Welcome to the second post for the Inspirational Corner. Hope you enjoyed our first interview with Soham Sau. Today we have Marie Rose Jerade. We hope you will be inspired by her journey and all her enthusiasm for mathematics.
What is your name? Where are you from? Give us a little background story.
My name is Marie Rose Jerade. I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and then lived in Lebanon, where I’m originally from, through my adolescence and first year of university. I’m currently a student in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Ottawa.
Out of all the subjects, why Math?
I have always loved mathematics and would spend a lot of time studying it solely because I enjoyed discovering, learning and solving problems. It was my escape from all the other subjects.
I was looking for a practical degree involving mathematics, so I went into mechanical engineering for a year while still in Lebanon, oblivious to how important a pure math degree was. During that time, I realized how much I loved mathematics above all other subjects. I decided that I wanted to study Mathematics no matter what and applied to the University of Ottawa.
Mathematics simply makes sense to me. It is a subject that I understand and can visualize naturally. It explains and proves notions neatly and elegantly. I look at mathematics as applied philosophy; it’s based on logic which I find to be the root of any thought process. Thus, I consider studying mathematics as a journey on improving my reasoning. I wanted to be certain that this is the path I wanted so I started to look for a book to read. I came across “Through The Looking Glass” by Alex Bellos. It’s an absolutely intriguing book and it made me realize how much interesting knowledge I was missing out on.
What is your opinion about all the stigma against mathematics? Where do you think it starts and how does it affect today’s generation decision regarding a career in math?
I was lucky to have great teachers and professors every year and that is something I am very grateful for because it has helped shape my choices today. I think the teachers and the way mathematics is taught at school are the two important points.
I’ve seen different school curriculums. They either teach too much which overwhelms the student and leaves them to question the necessity of this knowledge, or teach them too little which leaves the student confused and not completely grasping the concept. Either way, it discourages most students to be curious about math. There are lab sessions for physics, chemistry and biology that help the student apply what they learn in class. However, there isn’t the same for mathematics. There should be similar hours dedicated to show students how present mathematics is in our daily lives, not only how useful it is but also how artistic and beautiful it is.
“Why should we care about math? I know arithmetic and that’s all I need.” is what we always hear. But arithmetic is not all there is to mathematics. And it’s not all you need because mathematics is everywhere. There’s a quote by Alfred North Whitehead from his book An Introduction to Mathematics which goes as follows: “The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment… We are told that by its aid the stars are weighed and the billions of molecules in a drop of water are counted. Yet, like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, this great science eludes the efforts of our mental weapons to grasp it.” This quote explains exactly what happens to students in their math-learning journey. We start out thinking mathematics is a tool in our daily lives, only to discover its beauty further down the line.
Towards what part of mathematics do you feel more attracted to and why?
I try to cover as many diverse fields as possible but I mostly enjoy Algebra, Graph Theory and Combinatorics. The reason is simple: I think they’re fun to study. A good addition to that is that they are applied in computer science, which is my minor.
How would you counteract the negative stigma math has in our younger generation?
I try to promote mathematics whenever and however I can. I tutor students occasionally. I love seeing a student understanding and getting excited when they have understood what was once very confusing to them. Sharing interesting facts with my peers is a start to give the general public a new perspective of the subject.
Since the beginning of the summer, I’ve been working under my professors’ supervision on a website for our department. The project is still very new and is evolving daily. Our aim is to promote mathematics. We want to make it easier for students to find guidance for various topics and stay up to date with the math community in Ottawa. These are simple ways in which I manage to contribute. New opportunities and ideas appear continuously which gradually adds positivity.
Another future project I consider is promoting mathematics in Lebanon and building a community. Undergraduate research in mathematics is nearly non-existent and there is no support for students interested in pursuing mathematics. It has a bad reputation. Becoming a teacher is believed to be the only possible career path. It’s a great choice but it’s not the only one there is.
What is your final destination career-wise?
I want to get a PhD and help students as my professors have helped me. I want to contribute to the educational system in a way that will break this stigma. This will involve me becoming a professor to university/college students and/or working in education to improve the curriculum.
If you have any social media links feel free to let us know:
Check out my Instagram @dreadfulogic for a dose of math.
Before you go, take a look at Marie‘s favorite quotes and mathematicians. Have a great day and always search for inspiration:
Hope you liked this post. Have a great day. If you would like to participate and be the next inspiration for our Inspirational Corner, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org now. You can find us on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. We will try to post there as often as possible.
Lots of love and don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!