At a Glance

Year: '24
Major: Mathematics
Activities: Internship, UTeach, National Society of Black Engineers, Black Student Union, Association of Students of African Origin
Why UML? “UMass Lowell gave me the flexibility to navigate through different career paths.”

Mathematics BS

As a mathematics major, you will gain the tools for explanation and analysis in the physical world, and in engineering, business and the social sciences.

Ginika Okoli landed a sweet internship ahead of her senior year.

The mathematics major from Boston spent the summer in Newark, New Jersey, working as a data analytics intern for Mars Inc., which manufactures Snickers, M&M’s, Skittles and dozens of other food and pet products.

“They made me feel so included, welcomed and important,” Okoli says of the global company, which did $45 billion in sales in 2022. “It’s a great place to work.”

Determined to get an internship before graduating, Okoli joined UML’s Professional Co-op Program. Her “super-supportive” advisor, cooperative education Asst. Director Amanda Teixeira, helped her discover the Mars internship, which provided free housing in Jersey City, New Jersey, transportation and an hourly wage.

“How could I say no, especially knowing how iconic Mars is?” Okoli asks.

Okoli spent three months analyzing the company’s return on investment (ROI) for social media advertisements and other campaigns.

“We looked at what we are doing for our brand that’s going to bring us money back in return,” she explains.

Okoli created a computer model, using the programming language Python, that can predict future ROI for Mars based on current trends.

“I learned a lot because I don’t have a computing background, so that was fun and challenging,” says Okoli, who enrolled in a computer programming course at UMass Lowell after her internship to further develop her new coding skills.

As a member of UTeach, an undergraduate teacher preparation program for STEM majors, Okoli says the Mars internship helped her explore a different career option.

“I now have a new outlook on math,” she says. “There’s so much potential with my future degree.”

Okoli was not always a mathematics major: She was accepted to UMass Lowell as a business major before switching to environmental science and then education. Seeing Okoli’s interest in mathematics education, Asst. Teaching Prof. Katherine Miller introduced Okoli to UTeach Director Sumudu Lewis. After learning more about the program, Okoli decided to switch her major one last time to mathematics and add a UTeach minor.

“It’s been a journey,” says Okoli, who is considering getting a master’s degree in statistics. “I did not expect myself to be where I am right now, but UMass Lowell has held my hand the whole way.”

Okoli has gained teaching experience at Lowell High School and Lowell’s Stoklosa Middle School through the UTeach program. On campus, she’s involved with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Black Student Union and the Association of Students of African Origin.

“My biggest thing is making students feel that they’re welcomed in STEM spaces, especially students of color,” says Okoli, whose parents emigrated from Nigeria.

Okoli is keeping her career options open, but she says that whatever she does, it will be community-oriented.

“I want to go back to Boston and bring my knowledge and skill set to help out the community there,” she says.

Biggest takeaway from your internship?

Ginika Okoli headshot
“I now have a new outlook on math. There’s so much potential with my future degree.”