Current Position: Mathematics Instructor at Langara College
MSc in Applied Mathematics at Simon Fraser University (2016)
BSc in Mathematics at Simon Fraser University (2013)
My experiences in SFU’s math department has been absolutely incredible. My favorite part of the department is the community – both the faculty and the students have left a profound (positive) impact on my development as a mathematician and human being.
I find that the faculty in the math department treat graduate students quite well. I recall in my first class as a Master’s student, the professor asked us to share a little about ourselves, including what year we were in, what research topic, and which supervisor. One student said, “I work under Dr. _”, to which the professor responded, “No, you don’t work under him, you work with him.” This small interaction accurately reflects the mindset of the mathematics department – caring for their students, and always willing to go above and beyond to help.
The department also provides tangible opportunities. Conferences and workshops, including those abroad (or for me, Newfoundland, which is distant enough to be considered abroad), were frequently advertised with partial or full funding. My accommodations and transportation for every conference/workshop that I attended were fully covered by the department or by my supervisors.
I entered the Master’s program with the intention of teaching mathematics at a post-secondary level and realized that having experience as a course instructor can make a significant difference when applying for jobs. I applied to teach a course as a Master’s student (which is not common because institutions expect a minimum of a completed Master’s degree), hoping for a chance to teach a 30-person precalculus class. Despite my lacking credentials, the department allowed me to teach a 250-person calculus 1 class. This opportunity to teach a course, and subsequent courses at SFU, helped me land a full-time teaching load at my current workplace, Langara College.
Fellow students in the applied mathematics program were also very friendly and supportive. From homework-solving sessions every Monday-Thursday and weekly beers on Friday nights, I formed some of my best friendships with fellow graduate students. Most applied mathematics graduate students enroll in the same class and have a shared office space, which leads to a very tight-knit community. Everyone is always willing to help each other with homework or research, and the environment is nowhere near cutthroat or competitive. To date, I still meet with the graduate students for board game nights and barbeques.