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Wall Street Journal Ranks Mathematicians in Top 10 Best Jobs of 2014

Jul 25, 2014

Another day, another reason to get better at math.

It’s no secret that quantitative skills are in high demand on the job market—one analytics recruiter recently told The Journal that workers who can’t crunch numbers may ultimately face a “permanent pink slip.”

Now, a new ranking from the job-search website names mathematician as the best occupation of 2014. “Math skills unlock a world of career opportunities,” publisher Tony Lee said. (Cue the Square One theme, and tune in Mathnet.)

Data whizzes of all stripes fared well in the annual list: Statisticians (No. 3), actuaries (No. 4) and computer systems analysts (No. 8) all landed near the top.

Mathematicians pull in a midlevel income of $101,360, according to, and the field is expected to grow 23% in the next eight years. Other high earners include actuaries and software engineers, who can expect to earn about a midlevel income of $93,000 per year.

More on the Wall Street Journal Ranking

Cal Poly Ranked Best in the West by U.S. News for 21st Consecutive Year

Jul 25, 2014

Cal Poly has been rated the best public-master’s university in the West in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 America’s Best Colleges guidebook — the 21st consecutive year the university has earned the label.

Cal Poly ranked ninth in the magazine’s overall list of the West’s best universities, including both public and private institutions that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.” U.S. News ranks colleges that grant doctoral degrees, such as those in the University of California system, in a separate category.

“Cal Poly’s excellence is deep and enduring, as shown by our continued success in this prestigious ranking,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “This honor belongs to our dedicated faculty and staff members, who provide the backbone of the Learn by Doing experience. And it belongs to our loyal alumni, whose generous support enriches the educational experience that transforms our students into the innovative leaders and resourceful professionals who can help solve society’s most difficult challenges.”

Continue reading Cal Poly Ranked Best in the West...

Cal Poly Math Academy in the News

Jul 25, 2014

Amélie Schinck-Mikel, a first-generation college graduate, said she remembers the first time she stepped onto a college campus. 

“It was just awe-inspiring,” she said.

Elsa Medina, also a first-generation college graduate, added “scary” and overwhelming, too.

“In my family, there was no one who would guide me in the process, and (college application is) a very extensive process,” she said.

The two women, now Cal Poly math professors, direct a one-week summer Math Academy, which began Monday and ends Friday. The academy, founded in 2012, encompassed three college visits into math-focused programming. But grant restrictions have since rendered previously available funding for the college travel obsolete.

More on Math Academy in the Santa Maria Times

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Brian Jones works on the Putnam Math Exam. Jones was Cal Poly's top scorer with 30 points. The median score at this year's competition was one.

Cal Poly Places in Top Seven Percent Nationwide at Prestigious Math Competition

Jul 7, 2014

Contact: Morgan Sherman

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Results were released for the 2013 Putnam Math Competition, and Cal Poly placed an impressive 36th out of 557 schools participating. This is Cal Poly's second top 50 finish in three years on the notoriously difficult annual exam taken by undergraduates.

"To put it in perspective, this is like making it to the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament but with 200 more teams vying for a spot to begin with," said Professor Jonathan Shapiro, who coached the team in past years.

The six-hour exam consists of 12 problems solved in two three-hour sittings, no calculators allowed. Each school selects three students whose scores determine that school’s ranking. Out of a possible 120 points, the median score for the 2013 exam was one point.

Brian Jones was the top scorer for Cal Poly with 30 points and an overall ranking of 266th out of 4,113 competitors, which placed him in the top six percent. Matthew Rodrigues scored 28 points for a rank of 365th, and freshman Michael Boulos scored 10 points for a rank of 1,324th. 

Other Cal Poly students who scored on the Putnam Exam but whose scores did not count toward the final ranking include Lumin Sperling and Tyler Jorgens with 10 points each and Derek Tietze and Michael Bower with eight points each.

"We are very excited about our students' performances," said Professor Morgan Sherman, who coached the team this year. "The exam focuses on creativity and problem-solving skills, areas where Cal Poly students excel, and we see that they can compete with some of the best schools in the country."

For more on the competition and the 2013 results, go to the website for the Mathematical Association of America.

About the Putnam Competition

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, often abbreviated to the Putnam Competition, is an annual mathematics competition for undergraduate college students enrolled at institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and Canada, and Tel-Aviv University. It awards scholarships with cash prizes ranging from $250 to $2,500 for the top students and $5,000 to $25,000 for the top schools. The top 10 individual finishers get tuition waived at Harvard. It is considered by many to be the most prestigious university-level mathematics exam in the world. The competition was founded in 1927 by Elizabeth Lowell Putnam in memory of her husband William Lowell Putnam, who was an advocate of intercollegiate intellectual competition. The exam has been offered annually since 1938 and is administered by the Mathematical Association of America.



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