What have you done after graduating from Bryn Mawr?
Hello! My name is Sarah (or SHockley, as I was called at the Mawr) and I graduated in 2011. After that, I got my M.S. in biology and am now in my last year of medical school at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine and am hoping to go into emergency medicine.
How does math connect with your current occupation?
I had thought that, at this point in my education, the raised eyebrows and grimaces would be over when I told people I majored in mathematics. However, whenever we need to calculate drug doses or infusion rates, or we're analyzing new research studies, everyone turns to me to make sense of the graphs and numbers. What they may not realize is that it's more than just being able to make sense of the Michaelis Menten equations or drug half lives; having a math degree, and particularly at Bryn Mawr, means I know how to think through problems.
How did your math experience at Bryn Mawr prepare you for your current position and for life after Bryn Mawr?
I'm not intimidated when I come to a dead-end; rather, I'm able to use logic and deductive reasoning to find an alternative path to arrive at a solution, just like in calculus or abstract algebra. I can organize my life and my work into achievable goals like parts of a larger equation. I can articulate treatment plans to patients and explain my differential diagnosis work up in my charting as if I'm writing a proof. Being a mathematician means so much more than being a human calculator; it's a frame of mind and approach to challenges that defines our expertise.
Do you have any memories of the Bryn Mawr Math Department that you would like to share with current students and/or prospective students?
Math is the purest of all the sciences, but the skills you hone as a math major can be applied in all aspects of life. More than theorems and lemmas, the BMC Math department taught me to think for myself but not to be ashamed to ask for help. Between reading Shakespeare, late nights at Park, tea parties in the lounge, and colorful diagrams on office chalkboards, my time with the professors encompass some of my fondest memories at Bryn Mawr.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective math majors?
If you are considering math for your major (or even your minor) I wholeheartedly encourage you to consider the wonderful tools you will acquire and hone in our department. It may make the social science, humanities, and even some of the other science majors shudder, but that just means you will always be admired and needed, since mathematics is something not many people can do. At least, that's what people tell me!