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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.

Jiazhen Yang

Actuarial Mathematics
Fort Lee, NJ

Jiazhen fell in love with Mathematics for its ability to explain so many of our questions about the world. She enjoys that feeling of accomplishment when finding solutions to real life problems using Math. Jiazhen appreciated taking MATH 424 with Professor Natarajan because he was able to explain the financial math concepts so well. After graduation she hopes to work in Actuarial Consulting, but she will always have fond memories of studying in the Math Atrium; working with classmates to complete homework assignments, playing ping pong, listening to the piano, and watching the sun set.

A word 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.”


Joseph Minnella

Mathematical Sciences: Mathematical Physics
Macomb, MI

Joseph first became interested in Mathematics because of his high school math teacher (shout out to Mr. Tapp!). His particular interest in theoretical physics drove him to major in Mathematics, and has allowed him to deepen his understanding of the field as a whole. Math 412: Modern Algebra is among one Joseph’s favorite courses here at UMICH. After graduation he plans on obtaining a PhD in physics! Outside of math, Joseph enjoys weight lifting and photography. One of his favorite memories here was being 2nd row at the Big House when Michigan upset Notre Dame 45-19 in 2019 - it poured rain the entire time!

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


Isaac Deng

Mathematics of Finance & Risk Management
Jingzhou, China

Isaac actually struggled with math in high school, but it was during that struggle that he developed a deeper appreciation for Mathematics. Through perseverance and dedication, Isaac has excelled in the field! After graduation he hopes to become a legal scholar. Outside of Math, Isaac enjoys caramel lattes from Bert’s and looking sharp in bespoke suits.

A word of advice to prospective Math Majors:“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.”

Marianne DeBrito

Pure Mathematics
Canton, MI

Marianne was inspired and encouraged by her Calc III professor to take up math research projects. After spending a summer in the UM-Dearborn Mathematics REU program in 2018, she decided to transfer to UM - Ann Arbor to major in Mathematics. She really enjoyed taking courses like Math 351, Log(M), for the hands-on experience. After graduation, Marianne plans on living somewhere warm and going to graduate school.
A word of advice to prospective Math Majors: “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.”


Words of Advice to Prospective Math Majors

"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