This fall, Coppell High School senior Carter Kryzak will follow his father’s footsteps by attending Texas A&M University; he plans to major in mathematics. Texas A&M is a good option for Kryzak due to its affordability and flexibility for double majoring; he is considering double majoring in finance or business administration.
Why are you choosing to major in math?
I looked at math as a great way to get an intellectual foundation. I wanted to do something that starts concrete; math starts concrete, and as you progress, you’re going to progress into less concrete math – when you get into analysis courses, it’s going to seem more abstract. So I really liked how it laid a foundation and then allowed me to expand my knowledge.
When did you realize you want to pursue math?
After making it through GT Geometry with Mr. [Michael] Fields and GT Algebra II with Mr. [Tom] Porteus, which were classes that had challenged me – that was the moment, when I realized I really enjoyed being challenged in math.
What is your favorite type of math?
I like linear algebra a lot. Working with matrices is fun stuff, and it has a lot of applications, so that’s probably my favorite.
What sparked your math interest?
With a lot of things, people get interested in them because they’re good at them. That was part of it – I started out being good at math. But what made me choose math was great teachers. My freshman and sophomore year math teachers were just phenomenal. They were great for giving me a launching pad for math – Mr. Fields and Mr. Porteus. I really liked how they could take something that’s not exactly the most challenging math subject – like Geometry or Algebra II – and they could find a way to challenge their students within that curriculum. Sal Khan from Khan Academy also [helped spark my interest].
What are your career goals?
I’m honestly not sure if I have any end goals right now. I don’t think I really have to have anything figured out until I’m about 30. Until then, I’m just going to be learning new things. There are so many things out there for me to learn that I haven’t experienced yet.
But for possible professions, I’ve looked into being an actuary, I’ve looked into going into academia as a professor and I’ve also looked into finance type jobs.
What was your reaction to getting accepted to Texas A&M?
I was pretty happy. My dad went there, so it was a good moment for both of us to know I got in.
Have you done any math-related activities outside of school?
I did Math Olympiad in elementary and middle school, but once I got into high school, my extracurriculars changed to playing basketball and baseball, so that took up most of my time. I’m still able to do math things on my own, but I’m not necessarily involved in a particular math-related extracurricular.
Which courses are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to taking analysis courses. Because I know in geometry, one of the things that always intrigued me was proving different theorems, and I really think a course designed around that would teach me a lot.
What do say to people who do not like math?
People generally are bored by things they see as having a lack of creativity. So, whenever you’re learning math growing up, teachers are often unwilling to be super creative with math, or give creative/challenging problems, because they are coddling students; they want students to continue to be good at math for as long as they can. But as you explore more different problems and unconventional solutions, math can get more creative and interesting.
*An actuary is someone who organizes and analyzes statistics, then uses them to calculate insurance risks/premiums