Anita E. ThomasApplied Mathematics Undergraduate
Daniel Burnham, notable architect and co-developer of the Plan of Chicago, was quoted to have said, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work." Applied mathematics student Anita E. Thomas is taking Burnham's advice quite literally.
"After graduation, I will completely focus my efforts on a career in national security, my goal being to achieve the title of National Security Agency mathematician," says Thomas. "I will earn my Ph.D. in applied mathematics, which will grant me the challenge of solving our nation's top security questions."
Thomas, who attended Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind., came to IIT because she was looking for a small technology-focused school close to home that offered an academically challenging environment and high-quality undergraduate research opportunities. By her second year in the program, she had already worked on a summer research project on computer-assisted graph theory and presented research talks on her results to fellow students and faculty.
Thomas's faculty mentor, Associate Professor Michael Pelsmajer, has encouraged her to travel to mathematics conferences, where she will have opportunities to further showcase her endeavors.
While coursework keeps Thomas busy throughout the year, she still finds time to mentor and tutor high school students in a program she founded, Math and Mentorship. She helps to lead IIT's Math Club, serves as a representative on the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and has been offered membership in the IIT Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. When Thomas wants a change of pace, she practices the art of belly dancing.