STELLAR Student profile: Tom Teague

Junior applied mathematics major Tom Teague dreams of working for NASA one day, and his experiences at SIUE, including being a recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences STELLAR Student Award, could help him reach that goal.

Photo courtesy of Tom Teague

Though he does not have a “specific career path” in mind, Teague said he will most likely end up in the science or technology field.

“I feel like [space is] the area that we know so little about, that there’s so much to discover and it’s kind of where the leading edge of our understanding is right now…,” Teague said. “[It’s] the great unknown right now for human[s] in general.”

The award Teague received honors and develops “some of the star student achievers” in the College of Arts and Sciences, according to the STELLAR website.

Teague said he will most likely work in the energy or utility industry.

“[The] energy industry right now, and renewable and green energy, I think that’s fascinating and they actually use a lot of mathematicians with weather modeling [and] changing climates,” Teague said.l “
They’re predicting even areas such as finance and business [need a] lot of mathematicians… All those areas, I think, if I were to get into them, I would really dive in and enjoy it a lot.”

Receiving the STELLAR Student Award, according to Teague, could help him achieve these future career plans.

“I think one of the best parts of [receiving the award] is just getting to interact with other STELLAR students and the mentors for the program… [and] bouncing ideas off them or seeing what they’re doing and getting inspired,” Teague said. “It’s a great environment.”

Teague is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the mathematics honor society organization, and is a tutor in the athletic department. Working as a tutor has helped Teague find “a new level of understanding for a lot of mathematical concepts.”

“To have to explain [concepts] to someone else really requires another, almost deeper, level of understanding and also just communicating and working with other people,” Teague said. “I have my own track of thinking and sometimes have to put myself in the student’s shoes to maybe help them understand a concept in a different way. It’s been very beneficial.”

Teague said he has always had an interest in math, but started out at SIUE as an engineering major.

“I wasn’t so enamored with the more practical aspects of [engineering], and it just kind of led me into math,” Teague said.

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