Given its black-and-white, highly objective nature, mathematics can seem like a relatively impersonal academic discipline. At Lakeland, however, you will discover that mathematics, like every other subject, is taught with a personal touch.
“We have teachers who will really get to know you personally,” says Heather Mollé, assistant professor of mathematics. “We’ll be able to monitor you as you work your way through the program, encourage you to participate in extra activities if we think you’re not living up to your potential, give you extra help if we see that you’re struggling in a particular class and write a personal letter of recommendation when you're ready to apply for jobs."
Formula for success
From pre-calculus to differential equations and linear algebra to topology and complex variables, Lakeland offers a full range of mathematics classes that will fit into the career path you choose. Mathematics can be a standalone major, but it also fits nicely as a major or minor with other majors such as chemistry, computer science and education.
Lakeland College graduates with degrees in mathematics pursue a wide variety of professions. The mathematics education program yields high school mathematics teacher certification. Graduate school is an option, as is becoming an actuary. Applied mathematics, which involves data collection and analysis in the corporate world, is another common direction mathematics majors take.
“Working as a mathematician for a business, you would help your company solve problems using data,” Mollé says. “For example, a trucking company might want to determine which routes would be the most cost effective or would allow deliveries to arrive in the shortest amount of time; figuring that out involves math. You’re given a problem, and you use math to find a solution.”
Snapshot of Success
Name: Jay Freerking
Hometown: Mauston, Wis.
Title: Math teacher, JV girls’ head basketball coach
Business: Cuba City High School
Jay arrived at Lakeland with a passion for math and basketball. Now, a few short years later, he’s enjoying a blossoming career that involves both interests.
The 2011 Lakeland grad teaches mathematics and is the head girls JV basketball coach at Cuba City High School.
“My mom was a teacher, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps, help people out and pass that passion on to my students,” says Jay. “I always enjoyed math and crunching numbers.”
Jay, who stands 6-10, had to stop playing basketball at Lakeland due to a back injury. But he continued to be a part of the program, supporting his teammates and learning nuances of the game while steadily sparkling in the classroom. That combination of academic and extra-curricular dedication planted the seeds for his career.
Always a self-starter and motivated person, Jay blanketed the state’s schools with applications as his college graduation approached. When Cuba City High School called him with an offer to interview, he jumped in the car and drove 192 miles. As he pulled back into the Lakeland College campus more than three hours after leaving Cuba City, he received a call with a job offer. He had a full-time job before graduating.
At Lakeland, Jay says, he developed his own philosophies on teaching based on what he learned in the classroom and from his professors. In addition, he enjoyed delving deeper into math.
“My experience at Lakeland was worthwhile,” he says now. “If I had to sum it up with one word, it would be worthwhile. Everything fell into place for me there.”
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Mathematics at Lakeland
Students who major in mathematics will:
- Understand and apply the basic concepts of algebra, analysis and geometry
- Develop and deploy high-level skills in problem solving, inductive reasoning, logical thought, formal mathematical definitions, proofs and computations, including the use of computer software
- Communicate their findings effectively by formulating precise definitions, stating clear theorems and constructing formal proofs
- Apply mathematical ideas and tools, including computer technology, to real-world problems