GWU alumnus speaks about career opportunities for math majors

gwu-today photo by Chase Hockema

Story by: Chase Hockema

To educate undergraduates about the benefits of majoring in mathematics, a Gardner-Webb alumnus returned to campus on Thursday, September 22nd.

Chinwendu Enyioha, a 2008 graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, spoke at an open meeting held by Gardner-Webb’s Math Department early Thursday morning. He shared his passion for mathematics, the struggles he had faced, and the opportunities his major had given him.

“I think it’s fair to say I did the typical things,” Enyoiha said. “I did sports, intramurals, clubs and Dimensions.” In addition those activities, he also conducted summer research outside of Gardner-Webb. He worked at both the University of Minnesota and the University of Pasadena, where he discovered his passion for mathematical theory.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Enyioha decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. “I didn’t want to teach,” he said. “I wanted to work with pure math [and] real problems where the beauty of mathematics shows up.” Once he finished the program, Enyioha began exploring a career as a research professor. He began by working with network reliability and control problems, and then transitioned into optimizing the allocation of limited resources. Today, Enyioha researches solutions for managing power with limited communication.

“Suppose you’re managing drones in Iran, and you need to talk to the base station,” he said. “And you only have a [limited amount of time] in which to [relay information]. How do you decided what to transmit, when to transmit, and how to transmit? These are the problems [I help] to answer.”

There are many other career fields that mathematics and engineering majors have the opportunity to pursue: artificial intelligence, stock market predictions, consumer behavior modeling, coding and cryptography. Enyioha stressed the importance of exploring these options as early as possible, both as an undergraduate and graduate student. “You’ve been given a solid base,” he said. “Develop it while you have the time. Do something at Gardner-Webb that makes you stand out.”

According to Enyioha, the greatest advantages mathematics majors have are their professors. They have connections to alumni, know about local opportunities, and can write recommendations for research programs. “Your odds increase when you have more information,” he said.

For more information about Gardner-Webb’s Mathematics undergraduate program, contact the chair of the Mathematical Sciences Department, Tammy Hoyle at [email protected].