The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Networking aids in job search

SMU grad turns professor

In a highly competitive job market, Jennifer Tarin made a transformation from SMU student into SMU faculty almost instantly.

After determination and networking, Tarin was hired as a full-time lecturer of mathematics the semester after she finished her Ph.D. She is currently in her second semester of teaching, and her unadorned office is appropriately bare for an occupant who has not been there long and may not stay long either. 

After graduating high school, Tarin’s original goal was simply to get a bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t until her senior year as an undergraduate at Texas Woman’s University that she decided to attend graduate school. Tarin said she was not ready to start her career and wanted to learn more about the subject she loved: math.

Even as a child, she regarded the subject with affection. Her favorite children’s show characters: Count Von Count in “Sesame Street” and Donald in “Mathmagic Land.”

Once accepted to SMU, Tarin worked a total of five years to get her master’s, followed by her Ph.D. in Applied and Computational Mathematics. She said the encouragement she received from her high school and undergraduate teachers helped her believe in herself and to push harder to grow academically.

“Even this first year with the four classes I had to teach in the fall, I think my limits were pushed again,” Tarin said. “But I redefined those limits because that’s what you do. You’re redefining your limits because you’re constantly learning about yourself.”

Tarin’s former graduate adviser, Ian Gladwell, recommended her for an open lecturer position, and after an interview she accepted the position.

“It’s actually turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done because I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to teach,” Tarin said.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Daniel Reynolds said that students should follow Tarin’s lead and network in order to make a personal connection with a company because the job market is so tight right now.

Although companies are hiring, Reynolds said knowing someone within the company could help call their attention to your resume.

According to Reynolds, it does not have to be a personal friend; it could simply be someone you met in a meeting or at an internship.

Another approach to searching for a job is tailoring your application to the open position. Christina Dekany, who went through the graduate program at SMU with Tarin, said applicants should learn about specific companies and determine where they can fill a need rather than listing skills which may or may not be attributes required for the position.

Jill Klentzman, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Arizona and Tarin’s former classmate, said another way to gain an edge in the job market is to start searching early,  taking advantage of the career center and other opportunities offered through SMU.

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