Snapshots: Meet Julia Walljasper
Recently, the Math Department spoke with Julia Walljasper about a number of things, including why she's a math major, internships, and the secret to success in college.
Why did you choose math as your major?
Math is everywhere. It’s an integral part of many different fields of study. From engineering to economics, math is essential for modeling and solving problems. I knew I wanted to study something that can be used for many different purposes, and I quickly saw math as a multidisciplinary major.
What do you like about the Math Department? What makes it special?
The professors and students in this department are so wise, caring, and helpful. They have taught me how to communicate with my colleagues and be a part of community that inspires growth and wisdom.
How did you integrate yourself into the department? What helped with your success?
I joined the Pi Mu Epsilon Society and made sure not to be afraid to reach out to professors, advisors, and students because they are there to help you succeed.
What kind of research or internship opportunities have you had? How did you find them?
I was a software engineering intern at Workfront during one of my semesters; the following summer I was again a software engineering intern at Motorola Solutions. I found these positions through my peers, who informed me of the job openings. I also was a tutor at Mathnasium—I found this through the Math Department website.
What do you plan to do with your math degree?
I plan on pursuing a career in software engineering. Another perk of having a math degree is that my friends always ask me for math help, and it's always great to teach others.
What do you wish you had known about the department when you applied to the U in high school?
I wish I had known right off the bat the number of scholarship opportunities offered by the department.
Who are some of your favorite Math professors at the U—and why? How have they helped you or expanded your horizons?
I had Differential Equations with Bridget Fan. She was a grad student and was very honest about her experience and inspired me to embrace the struggles of being student. She encouraged me to apply for scholarships and had helpful advice.
How have your fellow students in the Math Department enriched your educational experience? Have you found support and encouragement from your peers?
I remember as a freshman I didn’t know anyone in my classes. But over time, I started reaching out and making friends, which is probably the secret to success in college. There’s no way I could have survived this far without the relationships I’ve made. Through the people I’ve met, I’ve discovered internship opportunities, made study groups, and have been able to share discoveries and important topics that have helped me grow.
What advice would you give to high school students who are considering joining the U and majoring in math?
Don't be afraid to reach out to professors, advisors, students because they’re there to help.
What do you think are some of the selling points of the Math Department that high school students should know about?
As an applied mathematics major, one of my major requirements was to take a computer science course, and that’s when I discovered my love for programming and the ability to apply many mathematical concepts to real-life applications. That’s the beauty of applied mathematics: the degree allows students to discover their passions and see many ways to apply math to meaningful fields of work.