SFU UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT 2008-2013, MATHEMATICS HONOURS | CURRENTLY PURSUING HIS MASTER'S DEGREE AT SFU IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS | NSERC Project: Why Don't Honeybees Freeze in Winter? (Supervisors: John Stockie & JF Williams)
My undergraduate degree in the math department here at SFU was absolutely incredible. In fact, so incredible that I decided to stay for another 2 years after graduation to do my Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics. What stands out for me is how helpful the teaching staff are. Professors and lecturers essentially always extended their helping hand to me - even when I didn't ask for it, and even for classes I wasn't doing too well in. Time and again professors I spoke with made suggestions that would help me develop as a mathematician, whether it was about potential research with them; potential research with another professor; recommended books or articles; job openings in the math department and elsewhere; or even how to brew my coffee better. Furthermore, the math departments teaching assistants are the best any university could offer.
The math department also offers many chances for undergraduate to become engaged in higher level math. Math Outside The Box is a great way to see the interesting applications mathematics can have, and funded opportunities like co-op and NSERC-USRAs are a great way to make income while developing your CV.
My NSERC-USRA in the summer of 2013 was important to my growth. A really big part of mathematics is about research, which is certainly a daunting task for someone who has never done it before. The NSERC-USRA gave me a chance to explore what research is all about under the supervision of people who know how to do research - professors. A great bonus is that USRAs are funded, so one could consider doing a USRA rather than co-op. USRAs also give students a chance to develop connections in the department, and the chance to meet faculty. I would like to highlight that the 2 supervisors I had during my USRA are my current supervisors.