by Alex Boesch, Student Public Relations Writer
Students majoring in mathematics and mathematics education at Cedarville University are doing more than crunching the numbers as they crush academic standards, highlighting a program dedicated to postgraduate success and exceeding others of its size.
Pursuing careers in collegiate math education or actuarial science, seven students have been accepted into multiple esteemed Ph.D. programs or in actuarial departments within the insurance industry.
Programs accepting these students include Western Michigan University, Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, Purdue University, Penn State University and Binghamton University. Many of these schools are also offering teaching assistantships or fellowships to these high-achieving students.
“We have a very strong class coming through,” said Dr. Kevin Roper, professor of mathematics. “All of them have either been accepted to Ph.D. programs or jobs in the actuarial field, which will eventually give them a foot in the door to the insurance industry. This group has done so well.”
These students include Elise VerSchneider, from Liverpool, New York; Darryl Jent, from Springfield, Ohio; Matthew Kortje, from Twentynine Palms, California; Emma Dobson, from Galien, Michigan; Catie Riley, from Augusta, Maine; Stuart White, from Warminster, Pennsylvania; and David Matej, from Springfield, Pennsylvania.
The program’s effectiveness is evidenced in Major Fields Testing. “Our seniors take the Major Fields Test for math, which gives us an idea of how they compare to students at other universities,” said Roper. “For the last four years, we have consistently ranked in the 98th and 99th percentiles. That’s about as good as it gets.”
Roper recalls multiple reports with positive feedback on Cedarville math graduates, “I asked a professor at a top state university about a particular student and was pleased to hear she was their best student.”
The reason for their success? Roper explains that Cedarville University’s math major sets a high bar and is specially designed to equip students for education at the next level.
“Most schools of our size have fewer math professors.” said Roper. “We have nine. I know a school with only one math professor. The wide variety of expertise allows us to exclusively teach our true focus or discipline, providing a better experience for the students.”
Additionally, Cedarville requires two rigorous five-hour calculus classes for math students in their freshman year, a credit hour longer than most universities. “This is a very solid foundation,” Roper added. “These classes are necessary to prepare students for the high expectations of our program. Even I had to step up my game when I started teaching calculus here.”
To prepare students for graduate school, seniors in the program do grad-level work. “I use the same textbook I read as a first-year Ph.D. student in my 4000-level courses here,” Roper said. “Other professors here do the same.”
The students graduating from the program feel more equipped for what’s next because of the program’s thorough approach and design.
“My math professors have pushed me to think like a mathematician,” said senior Emma Dobson. “I could not have grown as much as I have if it were not for their high academic expectations and their constant encouragement. My professors have also guided me through the entire process of getting into grad school.
“Because of the encouragement and support I have had at Cedarville, I will be able to confidently attend Western Michigan University's Ph.D. math program this fall.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in mathematics, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.