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Fellow Math Majors Inspire Micah Henson to Shoot for the Stars and Beyond

November 2016

Micah HensonMicah Henson is a senior mathematics major at Spelman College. Henson is also the chief justice of the Student Government Association and President of the AWM Math Club.

Here, she shares her journey through mathematics from her perspective:

1. What inspired you to major in mathematics?
I did not have a good reason for choosing to major in math. So, it is kind of serendipitous that I love it so much. I love that so much of our world can be explained and modeled using mathematics. Math is literally everywhere!

2. What are your short-term and long-term career goals? How do you plan to

use your skills to impact change in your chosen field? I plan to go to graduate school for a PhD in Applied Mathematics. After graduate school I would like to work in industry or at a government lab so that I can continue to do math research.

3. Please describe any internship, research or study abroad experiences you
have had while at Spelman. How (if at all) did these experiences further
convince you to pursue your chosen career?
I participated in the G-STEM program the summer after my sophomore year; and traveled to the University of Glasgow, Scotland where I completed a research project in applied math. This was my first time conducting math research, and it inspired me to apply for the math Research and Mentorship program last year so I can complete another project.

I am still in the program and I am studying mathematical climate models. This past summer while at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California, I completed a research project entitled the "Sandpile Group of a Thick-Cycle Graph" along with two students from other universities. I love each of the projects that I have worked on and that is what has convinced me to apply for Ph.D. programs in math.

4. What resonates with you most about the film "Hidden Figures"?
I love that these women's stories are finally being told to the general public. They inspire me to keep studying math.

5. What person has had the biggest influence upon you as it relates to your
interest in mathematics?
All of my professors at Spelman and my fellow math majors have had huge influences on me. My professors encourage and challenge me to think. I love to be challenged and that is what keeps me interested in math.

Furthermore, I have been to different math conferences and spoken with people in the field, and the majority of people do not look like me. Having the ability to study math in a room full of Black women is a powerful and unique experience that I will miss when I graduate.

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