Nicole Dolat ’24, a double major in in psychology and mathematics, is also a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the honor society for mathematics, as well as the secretary for Psi Chi, the honor society for psychology and the campus’ Math Club.
Originally a psychology major, Dolat didn’t envision herself majoring in mathematics until one of her professors encouraged her to do so after noticing Dolat’s natural talent for the subject. “I didn’t know that math is something I was going to want to do,” Dolat said. “It came easy, and it was always interesting to me, but I didn’t consider it an interest or career.”
After finishing her psychology requirements quicker than anticipated, Dolat took on a math minor, eventually adding it as another major. However, because she was at the end of her sophomore year when making the decision, she effectively had to condense all of her math classes into the last two years.
Despite initially finding math “intimidating,” Professor Christine Von Renesse’s Math Explorations class made Dolat realize the field is larger and “way more than what high school or standardized testing” offers. In learning that math is woven into many of our everyday experiences through the medium of patterns and algorithms, Dolat expressed interest in further exploring her love for math, which was ultimately supported by Renesse due to the “passion” Dolat exhibited in the classroom.
“I’ve never had a professor talk to me in such an inviting way,” Dolat said. “Once I got here, I realized all of the professors are like that. It doesn’t feel like a teacher-student dynamic… it just feels like I’m working with colleagues, which is something I feel lucky to have experienced.”
After graduating, Dolat plans to study neuropsychology, which is what prompted her to study math, as cognitive psychology involves a lot of statistics and data analysis as part of the field of study. As a math major, she’ll be able to approach research with a unique perspective, since psychology often involves biology as well, though Dolat is still figuring out how she can do things “in a different way.”. For now, she’s been applying to research assistant positions at various colleges in the area. She has recently interviewed with Yale University for their summer research program.
In her campus community experiences, Dolat described meeting many of her friends through academic ventures due to her being “academically oriented”. Between Zumba classes, Math Club, and Psi Chi, she’s met similarly minded peers in which she can engage both on campus and in her personal life. As a former commuter, finding the time to attend events and social gatherings was much more difficult. As a resident of New Hall though, Dolat has cemented her community via all of the organizations in which she contributes.
For current and prospective students of the University, Dolat highly encourages students to take advantage of all the opportunities which come their way, as it can lead to unexpected and beneficial outcomes.
“Take every chance you can get,” she said. “I was afraid to apply for things because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get them. Just go for anything you’re interested in and think you have a chance at. Even if you don’t, you’re going to make connections. That’s just as valuable as the opportunity itself. I think for math majors, it’s great to start thinking about what they want to do early on and apply for research or connect with other opportunities. It helps you, especially if you want to go to graduate school. You should start as early as possible.”