Mathematics Graduate Student Association Spotlight

Advancing one’s academic career into a graduate program can be a stressful, exciting experience. Luckily, when students decide to pursue their graduate degree in mathematics at CWRU, they are automatically a part of the Mathematics Graduate Student Association (MGSA). Students are able to benefit from the group’s support and take part in funded activities such as laser tag, nature walks, Guardians games and more.

“We’re less of a math group, and more of a community who happen to be math people,” says Roland Baumann, current chair of MGSA.

Role of MGSA
MGSA juggles both student and department concerns, and has recently been prioritizing community building in addition to running events and activities. The organization serves as an advocate for their students, working with them and the department. 

Graduate students’ experience numerous levels of education as teaching assistants, tutors, supplemental instructors and lecturers. The group helps new students transition into these new phases by providing lectures from more experienced students, communicating about aspects of graduate programs that new students may not be familiar with or expect, assisting them with paperwork, and helping international students get acclimated.

Personal and departmental development
“I didn’t know I had a passion for math that I wanted to pursue further until my senior year of undergrad,” Baumann said. “Learning to organize your time and energy and tackling the huge exams that come with the first year of grad school can be very stressful, so we make sure to check in with the students.”

As Baumann continued in his doctoral program, he realized that graduate school really suited him, and used his role in MGSA to help other new students transition as easily as possible.

“New students receive lots of preparatory advice, but it tends to sink in more when you hear it from another student who has actually gone through the process, as opposed to an administrative email.”