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Math Careers Awareness

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jumping onto a possible societal shift in how mathematics is viewed in relation to careers, the official poster for Mathematics Awareness Month 2015 pictures and quotes 10 professionals in a variety of fields, explaining how they use mathematics in their work.

“I use probability theory, statistics, and programming to convert human language into data ... [for] speech recognition, information extraction, and automatic translation,” says Valeria de Paiva, senior research scientist at Nuance Communications, Sunnyvale, California.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Adler, an advanced analytics consultant for Promontory Growth in Washington, D.C., helps clients “run their businesses more efficiently” using “statistical models, optimization techniques, and software.”

Photos and quotes from professionals in mathematics adorn this Math Drives Careers poster from Mathematics Awareness Month 2015

Although public understanding of math’s relevance outside education has at times appeared lacking, a recent listing named “mathematician” as the “best job of 2014,” portraying the career as a versatile one leading to options in the private, non-profit, or public sectors.

Downloading and printing the “Math Drives Careers” poster is one way to celebrate Mathematics Awareness Month, an April observance sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. More information from professionals who use mathematics is available at

Other ways to observe the month are to spread the word about the DPI Mathematics PLC Google Community, the DPI Mathematics website, or the mathematics examples in My Wisconsin Standards. The DPI started My Wisconsin Standards to help parents and educators understand and implement Wisconsin’s academic standards.

Educators can ride the inspiration of this month by signing up for upcoming professional development opportunities such as the Wisconsin Mathematics Council 2015 Annual Conference with the theme of “Measuring Mathematical Proficiency” (May 6-8), or the Wisconsin Statewide Mathematics Initiative Summer Institutes (offered through the Brookhill Institute of Mathematics).

Also, coalitions of school districts, higher education, and others have until May 22 to apply for Mathematics and Science Partnership grants to fuel quality professional development in math and science in 2015-16.