Skip To Main Content



Jason Karl Dark

Jason Karl Dark

Current Name:

Jason Karl Dark

Name while at MSSM: 

Jason Karl Davis / JKD

Graduation Year: and years at MSSM?

2004; 3 years

Hometown/Sending School:

Bridgewater, ME / Central Aroostook High School

Where did you go after MSSM?

I spent 4 years in Providence, RI completing separate concentrations in mathematics and education studies at Brown University. Following that, I moved to Arlington, VA and worked for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for another 4 years, while also attending Georgetown University in the evenings to complete a masters degree in statistics. Then, I moved across the country to Merced, CA to obtain a PhD in mathematical biology from a brand new University of California (UC) campus. I also married a fellow graduate student during these 5 years. Following UC Merced, I spent a year in Irvine, CA doing a postdoc at UC Irvine, then followed my partner to Huntsville, AL for their job. In Huntsville, thanks to a fellow MSSM alumnus (who posted in our Facebook alumni group!), I found remote software engineering work at a fintech startup. This eventually led to my promotion to Chief Technology Officer, the position which I currently occupy. After 3 years, my partner also found remote work and we moved again, this time to Biddeford, ME, where we currently reside.

What are you doing now?

As mentioned above, I am the CTO of a small fintech startup. This means, professionally, splitting my time between engineering management and being a software engineer myself. Personally, taking long walks with my partner and dog, and spending as much time as possible on my bicycle. Maine is a beautiful, wonderful state; it is difficult to describe the joy and comfort of being able to return home and make a life here.

What is your favorite (or one of your favorite) memory from MSSM?

What was magical about the MSSM is how exciting even the mundane could be – simply walking to the grocery store would invariably become an epic (mis)adventure. I’m not sure I can pick an individual memory out, but I will volunteer that senior year, Upper C with no RA, we had a lot of (mostly responsible!) fun.

What class/teacher most sticks out in your mind?

I initially placed into advanced mathematics with Mr. Farrell my first year at the MSSM, and as I recall, this was the very first class I attended on my very first day. This was also my first interaction with an adult that encouraged me to see my potential without limit and work hard to achieve it. His, and subsequently Mr. Sid’s dedicated teaching and pedagogical craft allowed me to accelerate multiple years in my mathematical education and “catch up” to those students coming from better-prepared backgrounds. I cannot imagine my life without their influence.    

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your past self as you prepare for MSSM?

I was hilariously unprepared for MSSM – I showed up on move-in day with a single duffel bag of clothes, no computer, and ultimately no clue. Living nearby, I went home every weekend for the first month, until the realization dawned that, actually, MSSM was my home. Having that revelation on my own accord was transformational, and I wouldn’t dare spoil that for my younger self. With that said, I was young, had a chip on my shoulder, and a lot to learn about living with other people: I would definitely tell my younger self to relax a little and that it isn’t a race.

What role did MSSM play in who or where you are now?

I will tell anyone who will listen: MSSM was where I discovered who I was and who my people were. Obviously I’ve grown a lot since then as well, but it was MSSM that put me on that trajectory of personal growth. Academically, it was my achievements at the MSSM that got me into Brown, and professionally it was the network of friends and colleagues from the school that landed me in my current position.

What is the best book/movie/tv show you can recommend to your fellow alumni?

Anything by Emily St. John Mandel is an absolute joy to read. Same goes for Susanna Clarke. If you’re looking for something incredibly dense but also incredibly interesting, try “The Dawn of Everything” by David Graeber and David Wengrow. If you finish it let me know – I’ve been working slowly at it over the last several months!