Alyson Flood graduated from GVSU in 2010 with majors in both mathematics and biology and went on to earn a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Michigan State University. She is now employed at Prein & Newhof, a Grand Rapids based firm that provides environmental engineering and consulting services.
Alyson’s position is that of an Engineer in Training, and she will be eligible to take the Professional Engineer Exam within a couple years. Her current job responsibilities include designing water, wastewater, and storm systems in West Michigan. She also conducts construction site observations and inspections, performs quantitative analyses, and prepares reports.
With regard to how her mathematics major helps with her work, Alyson states that the problem solving skills she developed are extremely useful for decision-making purposes. She also feels her technical communication skills serve her well when she consults with clients and residents in project areas. Most important, however, is the strong quantitative background she acquired from her calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and programming courses.
Alyson advises students to research jobs they can acquire with their majors, be it in mathematics or any other field, to seek out internships, and to consider whether working in certain fields will require a post-graduate degree. She utilized GVSU career services both prior to completing her undergraduate and masters degrees and suggests students consult with their professors, who are the “best resources.”
Alyson also encourages students to recognize the breadth of the mathematics by stating, “…realize that getting a math degree goes far beyond calculus—it involves a study of the science of mathematics, theories, proofs, even the history of math (that’s the best part of the degree!)”