Jack Fiskum stands in ISC

Jack Fiskum ’19, Big Lake, Minn.
Major/Minor: Mathematics/Data Analytics

What do you enjoy about mathematics?

I have always been fascinated with how numbers and systems of logic work. Not only is it amazing what you can learn just by studying mathematical concepts, but it’s also pretty awesome when you can take what you’ve learned and apply it in other areas of science, technology or even the natural world. It’s a powerful language that can be harnessed in so many different ways.

Why did you choose a math major?

The fact that mathematics has so many applications is what I found to be so attractive about the major. I didn’t want to limit myself when it came to choosing a career path, and through taking math courses I not only found multiple areas of useful application, but I also gained skills in organization and dedicated problem-solving. They’re invaluable and I consider them to be some of my most advantageous assets. Plus, the department faculty are such good people along with being such great teachers and mentors. They’ve always been more than happy with providing me the resources I need to be successful and I can never thank them enough.

Jack Fiskum works on laptop in ISC

Why did you choose this particular career path?

Using applied statistics along with computers and coding, data analysts are able to generalize, learn and predict things about different groups of people, strategies of business and nearly anything else that you can collect data from. This past summer, I even had an internship where we were using data analytics to build an automated machine that trades stocks during the intraday to turn a profit on a financial portfolio. It’s an up-and-growing field that many commercial entities are realizing they need more work in.

You are also involved in music. What music ensembles are you a part of and what instrument do you play?

I’ve played bassoon for four years in The Concordia Band and have been a member for multiple years of The Concordia Orchestra. Along with that, I’ve put on a full recital of solo works, have played in multiple chamber ensembles, and have had quite a few opportunities to play with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. This past fall, I even auditioned and won a spot to solo at The Concordia Orchestra Senior Honors Concert in February.

How did you become interested in music?

Music has always been such an important part of my life. My parents were both professional musicians in addition to being school teachers, so from a young age they had me taking piano lessons and started me on a wind instrument nearly as soon as they could. They never limited my curiosity for music in any way and they always encouraged me to take all the opportunities that it gave me. Since then, my experiences on bassoon, guitar, piano and saxophone made me want to always keep music as a part of me, no matter where I am in life.

Jack Fiskum at laptop in ISC

I hear you like to spend your free time in Hvidsten. What is the culture like in the music building compared to where you take your math classes?

Everyone in both the music and math departments are so unbelievably nice! Some of my greatest friends are math/computer science majors, extremely talented musicians, or both. I like to try and split my time evenly between the two places, but both cultures are so kind and welcoming that it’s so hard to do. My freshman year, many of my first friends on campus came from when I made it into The Concordia Band and, now that I’m a senior member, I’ve found that it’s an excellent place for me to be both a friend and a leader, helping to cultivate an even stronger community within the ensemble. On the other side of the coin, I came to know so many other brilliant, kind and dedicated people in the math department. Since we had so many classes together over the years, I became very close with them and learned so much from each and every one. Both cultures are so great and powerful in different ways, and I think it’s important to have a balance of both.

Why did you choose Concordia and what is your favorite aspect?

I chose Concordia not only because it was a place that was familiar to me, but also because it was a place where I had the opportunity to do everything that I wanted to do in college. Being from Minnesota and having a lineage of Cobbers in my family, Concordia was familiar and was in the perfect location where it was away from home but also wasn’t too far. With that, I knew coming into college that I wanted to be a math major but that I also wanted to pursue music at the highest level I possibly could. There really aren’t a lot of places that will let you do that and Concordia fit the bill because it gave me the opportunity to do all of these things at once. I could be in both band and orchestra while at the same time studying math and taking part in other clubs and organizations. Not only has this education prepared me for my life beyond college, but it has also taught me how important it is to take your passions with you wherever you go.