Meet a Mathematics Major

Dorian Persaud ’16

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity
  • Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SHPE)
  • Class of 2018 Orientation Leader
  • Manhattan College Diversity Committee
  • Center for Academic Success Tutor
  • Manhattan Undergraduate Math Club (MUMC)

Why did you choose your major? 

For the longest while, I’ve always had an interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). After studying Electrical Engineering for two years, I realized that I’m very interested in the derivations of complex formulas that arise in engineering, pure and applied sciences, and finance. The mathematics major is well respected here since only about 1% of our student body is pursuing a degree towards it.

What has been your favorite class? 

After my first week in my Differential Equations (MATH 286) class, I truly realized how beautiful mathematics is and how it can be used to put the world into perspective. I’ve always loved calculus, whether it be teaching it or brushing up on previously learned approaches to problems. These types of courses encourage students to use their intuition and become innovators in regards to problem solving.

What are your plans after graduation?

After my time here as an undergraduate, I plan on pursuing a PhD in Industrial Engineering or Mathematics. I’m the first from my family to pursue a STEM related career and I understand how hard it can be to sometimes convey ideas in mathematics. I’ve thought about becoming a professor of mathematics or an actuary. I’ve always been open minded when it comes to career options, so I won’t shut myself short of the various paths that a degree in mathematics can take me.

What are the faculty like?

I honestly feel like we have the most well rounded faculty here at the mathematics department. The professors here are very approachable and willing to help in any way they can. We have some of the best mathematical minds here and I’m more than grateful to be part of such a department. In some shape or form, all the professors I have met thus far have helped me exceptionally. 

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

One of the things I love about mathematics is that there is no single formula for all cases. This leads to problem solving and intuitive thinking. Instead of memorizing, I’ve always loved knowing how to instead do a derivation from my given knowledge and make formulas as I go. Problem solving is a necessity and this major ensures just that.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

One of the most difficult things about this major is sometimes feeling like there is no direction to go when confronted with a problem. Many of the ideas we learned in middle school and high school were indoctrinated with set findings and ideas. When it comes to higher mathematics, we must be willing to step out of comfort zones and think innovatively. Problem solving comes in all shapes and forms, so we can’t always expect the answer to come to us instantly.

What advice would you give to new students trying to select a major?

It’s never too early to start thinking about career options! Keeping an open mind from the beginning is an essential when it comes to figuring out the direction you would like your professional life to head towards. I spent my first two years here at Manhattan College studying Electrical Engineering, but I soon realized that it’s not what you’re good at, but what you’re truly passionate about.