Name: Jake Farinholt
Year Graduated: 2009
First Job: Mathematician for the Navy
I enjoyed all of the math courses I took as an undergraduate, but I did like the pure math courses the best (algebra, analysis, topology, complex variables, etc).
Memorable Experiences in the Classroom:
Between Dr. Helmstutler’s bowties, Dr. Mellinger’s bluegrass, Dr. Chaing’s lectures on how to become a “spider mathematician,” and Dr. Collier’s discussions on math pick-up lines (to name a few), I could not even begin to decide on favorite experiences. One of the most attractive aspects of the department, in my opinion, is the wide range of personalities and teaching styles present. All the professors do, however, have one thing in common, and that is the desire for their students to learn. Unlike the many research-driven colleges out there, Mary Washington stands out in its focus on the students.
Memorable Experiences Outside the Classroom:
The best experience was the two-semester long independent study I did under Dr. Mellinger in error-correcting codes. This independent study gave me the opportunity to do more than just study out of a textbook – I got to do real research and discover new results, as well as present the results at multiple conferences. I would strongly encourage any math major to participate in some sort of independent research – you’ll be amazed at how much is still not known!
Why Should Somebody Study Mathematics at UMW?
Not only is the department full of wonderful and memorable professors, but the program prepares you for a wide range of job opportunities, ranging from research and academia to industry. And having gone through the job interview process myself, I can honestly say that employers tend to think very highly of graduates of the UMW math department.