The Mathematics Department at Virginia Tech, as part of the University's role as a Land Grant University, places a large emphasis on professional preparation. But first we have to make sure that students understand that there are tremendous careers available in applied mathematics. Unfortunately, many people are only aware of the need for good middle and high school teachers. They do not realize that mathematics often plays an extraordinary role in the whole gamut of human scientific endeavors through a process called "mathematical modeling." To create a mathematical model to describe a phenomenon, one must derive a mathematical structure that mimics the phenomenon, and is a reliable predictor of its outcomes. Once the mathematical model is constructed, it must be tested, and then it must be made amenable to a computational solution process. All of these activities are mathematical in nature and are often performed by scientists and mathematicians in concert. Moreover, this modeling activity is common to all forms of science, whether natural science, social science, engineering, or computational science.
The non-awareness of career possibilities in mathematics is a problem that three national organizations have jointly tackled. They are the American Mathematical Society ( AMS), the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). These groups have established a web site that gives professional biographies of many successful mathematicians in government and industry. This site, plus one that illustrates the wide variety of interesting and challenging jobs taken by Virginia Tech Mathematics graduates in the past four years, comprises the first link in this section.
The second link in this section discusses the activity of the Virginia Tech Mathematics Department towards informing students of career possibilities, identifying the students’ tastes and talents in different mathematical areas, and in helping them obtain summer jobs and permanent employment. The third link in this section deals with the University Career Services Office which provides many services to our students towards reaching the professional opportunities available in government and industry.
Here are a wide variety of jobs helps by our alums and other successful mathematicians.
Check out the math career preparation activities.
Here is a link to the University Career Services home page.