# Snapshots: Meet Boyana Martinova

Recently, the Math Department chatted with Boyana Martinova about a number of things, including why she's a math major and what makes the department special.

**Why did you choose math as your major?**

I chose math because I love problem solving. I always knew I wanted to pursue a degree in math because, unlike most things, there is always a right answer, which I find incredibly satisfying.

**What do you like about the Math Department? What makes it special?**

The Math Department is relatively small, so it’s a tight-knit group of people. Since the class sizes are small, I’ve gotten to know my professors and peers really well, which makes it feel as if I am hanging out with my friends, learning about something we all find super interesting rather than just sitting in math class. Additionally, since you get to know your classmates so well, there’s a strong support system within the department, and you can always find someone willing to help you. I think that’s really special, and you don’t usually find that at an institution as large as the U.

**What kind of research or internship opportunities have you had? How did you find them?**

I’ve been conducting research with the same professor since the spring semester of my freshman year. As an incoming freshman, I participated in the ACCESS Program for Women in Science and Mathematics, which introduced me to research and helped me find a lab in the department. I have stuck with it ever since.

**How has the research helped prepare you for a career?**

Participating in research as an undergrad has entirely shaped what I want to do professionally. I came into college thinking I wanted to work in industry, but after a few semesters of research, I know that I actually want to do research for as long as possible. There are countless topics in math that we're just starting to understand, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of that process.

**What do you plan to do with your math degree?**

I will be graduating in the spring, and my plan is to move on to a Ph.D. program in Pure Mathematics. I still have so much to learn, and I can’t wait to explore the subfields within math that interest me most, such as abstract algebra. Ultimately, I want to continue my research and hopefully make a career in academia.

**What do you wish you had known about the department when you applied to the U in high
school?**

I wish I'd known how well ranked the U’s Math Department is! I originally applied to the U because it was close to home and had everything that I was looking for, but I had no idea of the great reputation of the department. If I'd known this, it definitely would have made my decision of where to go to college easier.

**What advice would you give to high school students who are considering joining the
U and majoring in math?**

One huge piece of advice I have is that anyone can do math! I know math can seem daunting at times, but all that’s needed to be successful is a passion for math and some determination. The other students and faculty at the U have been consistently supportive of my endeavors in the field, and I can’t envision a better place to get an undergraduate degree.

**What do you think are some of the selling points of the department that high school
students should know about?**

Unlike other institutions, the Math Department has an abundance of research opportunities for undergraduates. There are even programs that pay undergrads to work on a research project with a professor, so it’s really easy to get involved.