Bachelor of Science (with a double major in Mathematics and Physics)
Why did you choose to study Mathematics/Physics at Newcastle?
Newcastle University has a good national reputation in many areas, including mathematics. The Mathematical and Physical sciences faculty is known to have some top mathematicians in many fields of mathematics, and since my high school teachers had a profound impact on my learning during my secondary education, I thought that this was an important asset for a University to have.
The University's size was also a bonus in that it is not too big, yet not too small. By not being as large as some Universities I chose Newcastle on the assumption that there may be more student/lecturer interaction when help was required.
Having these two aspects lead me to choose Newcastle over other Universities in Australia as I believe that such traits will give me the best possible career prospects at the completion of my degree. I also believe that such traits will enable me to actually learn mathematics, thus providing me with confidence in applying for a job in the field.
The 'coastal town' lifestyle of Newcastle was also appealing for me as I grew up in rural Australia and did not want to live in a city.
What was the best thing about your degree program?
The training I'm receiving by undertaking a degree has given me a much more quantitative approach to solving problems in regards to mathematics as well as everyday experiences. I have found that I have learnt many transferable skills which benefit my day to day activities. Learning problem solving skills and gaining cultural and social experiences have helped me develop as a person and gaining such skills and knowledge is definitely the best thing about undertaking any degree program.
How did you find the support and service of staff at the University?
The support of the staff at the University is great! I'm the kind of person who questions almost anything, and so I have been thoroughly pleased to have had such a responsive faculty. Often I knock on the door of academics I don't even know, yet their time to help me is never scarce. Their patience and knowledge is amazing and many, if not all, are good role models for any young mathematician.
There are also times when you need people to guide you in the right direction in terms of which courses would be worthwhile to take, and which would be best suited for your individual needs. I have found that both the academic and administrative staff have been more than helpful in such discussions.
Where are you currently working and what are you currently doing? How will your Mathematics/Physics degree help you in your professional life?
I am currently in my second year as an undergraduate so I am not as yet using my University education in the workforce. I wish to pursue further research in what I enjoy and go on to post-graduate study. With such a background I hope to broaden my career opportunities as a mathematician or physical scientist.
What advice would you give to future students considering studying Mathematics/Physics at Newcastle?
It's easy to think that successful mathematicians are born rather than made, but like many professions, a lot of it is down to being in the right place at the right time, and just doing something you enjoy. Talking from experience, I'd advise people considering taking a math major to have an interest in the area and to work hard in what they enjoy, in doing so the staff and facilities at Newcastle University will help them reap the rewards.