Double Majoring at Mudd – Senior Takeaways from Cedar Turek and Josephine Adams

By Alina Saratova

Cedar dressed for the Colorado avalanche

Year: Senior

Dorm: Atwood

Majors: Math + Engineering

Why the double major?

I took a lot of math classes in high school, so I was pretty set on math when I came to Mudd. Spring semester my freshman year, one of my engineering friends made a hammer in E4, and I thought that the hammer was pretty cool, so I did a trial-by-fire semester sophomore fall and took E4, CS 60, and E82 all at once. I enjoyed engineering a lot, and I got lucky because E80 (which is one of the hardest engineering classes) got pushed from sophomore to junior year due to COVID. If that hadn’t happened, I might not have actually double majored, because that would have meant taking a lot of courses all at once.

The benefit of being a double major is that I can quickly switch to something very different. So, I can do lots of research, but also grutor for many classes. Right now, I am grutoring for graph theory, and I spend a lot of time with students working on really difficult problems. I really enjoy grutoring. If you didn’t need a Ph.D. to teach somewhere like Mudd, I would definitely do that. 

Why not an Individual Program of Studies (IPS)?

I was thinking of doing an IPS with math and engineering, but once I planned it out, I realized I was actually able to take enough classes and place out of enough courses to double major. 

Favorite math class: Complex Analysis

Favorite engineering class: E85 (specifically because of how it was taught!)

On-campus activities: Playing violin in orchestra, machine shop proctor, MuddEscapes

Favorite color: So I went through a phase of my life where I tried to convince myself it was orange, but I think it’s still red. 

Fun fact: My nose is broken. 

Hot take: I don’t like Hoch poke bowls. 

Year: Senior

Dorm: West

Majors: Mathematical and Computational Biology (MCB) + Science, Technology and Society (STS)

Why MCB?

When I came to Mudd, I knew I wanted to do some kind of biology because biology is my favorite science. But there were so many cool classes in Core, and I thought they were all really interesting and useful. I am glad that Mudd has a major as interdisciplinary as MCB, where I can combine so many of my interests.

Why not an Individual Program of Studies (IPS)?

If MCB didn’t exist, I’m not sure that I would have done an IPS. I probably would have only majored in biology. But if someone would have given the idea to me, I definitely would have been open to an IPS.

Why STS?

I fell into STS completely by chance. I was already taking quite a few STS-related classes, and at one point my HSA advisor said, “You’re taking a lot of classes in this area. Do you want to just double major?” I looked into it and said yes.

Any STS reading recommendations?

If people are interested in learning more about STS topics, I would recommend looking into the general history and philosophy of science, and also books by Bruno Latour and Langdon Winner such as “The Whale and the Reactor.”

How are you spending your last few weeks on campus?

In my last semester, I am taking extra time to appreciate and spend time with my friends before we go off to different parts of the world. At Mudd, I tend to stay on campus a lot, but I have a couple 5C friends thanks to STS, and we’ll go to Eureka or one of their dorms to hang out — because no one wants to hike up to Mudd.

What are your post-grad plans?

After graduation, I’m going to New York, where I plan to work as a data analyst for a cancer institute. 

Favorite MCB class: Molecular Genetics — it was the first class that made me feel like a biologist

Favorite STS class: History of Science and Technology in the Modern World

On-campus activities: Bio research, tennis, squash (before Pomona rebuilt their athletic center).

Favorite color: Black, if you consider that a color; otherwise, lavender.

Fun fact: I think ancient Roman history is really cool, but World War II history is also really cool (not the World War II history people though).

Hot take: I think sprinkles are good on their own. 

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