Jeremy Chiu, MSc (’15)

Unusual teaching opportunities during his Master’s at SFU set Chiu up for a career instructing at the post-secondary level.

Jeremy Chiu completed his MSc in Applied and Computational Mathematics at SFU. He focused on the mathematical modelling and computation simulation of honey bee clusters to determine how they survive sub-zero temperatures. “The problem is that collecting data is pretty difficult. Even if you can determine the outside temperature, you don’t know exactly where the bees are inside the swarm and you don’t know how warm it is inside,” Chiu explains. He used a mathematical model and ran simulations to inform his research.

During the first year of his Master’s, Chiu had the opportunity to teach a 250-student undergraduate calculus class at SFU. “The department took a leap of faith on me because I didn’t have my graduate degree yet. They gave me an opportunity that I am so thankful for. That teaching experience helped me secure my current position,” says Chiu.

In addition to teaching opportunities, the SFU Mathematics department also gave a sense of comradery and community. “Every professor wanted to go out of their way to find contacts for you or help you with your work. Even professors you’d never taken a course with were nice enough to walk you through problems,” he says. Though Chiu was interested in teaching since high school, he discovered during his Master’s that he wanted to teach at a university level.  

Currently an instructor at Langara College, he teaches calculus and precalculus classes. “My MSc at SFU helped prepare me for the questions I get from students. They ask things that are beyond the textbook, and that’s when all my coursework and experience in applied mathematics in my Master’s comes in.”

Jeremy won first place at in the Three Minute Thesis Competition at SFU in 2015.