Joshua Collins

Class Year

’12

Hometown

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Major(s)

Mathematics

Minor(s)

Computer Science

Joshua Collins has always had a passion for travel. So he left his home in Alberta, Canada, to attend Carthage. The school’s modern atmosphere, small class sizes, and scholarship opportunities helped him make the decision to attend college far from home.

“It really seemed like a place that was determined to establish itself as an emerging school,” Joshua said of Carthage. “I plan on doing a master’s program in Denmark and touring the world a little before I establish my career.”

Carthage has already sent him around the world. He visited China for a J-Term study tour, which he considers one of the highlights of his Carthage experience.

“My friends still don’t believe me that I got credit to tour around China for an entire month,” he said. “We visited several cities along the southeast coast of the country studying the medicinal properties of tea. Only at Carthage would you get an experience like that.”

After graduation and graduate school, Joshua hopes to start his career in mathematics as an actuary and eventually move into a professorial role.

“I have always enjoyed working with numbers and the problem-solving that is required in mathematics,” he explained. “When I realized that you could make a good wage doing it, I was sold.”

Joshua has worked closely with multiple professors within the Mathematics Department. In addition to studying for his actuarial exams with Prof. Mark Snavely, he participated in the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Program under the mentorship of Prof. Erik Tou. Through the SURE program, he conducted number-theoretic research on the mathematical properties of juggling.

“This was a fantastic experience,” Joshua said. “It allowed me to apply my education to a more professional setting and get paid to do it as well.”

“It’s easy to go tunnel-vision on your major and lose track of all the other amazing things happening around you. So whether it is taking a crazy class that you never would imagine yourself taking, or getting involved with an organization, just make sure you get out and discover the whole college experience.”

Joshua Collins, ’12

Career goal

“As of now, I see myself starting my career as an actuary and hopefully some time later, ending up teaching in academia.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“I enjoyed Dr. Chell from the Mathematics Department. I had her for Abstract Algebra, which was one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever taken. However, I was challenged to expand my mathematical thinking to areas that I never had thought of before and really improved my writing skills.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class was probably Discrete Structures. It was my first time leaving the familiar world of numbers and equations that I had been so accustomed to from studying math. However, we instead did logic puzzles and other abstract thinking that I had no idea was part of math too.”

Campus involvement

“I am heavily involved in running the Ultimate Frisbee Clubteam on campus. Within the last few years, we have turned a bunch of kids throwing around a plastic disc, to a competitive team that goes to multiple tournaments a year. Organizing everything at times can be a little stressful, but and I love the sport and the people in the club make it all worthwhile.”

“Also I have been a leader in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, which is an organization that establishes a community for both Christians and non-Christians to fellowship together. My favorite part has been leading a Bible Study comprised of freshmen. I remember when I was in one myself as a freshman, and it’s been so fulfilling giving back to them and helping them with the transition to college life.”

Toughest class

Real Analysis has definitely been my toughest class. It makes you prove all those simple things that you took for granted when you learned math in elementary and middle school. Like prove (-1)(-1)=1. Ridiculous …”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“All of the people I have met during my time at Carthage have definitely been my favorite moments. The wide array of personalities and opinions in all of the clubs, classes, and people I’ve lived with is something I will remember forever.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot is definitely the hot tub. It’s an underground secret that very few people take advantage of, but nothing beats chilling there after a long week.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise has definitely been how much I’ve learned outside of the classroom. I’ve always been an academic type, but after going here, I became so involved in clubs and other things on campus that I feel that’s where I really learned the most about myself.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Make sure to take advantage of the well-rounded education offered at Carthage. It’s easy to go tunnel-vision on your major and lose track of all the other amazing things happening around you. So whether it is taking a crazy class that you never would imagine yourself taking, or getting involved with an organization, just make sure you get out and discover the whole college experience.”