Tamantha Pizarro ’20 Shares How Iona Nurtured Her Love of Mathematics
Pizarro confidently chose to pursue graduate studies following a successful Iona journey
Tamantha Pizarro ’20 strengthened her love of mathematics as a student at Iona University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in economics.
Taking her talents to the next level, she is currently a candidate for the Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences Ph.D. program at Arizona State.
During her time at Iona, Pizarro seized an opportunity to gain valuable research skills through a program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). Due to her involvement in REU, she developed a strong starting point for graduate-level topics and course work.
“Math and science were always my better-performing subjects in school,” said Pizarro. “Iona prepared me with a strong foundation in mathematics, which is needed for graduate studies.”
When asked to share advice for current students, Pizzaro said, “Be diligent in going to office hours for concepts you are having difficulty with and to not be hard on yourself.”
“Whether you further your education or decide to go into the workforce, persistence and seeking help when needed is crucial,” said the Walden, N.Y. native.
We talked recently with Pizarro to learn more about her Iona journey. Please enjoy!
Name: Tamantha Pizarro
Graduation Year: 2020
Hometown: Walden, N.Y.
High School: Valley Central High School
Graduate Degree/Institution: Arizona State University
Why did you decide to study your particular major(s)?
I decided to major in mathematics for a couple reasons. Math and science were always my better performing subjects in school. My biggest reason was due to my positive experiences in high school, specifically senior year taking AP Calculus. I enjoyed this course a lot and had a teacher that was enthusiastic about math which pushed me to choose math as my major. The job opportunities mathematics provides was another reason for choosing my major.
How did Iona prepare you to get where you are today?
Iona prepared me by giving me a strong foundation in mathematics studies needed for graduate studies. During my time at Iona, I participated in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) during the summers. This further pushed me to attend graduate school. Iona played a huge part in helping me obtain these REUs.
I gained experience in research and learned topics such as dynamical models, data exploration, and probabilistic modeling. The highlight of the REUs was being involved in a student research group where we developed a project presented at the end of the program. Some graduate-level topics were introduced to me in these REUs. Mathematical proofs, mathematical analysis, differential equations, linear algebra, and probability and statistics were mathematical concepts I learned at Iona that helped me in the REUs and graduate school.
What do you love most about what you're currently doing?
I am currently in graduate school, and I love the continual learning and growth. During my undergraduate studies, I learned a lot, but grad school has opened me up to so much more.
What is a day in the life like at your company/in your role?
I work as a Research Assistant (RA) while part of a Ph.D. program. This entails working on research with a professor and consists of weekly or bi-weekly meet ups. I also have classes a couple of times a week. Later on in the program, research is more of the focus.
What is the lasting impact Iona has made in your personal and professional life?
Iona helped me be stronger and push through adversities. College was the first time dealing with difficulties in classes and research experiences. I also dealt with issues outside of the classroom and had to balance personal life and school. Going through college at Iona helped me learn how to push through and conquer challenges.
What advice do you have for a current Iona student who wants to follow a similar path?
I would advise to be diligent in going to office hours for concepts you are having difficulty with and to not be hard on yourself. Whether you further your education or decide to go into the workforce, persistence and seeking help when needed is crucial.