Today’s episode concludes the first season of AfterMath. If you want to hear more interviews with the most fascinating people in the STEM world, drop us a line by sending a message to Let us know what you think, and what you would like to see in the future.

This episode’s guest is Mark Kantrowitz, nationally-recognized expert on student financial aid, scholarships, and student loans. He has written several books and created a number of websites that have helped over 100 million people pay for college. He and Richard discuss Mark’s background in mathematics and his initial career path in computer science, and how he made the decision to take his life in a different direction. Mark also shares some of the lessons he’s learned about the financial challenges facing the families of college-bound students, as well as some insights into what it takes to become a respected authority in an important field.

You’ll hear about Mark’s early experiences with math competitions, including his time at MOP and his involvement with the creation of the AIME. He also discusses attending RSI, and how this initially sparked his interest in teaching others about scholarships and financial aid. Mark went on to study computer science at MIT and Carnegie Mellon before getting a job as a research scientist. He explains how he created one of the very first websites about financial aid, and how the site – which started as a hobby – would ultimately lead him down a new career path.

Mark discusses his thoughts about the state of student financial aid policy, and shares some of the tips he has devised to help families make informed decisions. He and Richard also talk about how to be a good communicator, including why it’s important to be able to express complicated ideas simply, and how to get the news media to pay attention to you.

You’ll also hear about some of Mark’s other interests, such as his work with the Center for Excellence in Education. Mark discusses some of his hobbies, such as folding origami and restoring antique toys, and explains why the ability to become deeply fascinated and immersed in a subject has helped him to succeed in his endeavors.

Mark runs several valuable websites, including and You can find a comprehensive list of websites about financial aid, as well as about Mark’s many outside interests, at his personal site.

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