Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts
Specialization Pure and Applied Mathematics
Learning how math can teach us how to navigate real-life environments
Myriam Boucher-Pinard started out her undergraduate career in Psychology, but she added a double major in Pure and Applied Math when she began taking statistics courses and realized how much she loved working with numbers.
In advanced calculus, you graph things in 3D, and it’s quite beautiful.
What’s your favourite aspect of the Pure and Applied Mathematics program?
So far, my favourite thing is advanced calculus. I’ll be honest, I know it doesn’t sound fun, but to me it’s a great time. We’re looking at how we can apply second derivatives to mountain ranges. This helps you find the fastest way to get to the peak or the bottom of the valley, considering where you are on a mountain.
It’s really interesting because in math when you’re in high school, it’s very 2D. You graph everything on an X-Y axis. But in advanced calculus, you graph things in 3D, and it’s quite beautiful. To me that’s fascinating. We’ve got a real-world application for something that seems super theoretical.
Any advice for students just starting out in the program?
In MATH – don't be afraid to reach out. Stay in contact with other people in your classes. Even though it seems like a very individual program, we work in teams a lot.
What kind of work do you hope to do after your degree?
I plan on finishing my second major in Math, and then I plan on applying to a Math Education Masters. You learn how to teach mathematics at that point, and you continue doing pure and applied. Then, I would get a doctorate. My ultimate goal would be teaching math at the college level. Math is a very difficult course to teach. A lot of students – women especially -- believe it’s not for them. I want to have an impact on that. Changing the way we teach math could have that impact.