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7 Careers in Mathematics and Social Justice

How do math and social justice connect? These two seemingly unrelated fields are deeply related. Both focus on solving problems. Math, while it may seem neutral, is a powerful tool in identifying and quantifying social justice issues. It’s also necessary to find solutions to many problems. If you are interested in using your math skills to change the world, here are seven careers that combine mathematics and social justice:

Civil engineer

Civil engineers plan, construct, and maintain things like roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, airports, harbors, and more. They are critical and creative thinkers, with strong skills in math and physics. Civil engineers are also excellent communicators and team players. To become a civil engineer, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering; familiarity with design software; excellent time management; and possibly a license. It may not be obvious how social justice is a part of infrastructures like roads and bridges, but these structures are the backbone of the economy and society at large. Where these structures are, where they’re not, and how they affect the lives and health of people is a social justice issue. Learn more about inclusive architecture.

Computer programmer

Computer programmers design, create, and maintain software programs and operating systems. They have a deep working knowledge of coding, debugging, and testing. Requirements can vary, but generally, it’s necessary to have at least a bachelor’s in computer science, as well as certifications for various programming languages. Computer programmers can be found working in a variety of fields, such as government agencies and private companies. Social justice organizations need computer programmers, as well, while a programmer can also create apps that support social justice movements. Programmers can teach this valuable skill to groups underrepresented in the technology field.

Medical scientist

Medical scientists work in clinics, labs, and hospitals. They perform tasks like testing drugs, running studies, and discovering new ways to improve human health. Medical scientists usually have either a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences or an M.D. Healthcare is a major area for social justice, so medical scientists are well-equipped to help change the world for the better. Social justice-focused work could include studying diseases that don’t get much attention or focusing on the health of populations that have been historically ignored.

Statistician

Statisticians work in numbers. Using the power of math and analytical skills, they work with government agencies, businesses, hospitals, and more to help them solve problems and make decisions. At least a bachelor’s degree in math, stats, or a related field is typically required. Strong math skills are a must, as well as an ability to work with computers and software. Statisticians play an essential role in social justice work because they help quantify the severity of problems and who is most affected.

Economist

Economists study the economy, which means the production and distribution of goods and resources. They analyze data, trends, economic issues, and more. Economists work in fields like healthcare, development, education, business, and the environment. Math skills are important because of how much data analysis is required in the job. Many positions want a master’s degree in economics. How is social justice involved? In a just society, the economy works for everyone. Economists focused on social justice use their skills and knowledge to make sure that happens.

Data scientist

Data science is a broad term, but it’s important in just about every field. A data scientist is a person who uses analytical, statistical, and programming skills to study data. Most entry-level jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in data science or computer-related field, but if you hope to progress in your career, a master’s degree will be important. A data scientist’s responsibilities are similar to a statistician’s, but these two jobs collect data in different ways. Statisticians typically use methods like surveys, while data scientists use models and work with more complex data. Like a statistician, a data scientist can promote social justice by working with social justice organizations and focusing on social justice problems.

Financial advisor/planner

Financial advisors help individuals or companies create budgets, manage investments, and meet financial goals. That can include setting up retirement funds, investing in stocks, and so on. For this career, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, stats, or a similar math-related field. A license is also required, though the specific kind depends on what exactly you’re doing in the industry. To incorporate social justice in this career, you can focus on providing services to individuals who need help paying off debt or struggling to save money. You can also work with individuals and organizations committed to social justice investing, which is a framework that focuses on earning investors money but only in ways that reflect their social justice values. Around 86% of millennials are interested in this kind of investing.

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.