Tim Mc Eldowney, BS 2013, Ph.D. candidate at University of California Riverside
My name is Tim McEldowney and I attended CSUN’s Math department from 2008 to 2013. I am now a second year PHD candidate at UC Riverside. In the beginning few years of my degree I participated in PUMP: Preparing Undergraduates through Mentoring toward PhDs. It is a National Science Foundation funded program designed to encourage early mathematicians to succeed. With the funding and knowledge it provided I was set up to do well in my early classes. After that I began working in the Math Department’s Tutoring Center which is run exclusively by CSUN Undergrad and Graduate students. There I gained hands on experience in teaching Mathematics and had the support of fellow Math majors in our struggle. In my 2.5 years in the Tutoring Center it grew rapidly. To the point that in my last year half the challenge was making sure we did not have so many students that we broke the fire safety code. Also during my Undergraduate career I took 17 math classes 5 at the senior level and 3 at the graduate level. These classes allowed me to breeze through two of the qualification exams at my current program.
In the 2 years since I have left CSUN they have built on and improved: with the formation of a Math Club and the revitalization of the PUMP program. In addition they have started doing undergraduate research which is one of the most desired qualities for graduate school candidates. Now some of the undergrad students I was working with at CSUN are applying to and being accepted to graduate programs I could not even dream of applying to. When I graduate and get a position as a professor I plan to emulate most of the CSUN experience, especially in regards to my teaching and class policy. I know can not hold a candle to some of the CSUN faculty in terms of commitment and availability but it will be nice to try.
Tim Mc Eldowney BS 2013
Ph.D. candidate at University of California Riverside
Joshua Pankau, BS 2011, Ph.D. candidate University of California at Santa Barbara
After graduating from CSUN with a B.A. in Mathematics at the end of the fall 2011 semester I went on to the PhD program at University of California: Santa Barbara. This meant moving to a new town, my girlfriend and I moved in together, I had to teach 5 discussion sections a week in addition to going to school full time. Needless to say it was a hectic time and the saving grace that helped me get through that crucial adjustment period during my first quarter was that the Math Department at CSUN had given me such a strong foundation in Mathematics.
My first quarter saw me taking Modern Algebra and Topology, but much to my surprise and excitement I had already seen most of the material in my undergraduate classes at CSUN. The algebra course covered material I had learned with Jerry and Mary Rosen, the Topology course was very similar to the Topology class I took with Jerry Rosen in my final semester at CSUN; it even used the same book! The fact that the first quarter was a lot of review meant that I had more time to adjust to my new situation and responsibilities.
When the time came for me to take my Qualifying exams in the areas of Algebra, Topology and Analysis, I had only to look to the material taught to me at CSUN. I reviewed my notes from Terry Fuller's real analysis class, reread the book from Rabia Djellouli's complex analysis class, and reviewed what Jerry Rosen taught me in Algebra and Topology. The math curriculum at CSUN offered a huge boon to my mathematical knowledge which has helped me to succeed thus far in grad school.
I would dare say that the Professors I encountered in the Math Department were more influential to my success than the curriculum itself. I would like the thank the following Professors for their major contributions in bringing me where I am today:
First, I want say thank you to Mary Rosen and Werner Horn. In my second semester at CSUN Mary offered me a job at the Math Tutoring Lab on campus where I learned a lot about teaching others, including how adapt to the varying needs of individual students by being able to explain concepts in multiple ways and the importance of describing concepts in the simplest terms possible. These lessons have helped me in my daily role as a TA where I have to constantly explain the course material to students. Soon after Werner, who was Department Chair at the time, selected me and a few others to do a
summer research project which let me see a lot of math that isn't taught during the normal curriculum. It was a great experience and it, together with the tutoring job, helped make me a more competitive candidate while applying to grad schools because research and teaching experience are valued highly by grad schools.
Thank you to Terry Fuller and Rabia Djellouli who both taught me the importance of writing rigorous proofs, the benefit of having a study partner, and wrote letters of recommendation to the many schools I applied to! Terry, it was great to see you at the Day of Triangulations!
Thank you to Jerry Rosen whom I took four classes with. He was always willing to answer questions, or set up meetings outside of office hours where he would help me understand the material, but more so he was always willing to chat and tell me stories about his time in grad school which helped prepare me for when I got there. I never felt like just another student but that he genuinely cared about who I was and where I was going.
I would also like to thank Helena Noronha, whose Non-Euclidean Geometry class I took on a whim, for all of her advice she gave me while I was applying to graduate schools. Once she learned that I was applying she took it upon herself to help guide me through the process by telling me what schools are looking for in applicants, helping me write strong essays, helping me choose which schools to apply to, and much more. I cannot thank her enough for everything she did for me.
My experience in the math program at CSUN was overwhelmingly positive and the Professors believed in me and worked to help me succeed. I am proud to be an alumnus and to have had the chance to study under such amazing people!
Joshua Pankau BS 2011
Ph.D. candidate University of California at Santa Barbara
Edward Tchertchian, MS 2011, Professor and Associate Chair at Pierce College
Being a full-time math instructor at a community college was my primary goal when I enrolled into CSUN math's graduate program. I accomplished this goal only a year after getting my MS in Applied Math from CSUN. In my 2.5 years at the school, I was given the opportunity to be a Teaching Associate. This experience was great on many levels. I learned and practiced my craft for the first time, and getting to work with all the amazing coordinators in the department (David Protas, Mary Rosen, Elena Marchisotto, Kate Stevenson, and Werner Horn as chair) made me a better educator. I even managed to leave an impact on some of these courses (Dr. Marchisotto updated Math 131 projects to include content I created, while I worked directly with Dr. Protas and Dr. Horn on bringing back the 150A/B labs), and am grateful to have learned so much in the process. While at CSUN, I also had the honor of learning math from some wonderful professors. It is easy for one to get nervous during a job interview, but I nailed my first full-time position interview thanks to the great math knowledge instilled by these professors. I'm grateful to the math department for all it has done for me!
Edward Tchertchian MS 2011
Professor and Associate Chair at Pierce College
Evelyn Ngo, MS 2010, Orion Health
Evelyn Ngo MS 2010
John Sikora, MS 2008, Professor at Harbor College
I started attending CSUN as a mathematics major in 2003 after having gone to Los Angeles Valley College for one year. I found the transition to be very easy because the Math Department was very well run and the faculty were more than willing to help with any problems that I had. In addition to teaching their normal courses, the faculty in the Math Department also presented me with many opportunities to learn and get real world experience. For example, I became involved in the NASA/CSUN "Pairs Project" where I teamed up with a faculty member and worked on a research project. I found that experience to be invaluable because I learned a lot about computers and software engineering. I also learned how to work professionally with another mathematician which prepared me for the career that I have today.
I received so much support from the Math Department and that I decided to go to graduate school at CSUN. I chose CSUN because I was familiar and comfortable with the faculty members in the Math Department. When it was time for me to look for a job teaching, I was able to draw upon their resources for job leads. In particular, one faculty member had former students that were chairs at several colleges in Los Angeles, so he was able to let me know about job openings where I might not have looked. In 2008, even with the economy in the shape that it was, I got two adjunct teaching positions immediately after graduation. I used to joke with people and say that "The ink on my diploma was still drying when I got hired".
After teaching for a few years and because I was friendly with several of the faculty members, I was hired at CSUN to teach a few math classes. After teaching at a major university like CSUN for over a year, I was able to find a full-time tenure track position at Los Angeles Harbor College. Today I am an Associate Professor and in another year I'll be tenured. I have the faculty to thank for that, in particular Mary and Jerry Rosen. Together, they helped me become a better teacher and find the career that I have today. It was a great experience.
John Sikora MS 2008
Professor at Harbor College
Kahrolin ́e Maria di Passero, MS 2008, Professor at Moorpark College
I began CSUN a year after receiving my undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics from UCLA. I had learned that the discipline of Mathematics was cold, unwelcoming, and highly competitive. As such, I had no illusions about how my experience in graduate school would be. I was wrong. CSUN was the most welcoming institution I had attended, both faculty and staff made me immediately feel at home. I was not only given a job as a graduate teacher, but I was taught by quality instructors who cared about my success and my comprehension of the material. I began to see the humanity that’s possible in the halls of higher education once again. During the two summers that I spent there, CSUN offered me positions instructing summer programs to undergraduate students (under the guidance of their Professors). These experiences gave me the confidence and experience I needed to succeed in the front of a classroom. In my final year at CSUN, I went to work part-time at a community college, and upon graduation, was immediately hired full-time. CSUN and its caring, highly competent professors, gave me the experience and know-how to succeed as an instructor for over a decade now. I thank everyone there for giving of themselves so that I might succeed!
Kahrolin ́e Maria di Passero MS 2008
Professor at Moorpark College
Mitra Navab, MS 2007, Professor at Pierce College
I have been a full time faculty in the Math department at Pierce College since Fall 2012. Before that I was an adjunct match instructor, teaching several different courses at LA Valley College, Pierce College and the College of the Canyons for a couple of years. I owe my career success to my graduate studies at CSUN.
My experience at CSUN was wonderful and I never forget the kindness and support of my adviser and other professors. I always felt welcome when I went to their office hours to get help in math problems or ask for their advice. With their support I completed the master's program in Applied mathematics and graduated with Honors which allowed me to start my career as a math instructor at community colleges.
My teaching experience at CSUN was the other factor that helped me with my career. I was offered a Teaching Associate position from my very first semester at CSUN and I taught college algebra as a lecturer. We had a TA training and I was assigned to a mentor. I was impressed by the amount of support I got from my mentor and the professors in the TA training class. They boosted my self-confidence in teaching, and with their valuable feedback I improved my teaching skills a lot.
Mitra Navab MS 2007
Professor at Pierce College
Marty Tippens, Ed.D., MS 2001, Chair, Mathematics Department, Woodbury University
"I started my post-secondary education in the arts as a music-major. During the course of that study, I developed a passion for mathematics that was nurtured and cultivated by each member of the CSUN mathematics faculty. Their dedication to my scholastic success led me to a long and rewarding career in math education. To this day, as an educator with a leadership role, I am sustained and empowered by the invaluable experiences and training received in my semesters at CSUN math."
Marty Tippens, Ed.D. MS 2001
Chair, Mathematics Department
Sheri Berger, MS 1995, Vice President of Academic Affairs at L.A. Pierce College
I would not be where I am today without the help and support of the faculty in the Math Department at CSUN. I started as a Pre-Business major at CSUN, but could not get required major courses. I took math instead. When I was in Math 262-Linear Algebra and Math 250-Calculus III, both professors suggested that I change my major. I continued in the teaching option towards my Bachelor's degree and was encourage by my department advisor along the way. I started the teaching credential program in my senior year, but became discourage in that program. My Field Theory professor encouraged me to pursue my Master's. This seemed like the perfect solution for me. I was able to continue with the rigor of mathematics, but teach and help others along the way. Many professors were encouraging, especially the faculty who worked with me on my thesis. While in the graduate program, I taught as a graduate assistant in Developmental Math. This training gave me invaluable experience allowing me to be hired full-time at LA Valley College. Today, I am the Vice President of Academic Affairs at LA Pierce College. I can say that I would not be here without the start I received in the Math Department at CSUN.
Sheri Berger MS 1995
Vice President of Academic Affairs at L.A. Pierce College