Profiles of Students in the Department

Name: Rebecca Paul
Major: Honors Mathematics
First math class at Swarthmore: Honors Linear Algebra

Question: What was your favorite math class and why?
Rebecca: I have too many to count. Some include Modern Algebra, Real Analysis and Discrete Mathematics. Great professor and/or really interesting material, depending on which class.

Question: What do you think were the advantages and/or disadvantages of having decided to be a math/stat person at Swarthmore? Why did you decide to go honors?
Rebecca: The department is amazingly friendly, and I feel really at home in the department. Not to mention the number of good professors and other interesting students. At Swarthmore, it is unlikely that someone who was a top math student in high school will continue to stand out. While this is a little discouraging, sometimes, it is also wonderful to have mathematically inclined peers from whom one can learn. The only disadvantage is the minimal number of applied math courses (stat courses, diff-eq, and courses in other departments being the only ones offered).

I want the best preparation for graduate school I can get [and] honors, with seminars and external examiners, seems like the best way to get it.

Question: What summer research experiences have you had?
Rebecca: Last summer, I worked at Lucent Technologies doing Computer Science/Math research. It was a great way to see how some of the most abstract CS and math ideas (finite automata and abstract algebra) can be used in a practical way (ensuring that computer programs do what they are supposed to do). This summer I will be working for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Joint Program for Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.

Question: Where do you see yourself off to after graduate school?
Rebecca: Graduate school in math or statistics (as well as a field to apply it to, like economics), and then research.


Name:Feng He
Major: Math and Computer Science (possibly honors)
First math class at Swarthmore: Honors Linear Algebra

Question: What was your favorite math class and why?
Feng: Honors Linear Algebra. The materials in the course is well structured. The professor (Prof Maurer) is very enthusiastic, and teaches well.

Question: What do you think were the advantages and/or disadvantages of having decided to be a math/stat person at Swarthmore? Why did you decide to go honors?
Feng: I think the profs here are great. They love teaching and can do it well.

Honors is a challenge in itself. Also, by preparing for the honors exam, I am hopeful the materials I studied in 4 years will come together to form a bigger picutre.

Question: What summer research experiences have you had?
Feng: I had a research experience while a junior in high school. It's related to Math/CS. I studied with a professor at National university of Singapore. Students from various countries in Aisa and Australia participated in the program. At the end of the program, each gave an oral presentation of his findings.

Question: Where do you see yourself off to after graduation?
Feng: In grad school, and eventaully be doing research in CS.


Name: Catherine Vanderwaart
Major: Honors Mathematics
Minor: Philosophy
First math class at Swarthmore: Calculus IIB

Question: What was your favorite math class and why?
Catherine: [It was] Math 85. It's a small class and the material (Fourier Analysis and wavelets) is really interesting. Also, it's my first really advanced math course, so it's quite a challenge, but the prof is very willing to help me out and make sure I understand everything.

Question: Tell me whatever you wish to share about your experiences as a math/stat person.
Catherine: I've found the professors in the department to be very nice and helpful and the courses to be reasonably challenging but not impossible. The other students in my classes are usually very friendly and willing to work on problem sets together, help each other study for exams, and things like that.

Question: What do you think were the advantages and/or disadvantages of having decided to be a math/stat person at Swarthmore? Why did you decide to go honors?
Catherine: The math department is very friendly and easygoing, and the profs are all very approachable. It's also a more women-friendly department than math departments at some schools seem to be. The Honors preparations seem like they will really let me focus on specific areas, and tie everything all together at the end of my four years, instead of just taking a random collection of 10 classes.

Question: Where do you see yourself off to after graduation?
Catherine: I'm not really sure, though I may consider grad school in math.


Name: Ursula Whitcher
Major: Honors Mathematics
Minor: Latin
First math class at Swarthmore: Modern Algebra

Question: What was your favorite math class and why?
Ursula: I've enjoyed all of them.

Question: What do you think were the advantages and/or disadvantages of having decided to be a math/stat person at Swarthmore? Why did you decide to go honors?
Ursula: Honors was a natural choice, since I'm taking seminars as a sophomore anyway.

Question: What summer research experiences have you had?
Ursula: I haven't done research as such, but I've done a lot of work for the Math Forum writing answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and a set of pages on graphing for kids in elementary school through early high school: http://www.mathforum.com/cgraph/.

Question: Where do you see yourself off to after graduation?
Ursula: Grad school!