Online math student changes career path, writes peer-reviewed paper

April 2, 2024 |

Derek Streidl stands as a prime example of Indiana University East’s effort to draw midcareer professionals into its highly acclaimed online mathematics program.

The 30-year-old already has a bachelor’s degree in literature and a Master’s in Business Administration, but his current job as a business systems analyst for a mortgage industry leader helped change his career direction.

“There’s a lot more math involved in it. That got me into the mindset,” Streidl said. “Math seemed most enjoyable. Now, I am going back to learn formally.”

His goals mesh perfectly with IU East’s 100-percent online program, said Markus Pomper, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics:

“(We appeal) to all kinds of people, including professionals. We get students who started at some point and didn’t finish (a degree) and we get those who finished their degree, but it isn’t right for them now.”

Streidl has an ambitious goal to earn a PhD in math or economics by age 35. It’s apparent that he has the tirelessness to make it happen.

“To me, it’s a mentality,” he said. “You want it, you get it. Age is just a factor. I want to do what I want to do with my life.”

He has written three books, a peer-reviewed scientific paper and is so self-motivated that he loves doing homework and practicing what he’s learned for hours more in the evenings.

“I’ve always been an insomniac,” he said. “I have an unquenched desire to learn more.”

Streidl meticulously researched “lists of better programs” nationwide and made IU East his final choice because:

– He could complete the program totally online from his home near Cleveland, Ohio.
“(IU East) had plans around the 8-to-5 worker, which is what I needed,” Streidl said.

– He required a highly reputable program as a base for his five-year PhD quest.

– He desired to connect with the instructors and fellow students. Although he’s never been on campus, he serves as vice president of the Math Club at IU East.

“I’ve never seen a place where I was so welcomed,” he said. “I already know all of the teachers in the department.”

Streidl already has a major academic achievement on his resume – a research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Mathematical Finance. The paper’s title is “An Introspection of Luxury Auto Sales Using Revealed Preference Theory.”

Streidl said the paper validates ideas of consumer theory by researching data from Audi, BMW and Tesla-Audi. He found that “as long as income is constant, consumers will pick what they prefer.”

The paper is available at (10.4236/jmf.2023.133023)

His achievement is impressive, Pomper said. “Peer review is the gold standard. A panel of experts has said you used appropriate methods to arrive at the results.”

Streidl published the paper on his own, Pomper said, but IU East does “engage students in undergraduate research with faculty as well.”

As a full-time student, Streidl takes three or four classes and up to 12 credit hours per semester.

He is planning to minor in economics at IU East.

Streidl said his career goal after earning a PhD is to work in the federal government, either in security for the federal National Security Agency (NSA) or as a monetary specialist for the Federal Reserve.

He and his wife, Ashlee, are aiming to move soon to Cincinnati.

IU East’s online math program serves a variety of students who can live anywhere there are internet connections.

“Many of our students are – like Derek – in a situation where they have a pre-existing baccalaureate degree but they find out that their heart is not in their old major,” Pomper said. “Others started their studies and dropped out without ever finishing a degree and now come to us, highly motivated, to complete their studies.”

Pomper said the program has earned its sterling reputation.

“Students compare available online programs in mathematics and come to us because we’re offering a connection that is unmatched. No other place offers this.”