Overcoming the Challenges of Grad School: An International Student’s Perspective

As a graduate student in mathematics, I would like to tell you my story about the major challenges that I have faced during my graduate studies in mathematics and how I overcame these challenges to make my success happen. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Mohammed Kaabar and I am from Gaza Strip. I studied a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at American University of Sharjah and Washington State University, respectively. Next, I started my graduate studies as a Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics at Washington State University (WSU). Continue reading “Overcoming the Challenges of Grad School: An International Student’s Perspective” »

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Announcing a New Editor! You could be next…

We are pleased to announce that Alexi Hoeft will be filling a brand new leadership position on this blog as our Managing Editor! In addition to her stellar blogging about Having a Great Math Staycation and other topics, Alexi will be helping us out behind the scenes.   Alexi is second-year math PhD student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, studying analysis and partial differential equations while TA’ing multivariable calculus.  Thanks, Alexi, and welcome!

We are always looking for new editors and contributors for the blog so if writing about something for the math grad student community sounds like fun, let us know by using the contact form below!

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Interview with Julie Blackwood


Blackwood tells Herrera about her experience with mathematics and ecology.

How did you get interested in applying mathematics to ecology?

When I was applying for college, I had to apply to a major before I went to college. I was looking through the majors, and I saw applied math, and I thought, “Not bad. Check.” Later my professor said, “Well, why don’t you think about applications of math to biology?” When I went to grad school, I tried out neurobiology, microbial biology, and molecular biology, and finally ecology again and loved it.

Did you do any research as an undergraduate?

Yes. When I was an undergrad, I did two REUs [Research Experiences for Undergraduates]. The first one was based on immunology. I took a class and did some research on a topic. The following summer I was in the Math and Theoretical Biology Institute, where I studied spatial spread of influenza. That was my first encounter with math and ecology. That’s what planted the seed in my head, but it took me a while to determine that I wanted to pursue it.

Continue reading “Interview with Julie Blackwood” »

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Hats, Parties, and Driving Cars (Mathematical Puzzles/Riddles, Part III)

Hi, and happy (late) new year! The holidays are drawing to a close (or have already closed) and classes are starting (or have already started). In case you don’t want to think about all of that, here are some more neat puzzles/riddles on the usual subjects (hats, etc.) Enjoy!

Continue reading “Hats, Parties, and Driving Cars (Mathematical Puzzles/Riddles, Part III)” »

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Making the Transition from Liberal Arts to Graduate School

When I started graduate school, I found myself in an unexpected minority: I was the only student in my cohort of 12 who had gotten my math major at a small liberal arts college. Everyone else had gone to a university, and many had already taken graduate level courses.

I had never questioned my decision to study math at a liberal arts institution. I loved the fact that my classmates and friends (and professors!) had such varied interests, such as the classics, philosophy, music, and art, and that these subjects were often woven together into interdisciplinary courses. I appreciated my small classes that fostered conversation with classmates and close contact with professors. I didn’t realize what I could have benefited from at a larger school: a deeper pool of math classes (at the undergraduate and graduate levels) from which to choose, as well as graduate students who I could look up to, learn from, and emulate.

Continue reading “Making the Transition from Liberal Arts to Graduate School” »

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