Success Stories

Thomas Fiore (A&S ’99)

BPhil in German | BS in Mathematics
Associate Professor of Mathematics
University of Michigan-Dearborn

“My German major (in combination with math) has brought me many, many benefits over the years. The initial benefit was several terms of study abroad in Germany and Austria, where I enjoyed reading beautiful literature, doing challenging mathematics, and getting to know new cultures. During that time, without realizing it, I gained many concrete skills that have served me well professionally: I learned to communicate in new ways in a new language; to thrive in an unfamiliar environment; to forge friendships and collaborations with people different from me; to consider problems from several points of view; and to appreciate a complex, interconnected world. One unexpected outcome was the ability to reflect more objectively about my own way of life, my own past, and my own place.

“These important skills had a tremendous impact on my own professional development. For instance, after my PhD, when an opportunity arose to do postdoctoral research in Barcelona, I jumped at the opportunity, without fear of the unknown. How could I manage the logistics in a place totally unfamiliar to me? From my studies abroad, I knew what to do: seek out what I need to know in advance, carefully plan, jump in without delay, learn a local language, forge partnerships, and make it work. It was an incredibly creative year in Barcelona, and years later, I am still collaborating with people from that period.”