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Mills’ first math MA


Alison Mirin gave the first defense of a math thesis on April 6. (Courtesy of Alison Mirin)

Graduate student Alison Mirin, 23, is set to become Mills’ first graduate with an MA in mathematics.

Mirin is part of the College’s 4+1 program, which allows undergraduates to earn both a BA and an MA in five years. She first came to Mills in Fall 2006, when she was 17.  In January 2011, she graduated with a BA in math and a BA in philosophy, and will finish her MA in math this semester.

As part of her thesis work, she gave a presentation in mathematics at Mills College on April 6. Her talk on mathematical logic was titled, “On Relation Algebras and Canonical Extensions of Boolean Algebras with Operators.”

In addition to her graduate work at Mills, Mirin is cross-registered at UC Berkeley, where she is taking several of her graduate courses.

Being a woman in mathematics, a notoriously male-dominated field, gives Mirin a lot of extra attention.

“I like it,” Mirin said. “People notice me more because I’m one of the few female students.”

With a math degree, there are a myriad of post-graduate options for Mirin to choose from.

“There’s a lot of stuff you can do with applied math, but… I’m interested in teaching,” Mirin said. “I’ve been applying to teach math at community colleges.”

Mirin hopes that her success will encourage more people to pursue math.

For any Mills women hoping to follow in Mirin’s footsteps, her advice is to “start taking math classes at Berkeley as soon as possible so that (you) can see the kind of math that is out there.”