"They knew what I was capable of before I knew it myself."
It would seem odd to some that anyone could be passionate about mathematics, but the professors at Saint Mary’s College are so enthusiastic they’ve won over many students to the major, including Arianna Iannuzzi ’18. Since that Calculus II class in her first semester, Arianna has been hooked.
“One of my professors, Colleen Hoover, came in every day so excited. She just loved it and so I loved it too.”
Arianna didn’t come to Saint Mary’s to study mathematics. Actually Saint Mary’s wasn’t in the plan at all. Like many of her friends she intended to go to a large state school, probably in her native California. Thanks to a generous financial aid package and the draw of the small campus experience, Arianna took a chance and enrolled without ever visiting.
She hasn’t regretted the decision a bit. “If I’d gone to a state school I probably wouldn’t have gone this far.”
Receiving individualized attention
The small class sizes enable the professors to get to know students for who they are as individuals. “They knew what I was capable of before I knew it myself.”
Recognizing her interest and talents in abstract algebra, one of Arianna’s professors invited her to work with him in his research on geometric group theory. The research project has become part of her senior comp, and with the full support of her professors, she’s taking a graduate level algebra course at Notre Dame. “The professors expect a lot from you. They’re going to push you farther, watch you grow, and you’re going to succeed.”
Making the most of opportunities
Looking back at who she was when she first started her Saint Mary’s journey, Arianna can hardly believe the transformation. “It’s amazing to compare who you were then, and who you are now. So different.”
That kind of change can only happen when you’re challenged to go outside your comfort zone. “I did a summer research internship at Texas A&M with mostly guys. Because of the confidence I gained at Saint Mary’s I didn’t feel like, ‘oh I’m just a girl.’ I knew I could do it.”
Pursuing her next steps
Sooner than she can believe, Arianna’s time at Saint Mary’s will end and she’ll start on the next journey. She plans to get her PhD in pure mathematics so that some day she can be the professor inspiring students to do more than they ever thought they were capable of achieving. “I’d love to teach at a college like Saint Mary’s, a school that cares about its students.”