by undergraduate level math and shied away from proof based math, but after taking MATH 217 (Linear Algebra) he fell back in love and declared a Math Major! Outside of math, John enjoys playing guitar, chess, video games, cooking, running, nature, and flying. His favorite memory of his time here at UMICH is of his first home football game, his sophomore year. It was the MSU game under the lights, and it was pouring rain! The speakers started blaring Mr. Brightside throughout the stadium, but it stopped suddenly. The entire stadium continued singing the song - “it just felt surreal!” After graduation, John will be moving to Chicago to start his career in tech consulting with Credera!

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone with math! Don't sell yourself short of what you are capable of achieving. Anyone can do math! Be open to trying new and foreign things. Be open to failure. You may just find what you love doing.”

Alexander Vidinas

Honors Mathematics
Bloomfield Hills, MI

Alexander first experienced mathematical proofs during his freshman year when he took Math 185 with Professor Scott Schnieder. While difficult, the positive learning environment and his interest in the subject inspired him to pursue more mathematics courses. Among some of his favorite UM Math courses have been Math 590, Math 465, and Math 395/396. Outside of Math, Alexander is a member of the Ballroom Dance Team on campus; he also enjoys painting and playing the ukulele! After graduation he plans on pursuing a PhD in Math with a focus on Algebraic Combinatorics.

 

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “Reach out to your classmates! Having a stable group of students to collaborate with in my math courses allowed me to make the most of the material. Over the years, I’ve found that different students retain different concepts from the lecture, and coming together to discuss and work through material helps to expand the understanding of the group as a whole.”

 

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."

Words 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.”

Ishpreet Kohli, Class of 2021 - Actuarial Mathematics

“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."

Antareeksh Deb, Class of 2021 - Pure Mathematics

“Being a Math Major who knows how to code makes it super easy to get a great job offer!”

Skyler Hardt, Class of 2021 - Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management

“Math at Michigan is hard. You're not the only one struggling, we have all gone through the imposter syndrome!”

K. Faryab Haye, Class of 2021 - Mathematical Sciences: Discrete & Algorithmic Methods

“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 college...you'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