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What is distinctive about a math major at Illinois College?

A student majoring in mathematics at Illinois College will encounter both a challenging field of study and extremely supportive faculty. The professors in the mathematics department strive to establish a community among majors to help lead students to success.

A large selection of courses is offered to prepare students for further study and careers in mathematics, computer science, actuarial sciences, education, engineering and natural sciences. Holding true to the traditions of the liberal arts, the mathematics department focuses on preparing students for life, not just for graduation.

According to Dr. Todd Oberg, associate professor of mathematics, “Students who leave our major should be able to take what they have learned and apply it. They should be willing to use the thinking skills that they have developed in order to ask questions and solve problems, not only in the area of mathematics, but in everything they do.” Dr. James Marshall, professor of mathematics, adds, “A graduating major should have a broad base of thinking skills and know how to communicate. After successfully completing this major, a student will know how to solve problems, and not simply answer questions.”

What opportunities are available for students interested in mathematics?

Curricular Activities:

Math Club – Students involved in these extracurricular activities network with each other to explore the possibilities of math both in and out of the classroom. The groups also go to math conferences, sponsor guest speakers, cookouts, movies and other social events. Membership is comprised of primarily of math majors and minors but anyone interested in math is welcome to attend.

Tutoring Program – Math majors and non-majors who enjoy and understand math are invited to become tutors to their fellow students. The tutors develop the ability to communicate complex ideas to their peers. Tutors also gain improved communication and presentation skills. The tutoring times are scheduled throughout the afternoons and evening hours during the week and on most weekends.

Research – Research opportunities are available on and off campus. Some math majors have worked with professors in preparing papers for scholarly journals and presentations, while other have ventured off campus to study mathematics. A math major, Andrea Frazier, participated in a summer program for undergraduate women in mathematics at St. Olaf College and the University of Tennessee. Jessie Carr had a directed study with Dr. Kiihne on common mistakes in mathematics. She then presented a paper at the 2006 ISMAA annual conference in Naperville, IL. Cora Maffioli researched mathematician Sophie Germain with Dr. Mary Marshall and presented her work at the 2010 ISMAA annual conference. Other students researched open problems in algebraic logic.  Students interested in individual research projects should speak with their advisors regarding their interests and goals. The student and faculty member will then develop the dynamics of the project.

Internships/Field Work- Illinois College math majors often participate in internships with agencies in Jacksonville and Springfield, IL such as Horace Mann Insurance and CSC Corporation. Some of these internships have resulted in immediate employment after graduation. Traditionally, students from the math department have interned in the areas of education, actuarial science, laboratory and natural sciences.

What do our math majors do after graduating from Illinois College?

Recently Illinois College math majors have pursued graduate study at the University of North Carolina, University of Iowa, St. Louis University and Iowa State University. Students entering the work force have taken jobs in the areas of education, actuary, and computer science. They have been employed by Horace Mann Insurance, Hewitt Associates LLC, and as high school math teachers at various schools throughout the state.
Illinois College has a strong program in preparing teachers of mathematics for the K-12 levels. Our graduates find jobs quickly.

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