Math and Computer Science

Professor and Student in Computer Lab

Student Profiles

Jon Moran '10

Moran

When I'm not in class or in the lab, you can usually find me in my room, playing guitar, folding origami, or playing videogames with my friends. I'm not really sure what drew me to Clark, but I'm having a great time here...
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Tim Sweetser '07

Sweetser

I chose Clark for a few reasons. It's fairly close to home, only about an hours travel away. I was offered a very generous Presidential Scholarship. Clark made it abundantly clear they wanted me to come here, and the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond was very enticing. The other school I was considering was an enormous university, where I would not have been able to stand out in the same way...
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Alina Taus '08

Taus

In high school, I studied a lot of math and computer science and although I knew I wanted to study geography in college, I was curious to see how a math class is taught in an American college...
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Igor Valodzin '07

Valodzin

I decided to be a computer science major in middle school. I started learning VB 6.0 in ninth grade on my own. I was always very passionate about technology and PCs for as long as I can remember. Math was a good addition as it explained and helped me understand many of the computer science concepts...
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Jon Moran '10

Computer science and music

I plan on being a computer science major and a music composition minor at Clark. My interests include music, origami, martial arts, computers and math. I play in Clark's Concert Band and Jazz Workshop and Combo, and perform other small gigs. When I'm not in class or in the lab, you can usually find me in my room, playing guitar, folding origami, or playing videogames with my friends. I'm not really sure what drew me to Clark, but I'm having a great time here.

In the fall 2006 semester, I took a class in which we researched computer sound synthesizers. As my final project, I composed a piece of music for marimba and choir, then synthesized it.

View Jon Moran's musical score

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Tim Sweetser '07

Big opportunities for undergraduates

I chose Clark for a few reasons. It's fairly close to home, only about an hour's travel away. I was offered a very generous Presidential Scholarship. Clark made it abundantly clear they wanted me to come here, and the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond was very enticing. The other school I was considering was an enormous university, where I would not have been able to stand out in the same way. Furthermore, the academics at Clark seemed quite good. I recall the admissions literature making a big deal about Clark being a "research university." I really didn't know what that meant, but I did understand and like the University's emphasis on close relationships between students and faculty.

I decided to be a math major because it's the best choice, of course! I distinctly remember Professor Morris, the Math and Computer Science Department chair, making the point to me that "in many ways, math is really the ultimate liberal arts major," because it prepares you to go into nearly any field. This is particularly true if you combine it with a minor or second major in something like economics or computer science. In fact, I came to Clark intending to study international relations, but got sidetracked during my very first semester. I took Calculus III and a couple of social science classes, nothing to do with international relations at all. I found the math to be utterly confusing and the social science classes to be very stimulating, but I continued to take both kinds. After three semesters of this, I found that my impressions had reversed. Now my math classes were interesting and engaging, but my social science classes weren't as interesting to me. When it came time to declare a major, math was it.

The Math and Computer Science Department has no graduate program, which enables upperclassmen to assume serious responsibility in the department. The department offers a tutoring service, staffed by juniors and seniors, to students in calculus and lower classes. I was hired as a junior and am now in my second year as a tutor. I enjoy it immensely. Furthermore, this semester I am the teaching assistant for an upper-level course I took last year, Modern Algebra. I hold office hours for four hours each week, where students can come in and talk about the homework or ask questions about the material covered in lecture. I love exploring the material with people who are just learning it, because it forces me to know the topics thoroughly, and it's very rewarding when students improve as a result of my work. I am proud to be so active in the department's affairs. At other schools, graduate students would fill these functions. But at Clark, undergraduates have this opportunity and I am thankful for it.

There are many advantages to a small department. Small class sizes are chief among them—in introductory classes, there will be no more than 20 or 25 students; upper level classes have more like 10 to 15. Professors not only know your name, but notice when you miss class and really care about you! The value of individual attention really cannot be overemphasized. Another benefit of not having a graduate program is that the professors are really focused on undergraduate education, though certainly not at the expense of research. Professors are always happy to talk to students. If you can't talk to them in person, they're always available by e-mail, and usually pretty prompt about responding.

I plan to become an actuary after graduating from Clark. The department's Probability and Statistics course has been excellent preparation for the first actuarial exam. Overall I am astonished with how much I have learned in four years. Thinking back to how lost I was in my first-year calculus course, and then forward to the sophisticated proofs I can now follow and occasionally construct, I've made tremendous strides and have the Math and Computer Science Department and its faculty to thank for it.

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Alina Taus '08

Math and geography

I chose Clark because of its well-known geography program. I knew I wanted to study geography, and Clark seemed the best place to be for that.

In high school, I studied a lot of math and computer science and although I knew I wanted to study geography in college, I was curious to see how a math class is taught in an American college. I took Honors Calculus with Professor Sternberg, and she encouraged me to take more math classes. I didn't think about majoring in math until I realized I had almost completed a minor in it.

What I like best about studying math at Clark is that the classes are small and interactive and this gives students the opportunity to develop close relationships with professors. Within the Math and Computer Science Department at Clark, I discovered that a great way of learning math is by talking with professors and sharing ideas with other math students.

In my sophomore year, I had a very interesting conversation with one of my math professors about graduate programs in geography. Back then, I was interested in the earth sciences, and I was curious to see what I could do after graduating from Clark. Professor Sternberg recommended some good graduate schools to me, as well as some math courses that I should take in preparation for a graduate degree. Although she is not my academic adviser, Professor Sternberg is very helpful and a great resource for me.

After I graduate, I want to pursue an master's degree in Geographic Information Science through Clark's Accelerated BA/Master's Degree Program with the fifth-year free. I am still thinking about the possibility of returning to my home country, Romania, and working there.

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Ihar Valodzin '07

Pursuing a passion for math and computer science


Clark was recommended to me by a family member, Nadya Barishnikova. She studied economics and math at Clark and graduated a few years back.

I decided to be a computer science major in middle school. I started learning VB 6.0 in ninth grade on my own. I was always very passionate about technology and PCs for as long as I can remember. Math was a good addition as it explained and helped me understand many of the computer science concepts. Math is generally a very useful discipline to master as it gives you a huge advantage over others in subjects like finance or economics.

I really enjoyed the personal approach I received at Clark. As long as I did well in class and showed promise, my efforts were recognized in the form of internships with ITS, opportunities to participate in research, and other learning opportunities offered by Clark and the department.

I really enjoyed working with two students in the first-year research class Professor Han taught last spring (viewable here). It gave me a chance to create study plans, assignments and generally try to encourage the students to pursue this area of academics. It was a very interesting and beneficial experience.

I got a job offer with an insurance company in Hartford for a rotational program in their IT department. The program allows me to experience various aspects of IT work by rotating to different roles six months at a time. Many other large corporations offer such programs. I highly recommend students to pursue this career track.

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