Degree Spotlight: Math Department

April 11, 2014 | Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College Department of Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics at Medgar Evers College is part of the School of Science, Health & Technology which is housed in a $247 million state-of-the-art facility.

The Department provides an engaging and intellectually-rigorous curriculum that assists students in preparing for a career in which mathematics is directly or indirectly involved and to foster an appreciation of the vital role of mathematics in society.

All Department of Mathematics courses encourage critical-thinking and emphasize problem-solving. This allows students to acquire and strengthen essential skills required for their science and liberal arts courses.

The Department of Mathematics offers more than 40 courses and two undergraduate degree programs – the Bachelor of Science in the Mathematical Sciences and the Associate of Science with a Mathematics Concentration. The Department also offers a Minor in Mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics supports Math majors, minors and all students taking math classes by promoting a “mathematical community” through its tutorial program, undergraduate research, guest lectures, research presentations, the Math Club and other extra-curricular activities.

The faculty of the MEC Department of Mathematics conducts research in various areas of pure and applied Mathematics, including Algebra, Geometry, Representation Theory, Mathematical Physics, Fluid Dynamics, Number Theory & Topology, and Mathematics Instruction. 

Did you know?

Benjamin Banneker (Born on November 9, 1731) was a mathematician? Benjamin Banneker was a Black mathematician, astronomer, clockmaker and publisher. During his childhood years, he was trained in reading and doing basic arithmetic by his grandmother and a Quaker schoolmaster. When he was capable of helping his parents in working at their farm, he stopped taking formal education. When Banneker was 21 years of age, he saw Andrew Ellicott’s pocket watch. Seeing his keen interest in the watch, Ellicott presented it to Banneker. Banneker started examining the watch and its workings. He designed huge replicas of the watch by calculating the gear assemblies and made a huge striking clock. This invention of Benjamin Banneker served as an accurate timepiece and he earned recognition as a clockmaker. Banneker contributed to the field of astronomy, by devising calculations to predict solar and lunar.

Banneker is famous for his puzzles in mathematics and trigonometry. His puzzle, ‘Trigonometry’ demonstrates his expertise in logarithms. People still wonder which logarithmic table he might have used. He was instrumental in devising a method of finding the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle inscribed in a circle, whose diameter is known. His pioneering discoveries that were to bring a positive change to mathematics make evident the genius in him. He died in 1806 but is remembered as one of the famous Black mathematicians. (Source: User Talk Kay Trisha Ruiz)

Carl Gauss (1777 – 1855) is known as one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived. Carl Friedrich Gauss was born to a poor family in Germany in 1777 and quickly showed himself to be a brilliant mathematician. He published “Arithmetical Investigations,” a foundational textbook that laid out the tenets of number theory (the study of whole numbers). Without number theory, computers would not be in existence. Computers operate, on a most basic level, using just two digits — 1 and 0, and many of the advancements that have been made in using computers to solve problems are solved using number theory. Gauss was prolific, and his work on number theory was just a small part of his contribution to math; you can find his influence throughout algebra, statistics, geometry, optics, astronomy and many other subjects that underlie our modern world.

John Von Neumann (1903-1957) was born in Budapest a few years after the start of the 20th century, a well-timed birth for the world, as he went on to design the architecture underlying nearly every single computer built on the planet today. Right now, whatever device or computer that you are reading this on, be it phone or computer, is cycling through a series of basic steps billions of times over each second; steps that allow it to do things like render Internet articles and play videos and music, steps that were first thought up by John von Neumann. (Source: Brilliant Mathematicians and their Impact on the World)

Von Neumann received his Ph.D. in mathematics at the age of 22 while also earning a degree in chemical engineering to appease his father, who was keen on his son having a good marketable skill. Thankfully for all of us, he stuck with math. In 1930, he went to work at Princeton University with Albert Einstein at the Institute of Advanced Study. Before his death in 1957, Von Neumann made important discoveries in set theory, geometry, quantum mechanics, game theory, statistics, computer science and was a vital member of the Manhattan Project. (Source: Brilliant Mathematicians and their Impact on the World)               

Professional Opportunities for Mathematicians

As demonstrated by the profiles of famous mathematicians above, opportunities for Math majors are infinite! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “Learning math helps workers analyze and solve problems — abilities that most employers value.” In addition, the BLS stated that mastering mathematics is helpful in nearly any career. Another benefit is the potential earnings, as the salary for most careers in math could be substantial. For example, according to the BLS, professional mathematicians reportedly earned a median salary of $99,380 in 2010.

Current mathematics majors can look forward to average job growth until 2020 according to research conducted by the BLS. A math degree readies graduates for careers as actuaries, financial, budget, and operation research analysts, and economists, where they will use applied or theoretical mathematics to answer questions and solve problems. Of these professions, financial analysts are expected to see the most job openings, predicted by the BLS to increase by 54,200 between 2010 and 2020.

While economists reportedly earned a higher salary than financial analysts, with a 2010 median income of $89,450 per year, the growth rate for this profession is much lower and is predicted to only yield 900 more jobs over the decade. Actuary positions yield a high median salary, reported at $87,650 per year by the BLS, and are predicted to grow faster than average, at 27% by 2020. (Source: http://oedb.org/careers/math/)

Where can Math Majors find work?

  • All Banking and Financial Institutions
  • Computer Software & Hardware Manufactures
  • ANYWHERE!

Check out MEC’s Department of Mathematics. You just might find your calling!