Academics: Majors and Programs

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Spelman College Graduates with President Beverly Daniel Tatum

Mathematics Can Be a Tricky Concept (continued)

When a student majoring in mathematics enters Spelman College, she can expect to learn about more than just numbers. Rather, she can expect a well-rounded mathematics education that will prepare her for a range of careers, including medicine, dentistry, statistics, law, education, business and engineering. Departmental programs and activities provide opportunities for academic excellence and leadership development that enhances a liberal arts education.

Spelman is a top pipeline institution for African-American women who go on to earn doctorate degrees in mathematics.  Many students also pursue dual-degree engineering programs, through which they receive a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Spelman as well as an engineering degree from top-rated institutions such as Georgia Tech, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan.

Great Mentoring in Small Student-Teacher Ratio

For professors in the mathematics department, teaching students is their No. 1 priority. With a small student-teacher ratio, professors serve as mentors to students, guiding them both academically and professionally.

Colm Mulcahy, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, known for his use of card tricks, likes using cards to demonstrate mathematical applications.

“The mathematics behind the tricks uses ideas from areas as diverse as algebra, number theory, discrete math and probability and statistics,” said Professor Mulcahy.  “Whenever possible, I incorporate these card tricks into math classes at any level, regardless of the majors of the students in attendance, to illustrate an entertaining and less well-known application of math concepts.” 

Service is also a major component of the mathematics department. Students are often given the opportunity to serve as tutors to local elementary school students, helping them with mathematics and other homework assignments on a regular basis.

Be Whatever You Want to Be

As a prospective mathematics major, you, too, can look forward to following in the footsteps of other Spelman graduates who have used their math degrees to make significant contributions in mathematical arenas.  Many graduates gravitate toward careers in biostatistics, business, and technology, and Spelman students are no exception. Many have become successful educators, researchers, statisticians, medical doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and even members of the financial sector. Others seek careers in financial math and mathematical biology, while others prefer more traditional career paths such as pure math, math education and applied math.

A great example in business is Kim Barnette, Ph.D., president and CEO for Delta Decision of DC, an operations research consulting company.  The 1992 math graduate, along with partners Afi Davis Harrington, C'93, and Shree Whitaker Taylor, started DDD in 2006 after leaving the Center for Naval Analyses.