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Mathematics

The curriculum delves deeply into a wide range of the many and varied branches of mathematics. Your courses will focus on developing deductive reasoning and persuasive writing abilities, as well as analytical and quantitative, problem-solving skills. You will explore both the abstract, theoretical aspects of math and applications to a variety of topics. Math students routinely attend conferences to present the results of work they completed with guidance and supervision by a faculty member.

Jonah Boucher '17
As part of his summer research project, Jonah Boucher ’17 works on a custom remote-operated vehicle that collects samples of biofilm (patches of bacteria) from a meromictic lake near Syracuse, N.Y.

A math lover’s perspective: challenges, collaborations and multiple options

It seemed like all the math Jonah Boucher ’17 had learned so far came crashing together in his 300-level Real Analysis course – in a good way. “It felt like the first step into the real world of mathematics. And what was so surprising about it was a lot of it was late 18th-century, early 19th-century math. The Math Department sort of starts to feel like history once you get into the 300s and 400s, where you are working your way through the history of math. And even stuff that old is still mind-blowing,” says Boucher, who won three awards for outstanding academic performance his first year at Hamilton. His other major is environmental studies, with a biology focus. He figures that with two strong majors in his pocket he will have lots of options, including grad school, after he graduates. Boucher spent the summer after his sophomore year doing research with a professor to analyze certain chemical and microbiological properties of a meromictic lake near Syracuse, N.Y.

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One of the things Boucher likes about studying math at Hamilton is how professors encourage student collaboration and work closely with students. He says he’s in his professors’ offices at least three times a week, and students gather in nearby common space to wrestle with homework. The professors are expert at encouraging them to stretch academically, Boucher says. “They are very good about giving you just enough of a push while also letting you struggle for an hour if that’s what you need to do. It’s kind of tough parenting – it feels like (they) let you fight your way through,” he says.

Mark Kasdorf ’06
“Serial entrepreneur” Mark Kasdorf ’06, shown here at the Intrepid headquarters, has launched four companies since he graduated from Hamilton.

A graduate’s progress: an entrepreneur in motion

As a math major at Hamilton College, Mark Kasdorf ’06 studied theorems and wrote proofs aplenty. He doesn’t crunch the hard numbers anymore, but he solves problems daily as CEO and founder of the iOS application development consulting firm Intrepid Pursuits. He was named Emerging Executive of the Year by the Mass Technology Leadership Council. In 2011, he launched Hamilton’s first business pitch competition to introduce entrepreneurship to students.

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As for his learning curve, Kasdorff went straight from Hamilton into law school and about halfway through, he started his first company, Burning Hollow Technologies. The company ran out of money in 2010 and to generate enough cash flow to pay two software developers Kasdorf had hired, he started Intrepid Pursuits.

He majored in math because he loved math.

“I don’t live and breathe what I majored in,” Kasdorf says. “However, there’s no doubt in my mind that my Hamilton education was integral in preparing me to do all of the types of things I do today…Hamilton prepared me in so much as it taught me to think.”