At a Glance

Year: ‘23
Major(s): Mathematics
Activities: Honors College, Engaging Computing Group, Ultimate Frisbee, Intramural Sports

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.

When John Kelly ’23 visited UMass Lowell as a high school senior, he was wowed by the residence halls, academic buildings and the overall campus layout. But it was scholarships and opportunities for hands-on experience that ultimately won him over.

“I got a good financial aid package from UMass Lowell when I was admitted, including a merit scholarship from the Immersive Scholars program,” says the honors mathematics alum from Ashland, Massachusetts.

Through the program, Kelly received $4,000 to conduct research on campus or in the community. While scouring JobHawk, UML’s student employment website, he came across a posting for the Engaging Computing Group, a research team in the Miner School of Computer and Information Sciences. With past experience coding in high school, Kelly decided this would be a good fit.

Kelly joined the group and got involved with web development for a virtual reality programming environment called My Reality (MYR), which teaches children how to use code to build 3D scenes. After one year, he became the lead developer for the project.

“I really enjoyed the work and found that this was a skill that I’m good at,” says Kelly, who added a minor in computer science.

Kelly came to UMass Lowell unsure of the path he wanted to take. He chose to major in mathematics because he excelled in the subject and felt he could apply it to different careers.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with a math degree,” he says. “I was just like, ‘I’ll figure it out as I go.’”

An elective course helped Kelly discover his career interests. During his sophomore year, Kelly took Geographic Information Systems and became hooked. The class, instructed by George Waddington, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, taught Kelly how computer systems analyze geographic information.

“I really liked the class, so I decided that’s what I wanted to pursue for my career,” he says.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in three years (thanks in part to advanced placement credits from high school), Kelly landed an internship with the United States Geological Survey, where he is working remotely with a team to develop an online database that tracks conservation efforts across the country.

“I think a big selling point with the Geological Survey was my computer science experience at UMass Lowell, which I might not have explored had I gone to a different university, so I’m very thankful for that,” he says.

Following the internship, Kelly will be going to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, to earn a master’s degree in geographic information science.

“I’m still exploring the exact job I want, but I now know it’ll be something within the geographic information systems field,” he says.

Why major in math?

John Kelly headshot
“The major is broad enough to be able to apply it to a lot of different careers.”