Bárbara Bettencourt

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Lancaster University with a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics.
  • My Interests: In my free time I enjoy playing tennis and table tennis, watching films and playing video games.

I joined Columbia’s MA Program in Statistics to learn about what it takes to become a successful data analyst. In my three long years of learning all kinds of mathematics at Lancaster, statistics was and has always been my favorite. I applied to become a Student Rep to become a part of a strong and supportive community. I hope to better everyone’s experience in the Program.

Jeremy Chen

  • Before Columbia:   I attended University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and majored in Physics. I spent 3 years as an undergraduate researcher, modeling black hole accretion disks. 
  • My interests: Stargazing, watching Mukbang, anime & k-drama, reading books (recently got into Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino) and eating food.
“Joining the MA Statistics program at Columbia would allow me to meet other talented students and professors. Being in such a vibrant city, I will be offered numerous opportunities to demonstrate my knowledge in both industry or in academia. I became a student representative because I enjoy outreach, and meeting new people.”

Zhiqi (Ellen) Chen

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Ohio State University in 2020 with a degree in Mathematics. During my undergrad, I worked in the Math department for two and a half years as a Math tutor in Calculus and Algebra. 
  • Interests: I love trying different healthy diets and seeing how my body changes. If I didn’t choose to study Statistics, I would become an interior designer. I have a deep interest in design and aesthetics.

“I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to enhance the foundational knowledge in Statistics before launching my job as a data scientist. I volunteered to be a Student Representative because I love meeting people and I want to improve students’ experience throughout their studies in our program.”

Stella Dong

  • Before CU: I graduated from Lafayette College with a double major in Mathematics and Economics with a Concentration in Statistics and a Certificate in Financial Policy and Analysis.
    My Interests: I love singing and sketching. Before I left college, I was one of the Soprano of the college choir. During the summer of 2020, I tried to sketch all the academic buildings where I have taken my courses over my undergraduate years, which turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

“I joined the M.A in Statistics Program at Columbia University in order to acquire more useful techniques and to prepare myself as a professional analyst working in the industry. I believe the broad course selection options, as well as the rich opportunity in communicating with the professionals, are the key reasons that I choose M.A in Statistics Program in the first place.”

Dawei He

  • Before CU:  I graduated from South China University of Technology, with a major in Applied Chemistry and a minor in Computer Science.
  • My Interests: I enjoy road trips and experiencing different cultures. I have been to a lot of cities in China through road trips, with a total mileage of more than 15,000 miles. I also like playing radio-controlled aircraft, and won a second prize in a radio-controlled helicopter competition a few years ago. I enjoy jazz and classical music as well.

I joined the MA in Statistics Program to build a solid foundation of statistics and obtain  advanced machine learning skills by learning from world-class professors. I applied to become a Student Rep to connect with other students, administration and faculty. 

Weiyi Jiang

  • Before CU:  I graduated from the University of Maryland with a dual degree in Math and Computer Science.
  • My Interests:  I love cooking and singing. I enjoy going to karaoke and I try new recipes every week.  
“I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to further develop my statistical skills and analytical skills and learn their applications. I applied to be a student representative because I want to improve my interpersonal skills, connect with students and the department, and help others.”

Aiden Kenny

  • Before Columbia: I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in Mathematics in 2020.
  • My Interests:  Outside of statistics and applied math, I generally enjoy being active, including weight lifting, bike riding, and hiking. I also enjoy exploring and playing video games.   
“I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics program because I wanted to not only refine my current statistical knowledge but also expand my understanding of how statistics is applied in industry. I also love NYC, so attending a top-tier institution in my dream city was a no-brainer! I became a student representative because I wanted to improve my networking opportunities and have a greater ability to give back to the program.”

Minhui Liao

  • Before CU: I graduated from Rutgers University in 2017, with a major in Statistics and a minor in Economics. Then I worked at TransCore, a diversified technology company, as a data analyst for 2 years.
  • My interests:  I love traveling, cutting paper, playing ukulele, and poker games. Under the pandemic, I’m a big fan of Pamela’s intense workout right now.

The reason that I joined MA Statistics Program at Columbia is the program not only provides students the flexibility to enhance their knowledge of advanced data analysis but also helps students to prepare for their future careers. 

As a Student Representative, I look forward to connecting with more classmates who have diverse backgrounds, especially under this pandemic situation. I will do my best to elevate student’s voices and to volunteer my support for our MA Program.

Jingyue Lou

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Beijing Normal University majoring in Statistics. During the last year of undergrad, I exchanged at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   
  •  I spend my time doing weight training and listening to rap music when I don’t build models. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate cookie dough.

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to expand my skills and interest in Machine Learning, also to achieve my goal of making statistics for everyone more than fancy models. I applied to become a Student Rep because I want to make my community more connected than ever. 

Gurmehar Singh Makker

  • Before CU: I graduated in 2020 with a BS in Applied Mathematics with extensive work in Computer Engineering and Statistics. During my undergraduate degree, I interned at various financial firms and did research at multiple universities.
  • Interests: I’m a certified pilot, so I enjoy flying planes and try to get a session in at least once or twice a month. I’m also a certified precision driver and love to go on track days with my friends. Other than that I really enjoy skiing and snowboarding.

“I see pursuing a Master’s in Statistics as a chance at a unifying career development step in my goal to be a quantitative researcher in the finance industry, although, my desire to make a significant contribution to mathematics and our understanding of the universe in general are, and always will be, the factors that form the impetus for a pursuit of an advanced degree. There is no better place than Columbia University, an esteemed scientific institution, to do that.”

Nthabi Rapoeea

  • Prior to joining Columbia I was an Investment Banking professional where I worked as an Investment Manager and a Fixed Income Derivatives Trader (my last two roles). I hold an M.Sc. in Financial Engineering from the University of Pretoria, B.Com(Hons) in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management from the University of Cape Town and a B.Sc. in Mathematical Statistics from the University of South Africa.
  • In my spare time I enjoy reading nonfiction books, going to the gym, traveling and skydiving. 

I chose Columbia University because it’s a world-class academic institution. I joined the MA program mainly to deepen and improve on my technical skills. I like the program’s pool of elective courses which range from Data Science to Math Finance. 
As a Student Rep I will get an opportunity to mentor, network and play an active role in the Department of Statistics. 

Daniel Schmidle

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Columbia with a B.A. in Data Science in 2020.  But, before that, I worked in multiple other sectors:  stock market, real estate, and web.  
  • My Interests:  I love music in all forms (I play guitar), and discovering the culinary world of NYC (Cafe China is my current favorite). 

I joined Columbia’s MA in Statistics Program to expand upon the statistical foundation acquired during my undergraduate degree.  I have been at Columbia for years now, and because my undergrad was in Data Science, not only do I have experience within the Statistics Department, but also the Computer Science, Math, and almost every other department (thanks to the global core requirement).  Thus, I know the Columbia experience well.  So, I encourage anyone to reach out to me for anything.  I became a Student Rep because I would be truly delighted to hear from any, and all of you! 

Michelle A. Strayer

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Connecticut College in 2014 with a degree in International Relations. I spent several years working in geopolitical research in the DC area. ­
  • Interests:  I love jazz and blues, and I’m a voracious reader.
“I joined the MA Statistics Program at Columbia to learn how to read and test data in order to better understand trends in international politics and global security.  I applied to become a Student Rep because I enjoy facilitating important conversations and fostering a sense of community.”

Sierra Vo

  • Before CU: I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2020 with a BS in Finance and Math, and an MS in Finance, with a concentration in Financial Big Data Analytics.
  • My Interests: I love cooking and board games. I enjoy cooking Asian food, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine in particular, and baking. I sometimes try to recreate iconic dishes from movies. The first one I did was ratatouille. I like board games because it’s a great medium to interact with people.

“I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to further my understanding of theoretical and applied statistics. In the future, I hope to work in quantitative finance, probably after a Ph.D. program. I applied to become a Student Rep because I enjoy working to benefit my community, listening to others, and helping them take actionable steps to improve their environment. I hope that I can be someone students can turn to if they need any help.”

Jen Wang

  • Before CU:  I graduated from Brandeis University with a triple major in Mathematics, Economics, and Business. I spent three years working as a data analyst in both the public and private sectors.
  • My Interests:  I enjoy traveling and skiing. Music is part of my life. I have been playing the piano ever since I was four. I also love playing with Legos especially during the quarantine.

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to further develop and strengthen my data analysis and statistical skills and apply them in my future career. I applied to become a Student Rep because I have always believed that learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom, and extracurricular engagement is an important part of Columbia experience. 

Zhanyao Wu

  • Before CU:   I graduated from UC-San Diego with a degree in Applied Mathematics.  I also love education. I was a TA in Santa Monica College; UCSD; and Gompers High School. I used to lead Discussion Section every week and lead Midterm/Final review for 200 students. I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is the most important and fulfilling human endeavor.
  • My Interests:  Snowboarding and Ski in winter, Scuba diving in summer. Also, love singing and event hosting.

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to learn how statistics can be applied to real life problems. I have found my passion in the business world, and I am highly motivated to continuously expand my knowledge and depth of understanding of the dynamic data through my graduate study. I applied to become a Student Rep because I enjoy networking, volunteering my support for the MA Program, and spreading my help.

Anqi Yan

  • Before Columbia:  I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a major in Economics and a minor in Statistics.
  • My Interests:  I enjoy long-distance running and thrifting during my free time.

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program to gain more technical skills and fundamental statistical knowledge. I wanted to prepare myself as a role of financial technology consultant. CU’s data science track suits greatly with what I was looking for.  I applied to become a Student Rep because I want to be a part of a community and together, to support our MA program with different perspectives. 

Wesley Yuan

  • Before CU:  I studied Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton where I was on the fencing team and a member of Tower. 
  • Interests:  I like hiking, going to the gym, playing (and watching) tennis, and being active in general. Also always down to meet new people and explore new places.

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics program to better understand the rigorous foundations of machine learning algorithms. I hope to build connections with the department’s world-class faculty before working on applied deep learning research either in industry or through further graduate studies.

Zhanhao Zhang

  • Before CU:  I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 2020 with a double major in Computer Science and Statistics and a double minor in Mathematics and Chemistry. I had been a teaching assistant for Machine Learning, Probability & Counting, Database, and R computing courses at my undergraduate institution.
  • My Interests:  I love reading novels that have a very surprising ending, such as Angels & Demon by Dan Brown and Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. I am now having a hard time finding an interesting novel to get me away from my laptop. If you know such a book, please let me know!

I joined Columbia’s MA Statistics Program because it has more emphasis on Finance than most of other statistics programs. I have a strong passion for Finance and I believe I can have a smooth transition to Finance at Columbia University. I applied to the Student Rep position because I want to get more involved in our community and expand my social networks.