Alumna Amy Grady said her time at Appalachian State University prepared her to study mathematical sciences in graduate school at Clemson University because she got to take a variety of mathematics courses. She also participated in undergraduate research before graduating from Appalachian in May 2012 with a degree in Mathematics (BS) - General.
“While there is plenty of course work in graduate school, a lot of your time is spent doing independent research. That can be a hard transition if you have been in classes your whole life,” she said
“My undergraduate research gave me a taste of what math research looks like, and I highly recommend it for anyone who may be interested in grad school.”
Through her undergraduate research, Grady studied the Google PageRank algorithm with Dr. Mark Ginn. The algorithm relies on concepts from linear algebra such as Markov chains and eigenvalues. She researched how the algorithm could be applied to ranking college baseball teams.
“I love the challenge of solving a problem no one else has solved. It can be overwhelming because every time you answer one question you come up with many more you can’t answer yet. But this just means you never run out of things to think about,” she said.
Grady came to Appalachian because she loved the campus and had planned on studying education early in high school. Later, her interests turned to math and science.
“Throughout school, math and science were my favorite subjects because I have always loved problem solving. When I started at Appalachian, I was pretty sure I wanted to study chemistry or math. I had wonderful experiences in my calculus and linear algebra classes, so I decided to stick with math,” she said.
Grady praised Appalachian’s Department of Mathematical Sciences for its supportive and caring faculty.
“The math department at Appalachian is special because it has a small liberal arts feel, but is large enough that the faculty research areas cover many fields of mathematics. You get the feel of a liberal arts school with some of the research opportunities of larger universities,” she said.
Grady said she loved her experience at Appalachian and appreciated that the faculty members truly care about their students’ success.