Zhen Gou

2013 Major: Mathematics

Current Employer: Spin VR — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

How has being a Mathematics graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

"It helped my professional work in two ways. First, my work invovles computer engineering, graphics, 3D engines, simulations and so on. All of which requires a solid foundation of linear algebra and calculus for successfully to do the job. Being a math major from Duke definitely gives me an edge in this regard. Secondly, being surrounded by such talented classmates, I was constantly pushed to challenge my intellectual limits in different areas of maths, whether it's topology or differential equations. This experience in turn made me very comfortable and welcoming to new challenges in my professional career."

What advice would you give students in Mathematics?

"Explore different disciplines in math (probability, analysis, abstract algebra, differential equations and so on) in the early 2 years to discover what you like and what you like to do in the future (mathematician, engineer, computer scientist). Then pick courses accordingly in your second half of college. Unless you wanna be a mathematician, math itself isn't enough to get you to where you want to be. If you want to be computer engineer, start taking some programming, data structure/algorithm courses, and take courses like advanced linear algebra to support it. If you are interested in physics, probably should take all the differential equation related courses. In short, figure out what you'd like to do in your professional career and pick courses that complement it."