Samara Epstein Cohen ‘88
The summer after I graduated from Brearley, I received my BC Calculus AP score in the mail and, separately, a note from my calculus teacher, Judy Conant. She congratulated me, told me she was proud of me and hoped I would continue to bring math into my life after high school. At the time I was pleased—Miss Conant was a teacher who could be quite intimidating in the classroom and her praise was unexpected and flattering. I didn’t realize, though, how profoundly her support would impact me.
I started freshman year with the intention of never taking another math class—thanks to my calculus score I received enough college credit that I didn’t need more math. I found, to my great surprise, that I missed the satisfaction of solving a complicated problem with numbers. It turned out that not only was I pretty good at math, but I actually liked it.
I took economics and statistics in college and then pursued a career in the financial markets. Stepping into a financial engineering class or onto a trading floor was intimidating for a young woman 25 years ago, but thanks to Miss Conant, I had the confidence and passion to find and pursue all that inspired me.