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Mathematics

Overview of Program

Studying mathematics can open up new worlds. Mathematics, the "queen of the sciences," holds the key to understanding and solving many practical problems and is a beautiful and exciting subject on its own.

All mathematics majors at Hood take three semesters of workshop calculus, combining classroom and computer lab work. They go on to take courses in theoretical and applied, discrete and continuous mathematics. They can explore different kinds of mathematics such as graph theory or number theory, probability or operations research.

Some students choose to earn certification in secondary education, which enables them to teach mathematics in middle or high school after graduation. Some choose Hood's dual-degree program in engineering or a major in computational science. Others go on to graduate school or work for corporations or in government positions.

Why Major in Mathematics?

Studying mathematics prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Employers are eager to hire math majors because they know that math students have good analytical skills and are versatile, innovative problem-solvers. National polls often list "mathematician" as the most satisfying, interesting possible career, followed closely by actuary and statistician.

Students who major in mathematics go to law or business schools, pur- sue graduate study in mathematics or other fields, or obtain a rewarding job in government or industry. Students can easily combine mathematics with another major; many Hood students double major in mathematics and chemistry, political science, economics or biology. Others choose a minor such as computer science.

The Mathematical Association of America provides helpful information on its Parents Page (www.maa.org/students/Parents.html) about what it means to be a math major, and what students can do outside of class and after graduation.

Why Major in Mathematics at Hood?

Hood math students are expected to be active learners. They perform experiments, collect data, discover patterns and work with other students on group projects. With a lab partner, students explore mathematics on the computer, and individually they read and write about mathematics.

Research has shown that these teaching methods are good for every- one, but they are particularly good for young women. Mathematics is a field in which women have traditionally been underrepresented; Hood is committed to educating women and men, offering them unlimited career opportunities.

In Hood's Hodson Science and Technology Center, students work side- by-side with mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry and physics faculty. Classes are small, and students get to interact with fac- ulty members and other students in formal and informal ways. Students have the opportunity to participate in Hood's Summer Research Institute, working closely with faculty on research projects, complete an independent study course with a faculty member on a topic of interest or pursue a yearlong departmental honors project.

Engineering

Hood offers a dual-degree program in engineering with The George Washington University. In this program, students study mathematics and the liberal arts at Hood for three years and then transfer to GWU for two years of engineering coursework. This program gives students experience at a small liberal arts college as well as at an urban university. At the end of five years, students earn two degrees: a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Hood College and a bachelor of science in engineer- ing from GWU.

Computational Science

One of Hood's newest majors, computational science, combines the study of mathematics and computer science with that of another sci- ence—biology, chemistry or physics. See the separate sheet describing this interdisciplinary course of study.

Actuarial studies

One of the most rewarding and satisfying careers available to math majors is that of an actuary, someone who uses mathematics to manage risk and make predictions about the future. Actuaries work for insurance companies, for private corporations, for the government and as consul- tants. The website www.BeAnActuary.com lists Hood as a college where students can get a good introduction to actuarial science. National pro- fessional actuarial societies recommend that students hoping to become actuaries take college courses in mathematics, economics and finance as well as literature, history, art and other humanities and social sciences. The combination of a liberal arts education and a math major is perfect preparation for a career an actuarial career.

Outside the Classroom

Our student-led Least Squares Math Club takes advantage of Hood's location by arranging visits to the National Cryptologic Museum and to lectures at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington, D.C. Math history students meet with the mathematics curator at the Smithsonian for a behind-the-scenes tour of the mathematical trea- sures. Students also participate in regional and national competitions in mathematics and mathematical modeling, and they attend conferences and give presentations. They help run a math day for high school girls; complete exciting internships in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; and enter graduate school or the work force with valuable skills.

A popular weekly event is Math Tea. Students and faculty gather to solve problems, play math games, work puzzles and, yes, drink tea and eat cookies.

Internships

Mathematics majors at Hood are encouraged to complete internships to help with career planning and graduate school preparation. Often a summer internship turns into a full-time job offer after graduation. Hood mathematics students have completed internships at:

Hood students are also eligible to apply for prestigious National Security Scholars Program summer internships through the Maryland Independent College Fund. Mathematics students have completed internships at AT&T, AAI Corporation (aerospace and defense technol- ogy), CACI International, Inc. (defense and homeland security), Harris Corporation, Raytheon and Booz Allen Hamilton.

  • Actuarial Computer Technology, Inc.
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
  • Frederick County Public Schools
  • Mathematical Association of America
  • National Museum of American History (Smithsonian)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • National Security Agency
  • Office of Naval Intelligence
  • U.S. Census Bureau

Research Opportunities

During the past few summers, Hood students have participated in National Science Foundation-sponsored REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at The University of California, Los Angeles; The University of Tennessee; The College of William and Mary; and The University of Maryland, Baltimore County as well as in Hood's own Summer Research Institute. They have presented their results at national conferences and won prizes for them.

Alumni Success Stories

Hood faculty are proud of our students' successes and of the role the fac- ulty play in helping them be successful in so many fields. Here are some quotes from our graduates:

"The mathematics program at Hood College provides students with both detailed coursework and opportunities to explore math outside of the classroom. The coursework taught me advanced problem solv- ing skills along with a deep understanding of mathematics that has me convinced that there are no boundaries for mathematics students. I was hired by Deloitte Consulting right after graduation and applied the problem solving skills I learned at Hood to government clients. I am also pursuing a master's degree at George Washington University for aerospace engineering where my strong mathematical background has given me an advantage over other students. Mathematics at Hood provides a small community that enhances the learning experience and allows students to achieve better understanding of the subject."
—Christopher DiGangi '12,

"The mathematics curriculum at Hood is unique. The emphasis on 'discovering' mathematics and applying course material in homework and lab exercises have certainly enriched my problem-solving skills and understanding of the material. The math department at Hood also stresses the importance of group projects, which enabled me to gain the skills required to work successfully outside of the educational institution. Currently, I am a software engineer at Harris Corporation, where I apply the knowledge I acquired in the mathematics curriculum."
—Stephanie Tomasello '08

Mathematics graduates of Hood are currently working with the follow- ing firms and organizations:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Constellation Energy
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • Epic (software for healthcare providers)
  • Frederick County Public Schools
  • Harris Corporation
  • The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab
  • Maryland National Bank
  • National Security Agency
  • Office of Naval Intelligence
  • Raytheon
  • State Farm Insurance
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Patent Office

Hood mathematics graduates have also pursued advanced degrees at the following institutions:

  • George Mason University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Hood College
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Nebraska
  • Virginia Tech
  • George Washington University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Learn more about the major and the department.