Daniel Thompson ’15
I knew very early on in my life that I wanted to study math in college. From doing math workbooks for fun as a little kid to reading about the different types of infinities during high school, the subject has always intrigued me. That said, I was aware of how common it is for students to completely change academic courses during college, and I was more than open to the prospect. But my first few classes were more than I could have asked for: in addition to the already fascinating mathematics, I was immediately engaged by the energy and charisma of the professors and the spirited community of the classroom. I went to mentor sessions not only to work on homework but also to see my classmates, often sticking around well after I finished that week’s problem set just to hang out with and talk to them.
One thing that continues to surprise me about the math department is just how many subjects it really comprises. Each of the four tracks (General, Pure, Applied, and Statistics) has its own particular flavor, its own set of students. This means that, even in an ostensibly uniform “Mathematics” department, there’s a wide range of people and of interests—the thesis presentations this year, for example, vary from topics in the fundamentals of set theory to explorations of math education, from tasks like interpreting big data to my own work extending Knot Theory to the study of mathematical graphs.
While I’m still primarily driven, then, by a love for math as a subject, my membership in the math department has allowed me to explore that love while being a part of a larger math community of students and professors, a community for which I’m infinitely (and I don’t use that word lightly) grateful.