When it came time to apply for college, Lauren Black ’19 had absolutely no idea what she wanted. Opting for her state school, Black brought her love and propensity for mathematics with her from her hometown of Middletown, RI. Her decision turned out for the best, however. “URI was the perfect place for someone like me,” she says. “The math curriculum here appealed to me because it had enough structure that I would receive a solid foundation, but also enough flexibility that I would be able to try out a bunch of random electives and see what interested me.” She took a liking to URI’s Department of Mathematics and its faculty, who served as invaluable guides throughout her collegiate career. She reminisces on how Professor Mark Comerford’s rigorous Honors Calculus II course (taken Black’s freshman year) drove her to throw her heart into studying. This eventually landed her a recommendation from Professor Comerford to be a math tutor at the Academic Enhancement Center where she then tutored every semester until graduation.
After making the decision to pursue an actuarial career via the applied track of mathematics, Black soon declared a second major in Data Science. She graduated in May 2019 with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a B.A. in Data Science. Her future looks undeniably bright, as she has recently been hired by the PwC firm in Boston, a job she thanks URI for preparing her to go into. “One of the great things about URI math courses, at least the ones that I took, is that the professors seem to understand how important it is to be able to apply the material in a practical, problem-solving way,” she says. “Many of the classes had a project component or had little case studies throughout that introduced me to how real-world mathematicians approach real-world problems.” In addition, she thanks URI’s emphasis on the importance of learning new subject matter, making its students confident enough to succeed at anything they want to do. For advice to future students, Black looks back fondly on her time at URI, stating, “Get to know your professors, speak up if you find something interesting, try out the courses that catch your eye. And once you know what it is you want to pursue, push down that path, and you will find that the URI community supports you.”
-Written by Chase Hoffman ’21, Writing & Rhetoric and Anthropology Double Major