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Our alumni go on to have fulfilling careers in academia and industry.
We put together a collection of interviews with our recent undergraduate alumni. Explore the future endeavours your education in mathematics can set you up for.
Trainor’s hands-on research experience, supported by grants from NSERC USRA, set her up for a promising graduate career in harmonic analysis.
Charlotte Trainor did her honours undergraduate degree in Mathematics at SFU. She completed her thesis on algebraic geometry and discrete math. “I really enjoyed the research element of my undergraduate,” she says. “I did an NSERC USRA and I spent the summer working on a research problem. It’s kind of fun when your job is to sit and think all day. When you get stuck on things, it can be frustrating but then when you make some headway, it’s extremely rewarding and really exciting,” she says.
Trainor also enjoyed the upper level courses in the department. “The class size gets smaller and you get to know the other math students a lot better. In some of the classes, the professors taught at a pretty high level and treated us like graduate students,” she says.
Currently, Trainor is at UBC working towards her MSc in Mathematics. She’s taking classes and working as a teaching assistant. “I’ve started research with my supervisor, but the more intense thesis work will come later on. I’m working in harmonic analysis,” she explains.
Trainor says she came into the Master’s program well prepared because she gained research experience in her undergrad. “I was pretty lucky. The Math Department at SFU gave me an opportunity in my first year and then I did research the following two summers as well. I haven't found the transition into graduate school too difficult,” she says. After her Master’s Trainor is considering continuing on to a PhD.
Michelle Leung, BSc (’13), Digital Web Analytics Lead at BCLC
Leung’s mathematics background and real-world experience in civic operations helped her land a job right after graduation.
Michelle Leung did a double major in operations research and economics at SFU. “With operations research, I took a lot of math, statistics, and computer science courses,” she says. In her upper-level courses, Leung did project work that applied what she learned in school to real-world scenarios. “I worked on the Cambie and Broadway intersection optimization on traffic lights. It was one of the projects that was selected for the student paper competition. That year, the first prize and second prizes were both won by SFU,” she says.
During her studies Leung created the Operations Research Student Union, and acted as president. “When I first joined it was a fairly new program and at that time I went through the steps to get the student association to become a student union. We organized gatherings and published a journal, which gathers student papers,” she explains.
Currently, Leung is a Digital Web Analytics Lead at BCLC. “My role is embedded within the business intelligence department where I focus mainly on web behaviour and optimization. Having an analytics background helps me when I discuss the issues with our clients,” she says. “I went into the workforce pretty much immediately after I graduated. I moved into web analytics with no real idea what it was, but the company gave me an opportunity to grow based on my mathematics background,” says Leung.