We’re looking forward to a great year, and to get you acquainted with us, we thought we’d answer some introductory questions!
Question #1: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Adam: “I’m a senior double majoring in Applied Math and Econ. I’m a local, having spent my whole life in the Bay Area. I’m focusing on a profession in actuarial science and I’m preparing to take my first exam this upcoming summer. In my free time I play music with my band, even though we’re not very good we love to play.”
Eleanor: “I am a second year majoring in both Mathematics and Women’s Studies! I am quite active on campus with political issues and food justice, and like to think I offer a unique perspective on the math department and pursuing math in general, and am super enthusiastic about helping people that are passionate about math. I am originally from Colorado, so I like to spend most of my free time getting outside. If you’re looking for someone to philosophize about math and the world writ large with, I’m your gal!”
Lakshmi: “Hi! I am a rising junior majoring in Math, with a minors in Statistics and Industrial Engineering. I spend most of my time doing math and dancing, and when I’m not focusing on schoolwork I enjoy running, hiking, and being an active member of the greek community! After graduation, I hope to pursue a postgraduate degree in operations research or systems engineering. I would love to get to know you, so come by and say hi!”
Mike: “I am a third year Applied Math Major with a concentration in Data Science. I am interested in data analysis, mathematical computations, and any challenging and interesting math related issues. I am also a travel enthusiast, an amateur painter, and a very unprofessional photographer.”
Rose: “I am a fourth year student majoring in Mathematics. I spend much time dealing with math, but I also enjoy reading, baking, hiking, and learning new languages (especially natural ones). After graduation, I plan to continue my study in maths. If you have any question regarding course planning, major declaration, or preparation for standardized exams, or if you just want to chat, please feel free to come by.”
Wan: “Hello I’m a senior Applied Math major with an interest in Actuarial Science. In the very beginning I was an Arts major but eventually fascinated with math. I’ve been doing advising-related work for a few years. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, reading detective novels, and photographing. I look forward to listening to your story and helping you out in the future. Please feel free to come by with any concerns.”
Winnie: “Hello! My name is Winnie and I’m a junior. I’m majoring in Applied Math and minoring in IEOR. I’m interested in pursuing a career in data science. Outside of school, I enjoy running, traveling around the world, and learning about different cultures.”
Question #2: What has been your favorite math class at Berkeley? What has been your favorite course outside of Math?
Adam: “Math 110. My favorite course outside of the math department was physics C10, also known as physics for future presidents. This was hands down the most fun, active, and engaging class I’ve taken at Berkeley. I highly recommend it!”
Eleanor: “My favorite math course so far has been math 113. I had never really explored algebra past elementary group theory, but Professor Abbott taught the course in a way that was captivating yet accessible. That course made it clear to me that who teaches a course is just as, if not more, important than the material itself! My favorite course outside of math was Gender, Women, and Work in the GWS department. Again, a fantastic professor, and really intriguing concepts that definitely changed my perspective on the world.”
Lakshmi: “My favorite math course has been Math 172, Combinatorics. The class was structured very differently, where the textbook was just a set of problems and we constructed the theorems and proofs through those problems. The subject matter was also really interesting. Outside of math, my favorite class was definitely Industrial Engineering 151, Service Operations Design and Analysis. In it, we used math to optimize the operations of the service industry, like hospitals and banks and other service providers. It was a super cool real life application of math.”
Mike: “My favorite math class at Berkeley is Math 55, where I learned about induction, logic, and probability, things that I found really useful in my future classes. My favorite class outside of math is Data Science 100, where I was exposed to many powerful data analysis tools and techniques. One thing that I love the most about DS100 is that all the data sets in the homeworks and projects are real data obtained from various sources, and you can often find interesting and surprising patterns from analyzing these data sets.”
Rose: “My favourite maths course has been 136, incompleteness and undecidability. The course material was fun and challenging, and the fact that, after discovering the incompleteness theorems, mathematicians started studying the degree of unsolvability instead of giving up is absolutely inspiring. Outside of maths, my favourite is Greek 1, which has helped me grasp the meaning of many mathematical terms.”
Wan: “My favorite math class at Berkeley is Math 113. I took it with Dr. Smirnov, he’s funny and super helpful. Abstract algebra is not easy for sure but he made it interesting and easy to understand. Meanwhile taking me to a upper level math world with more general concepts for mathematics.”
Winnie: “My favorite math class has been Math 55. It was an interesting combination of introduction to proof, logic, and probability. It was completely different from some of the math classes that I have taken before, and it has definitely opened my eyes in different areas of math! My favorite class outside of my major is Data 8. I found it as a fun class that has the perfect mix of math, stats, and cs. All the homework, labs, projects are all real-life related, and it has sparked my interest in data science.”
Question #3: What piece of advice would you give to your first-semester-at-Berkeley self?
Adam: “I’d tell myself to take a step back from stressful moments and focus on how to improve them, rather than let them get you down. I’d tell myself to stay focused on the big picture, and enjoy each moment of life for what it is, good or bad, because in the end, it’ll all work out if you try your best.”
Eleanor: “I’d tell myself to branch out even more than I did. While I took classes in multiple departments and academically explored my passions, I didn’t do much in terms of extracurriculars and getting involved in clubs is much easier when you’re an underclassman with fewer obligations.”
Lakshmi: “I’d probably tell myself to be less critical. It’s really easy to get lost and feel like everyone understands everything and you’re the only one who doesn’t. That’s honestly almost never true. I’d also tell myself to ask dumb questions and get help when I need it. The last thing I think I’d tell myself would be to prioritize my happiness and gaining new experiences. College isn’t just about the education, its about the memories you make and self growth you experience.”
Mike: “I would tell myself to be more active to explore different opportunities and resources on campus, talk to more people and learn from their past experience, and of course, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the freshman year.”
Rose: “I’d tell myself to spend more time outdoor and put some effort into staying in contact with friends.”
Wan: “Since I was a transfer student, I have to get used to a brand new environment, I find out it’s very important that to take something I’m really interested in. In that way, I could be more confident and efficient on getting used to Cal.”
Winnie: “I would tell myself to put in more effort into exploring Cal. I feel like freshmen year was the perfect time to explore different clubs, organizations, and even classes!”
Question #4: What’s your favorite place to eat in Berkeley?
Adam: “Chez panisse. I’ve never been, but I assume it would be my favorite.”
Eleanor: “The Butcher’s Son on University Ave is the best food I’ve ever eaten. I made a point to go every week!”
Lakshmi: “Imm Thai. Literally the best thai food in Berkeley (and there’s a lot of thai food in Berkeley)”
Mike: “Aki Japanese Restaurant. Their minced pork rice is dope!”
Rose: “Wat Mongkolratanaram. Despite not being a Buddhist, I like going to this temple (or rather, its backyard) on Sunday mornings for authentic Thai food.”
Wan: “Simply bowl. I rarely eat in Berkeley, but I think poke bowl is healthy.”
Winnie: “Mount Everest! It’s a bit far but it’s definitely worth the walk.”