What have you been up to since Bowdoin?
After graduating, I joined a network epidemiology lab at Georgetown University to gain additional research experience before applying to graduate school. My research has been focused on characterizing spatiotemporal heterogeneity in public health behaviors, such as mask-wearing and contact patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and global historical smallpox vaccination relevant to the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. In the fall of 2023, I’ll be starting a PhD program in biology with an emphasis on mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.
I never expected to be a math major, but I felt so supported by professors, TAs, and my peers while taking Multivariable Calculus (with Prof. Barker) and Intro to Math Reasoning (with Prof. Taback) during my first year that I kept coming back. I loved the collaborative, problem-solving environment (especially when nearly the entire class would be out at the second-floor whiteboard during office hours) and felt that a math degree would equip me with the tools to do impactful quantitative biology research. The flexibility of the major allowed me to concentrate on applied math courses and continue pursuing my other interests in biology and computer science, culminating in an honors thesis advised by Prof. Zeeman and Prof. Irfan (in CS). While I may not remember a lot of the specific proofs or definitions from my classes, having a math background gives me confidence in my current work that I have, or can acquire, the skills to puzzle out almost any problem.