Grad program: Applied Math
Undergrad: BS in Chemistry and Economics, Case Western University
Hometown: Palatine, IL
Advisor: Allen Tannenbaum
What is your research focus, and how might your research change the world?
An application of geometry to understanding networks — in my case, applied to gene networks. The particular project I proposed for the fellowship had to do with investigating of the geometry of gene networks of patients with mental disabilities towards creating quantitative measures for assessing states of mind.
How does it feel to earn this fellowship, and how will this fellowship enhance your research?
I think a lot of people come to graduate school because they are geeky and like to learn stuff. And, for many, I think a lot of this spirit of exploration/curiosity gets sucked away by the stress and anxiety of funding. So I feel extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to build new facilities and investigate new ideas. In particular, I hope to expand my mathematics background. I think Math has some of the most precise tools we have to think about the world and the world is full of things appreciate. The fellowship will allow me explore ways to “apply math” to the world.
What advice can you share with other students applying for the NSF GRF?
Part of the GRF’s mission is to expand participation in science beyond those taking traditional routes to higher education. People get involved in research in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. I spent about 5 years out of school before coming back to grad school. That time included, amongst other things: almost becoming an economist, biking across the country, living off savings and food stamps, working at a bakery, and working as a programmer. As I was writing the application, I didn’t even realize all this stuff had happened — I just did what made sense at the time. So ya — share your story!