When Jessica Kozma was making her college choice, she was looking for a school with a growing mathematics program that was convenient to her Jersey Shore home town; however, Jessica was unsure what she could do with her love of mathematics. Thanks to mentoring from faculty and administrators in the School of Science, she has found her niche in the growing field of statistics.
Now entering her senior year, Jessica keeps her busy schedule filled with student activities as she searches for a graduate program.
“I intend on studying statistics in graduate school, but I am still searching for where to attend,” Jessica said. “Here on campus I work as a mathematics tutor in the Math Learning Center in Howard Hall. I also work on campus as a School of Science Peer Mentor Coordinator, and I have been the Vice President of the Math Club for two years. Also, each year that I have been at Monmouth I have participated in a Relay for Life team.”
Faculty Member Influence
“Dr. Richard Bastian has been the biggest influence on me since my freshman year. Coming to Monmouth I knew that I wanted to be a mathematics major, but I didn't know where to go with that. Dr. Bastian provided guidance and helped me find my passion in statistics. He has pushed me to take classes that were more challenging and supported me in all of my ambitions.
“Dr. Bastian motivated me to achieve more than I thought was possible. As my honors advisor he helped guide me to find my strengths and as a mentor he pushed me to aspire to go to graduate school. Since meeting Dr. Bastian, I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could.”
Jessica also became a mentor herself in the School of Science, helping other students to achieve their goals, where she was supported and encouraged by Associate Dean Catherine Duckett.
“Dr. Duckett has been another huge influence. Since joining the School of Science Peer Mentor Program, Dr. Duckett has not only been an advisor, but also a mentor. She has become a person that I can trust with any problems, knowing she would give me the best guidance. Dr. Duckett has continuously given me encouragement and has helped with my professional development.
“I am truly grateful to have these two amazing mentors at Monmouth University. I could not imagine my time at Monmouth without either of them.”
How Monmouth helped me achieve my goals
Jessica has seized the many opportunities Monmouth provides for students to network, learn career skills, and gain professional experience during her time as a student. Every academic program at Monmouth comes with an experiential education requirement where students gain hands-on experience by working side-by-side with professionals in their field. In Jessica’s case, she has engaged in multiple internships that have expanded her work experience, even before completing her bachelor’s degree.
“Monmouth University has helped me achieve my goals in many diverse ways, from the people that have influenced me to the programs that are offered. Sophomore year I was determined to get a summer internship. After telling this to Dr. Richard Bastian, he helped by sending to me job opportunities he found and also by giving me interview advice.
“With his help, I found the confidence I needed to submit my resume to Fortune 500 Companies. By mid-spring I landed an internship in the Information Systems department of The Hershey Company. With support from Monmouth's faculty I approached my internship confidently and concluded the internship strongly.
“Come junior year I knew I wanted to find an internship with a new company so I could experience different career opportunities. This time, I not only had experience behind me, but also different Monmouth programs to help strengthen my resume and to guide me through the application process.
“By participating in career development events on campus like ‘Dress for Success: Communicate Your Professionalism’ and resume workshops I was able to strengthen my interview skills for the applications I was filling out. I also attended School of Science events such as the ‘Career Choices Roundtable’ that provided insight into what kind of industries hire mathematics majors as well as providing general advice from alumni who have been in our shoes. This summer I was able to secure a position in the analytics department of the NOOK division of Barnes and Noble.”
Collaborations that I've been involved with
“During my sophomore year I was asked to participate in Dr. Bastian's statistics consulting class. This class performed statistical research for real clients. The project that I was assigned was to an information literacy study for the Monmouth University Library. I am also fortunate to be a member of the Honors School where I get the great opportunity to do research and write a thesis.”
Jessica said her undergraduate research will focus on the use of a statistical method within a widely-used statistical software programming environment, “R.”
“Starting last year I began the research necessary to begin my thesis with Dr. Bastian. My thesis is going to test the effectiveness of the Welch constant in different sample scenarios using R. I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to write a thesis and I hope that it helps strengthen my application for graduate school.”
My favorite Monmouth memory
“My favorite memory is when Monmouth offered a Spring Break trip to Ireland in my sophomore year. Having never been outside of the country before, this opportunity was exciting and gave me the chance to see a country I would otherwise never have seen.
“Dr. Stanton Green, dean of the School of Humanities, arranged the trip, and about 25 students participated. While there, we marched in a Saint Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, walked along the Cliffs of Moher, and had a horse and carriage ride through Killarney. We had an amazing tour guide who took us all over Ireland teaching the group about the Irish heritage and culture.”