We are thrilled to introduce you to Karyn Sutton who shares her path and tips to make the most of her math skills in her career. Responses might be edited for length and clarity

  1. What is your current job/career?

I’m a senior research scientist at the IDM:Institute for Disease Modeling, located in Bellevue, Washington (which is a suburb of Seattle, and the home of Microsoft).

  1. How do you use math or mathematical problem solving in your work? How does your math background help you in your job?

We develop, modify, or simply use mathematical models and (related statistical tools) to work with organizations funding research or implementation of strategies, policy makers, etc. to help anticipate impact of disease control or prevention measures.

  1. What motivated you to study math?

I studied math because I didn’t want to restrict my studies to any one particular area of the sciences. A mathematics degree at any level affords us the opportunity to work on, and learn about, any number of topics, while providing an expertise that is often lacking and very appreciated.

  1. What would you say to a student who is thinking about studying math but doesn’t what a typical teaching career.

Most math majors do not end up in a `typical teaching career’, although that is an extremely valuable and worthy service! The skills that students learn as a math major open several doors that really can’t be fully anticipated. It is a set of skills that are very valued and sought after, and especially if one wants to work in any interdisciplinary setting, they’ve already learned “the hard part”, and can more easily get up to speed with the subject matter at hand.

  1. Other advice or comments?

Learn as much as you can about as many areas of mathematics, and their uses, as you can – even broad familiarity is useful and allows you to have productive conversations.

Check out more Math Career Spotlights on our Index!