Career Path Interview (Spring 2018, Part II)

Interviewee: A.Z.

Major: Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Year: Junior


1) What made you originally get into mathematics, and what areas did you hone in on?

A.Z: When I was a freshman, I knew nothing about what I was going to do. Math was just one of the subjects that I was familiar with. After finishing all the lower- division courses, I chose to take Math 104 as my first upper-division class and there was indeed a huge gap between it and those lower-division courses. The struggle was real but it also brought a lot of fun. I think I will just keep exploring different fields in Mathematics as an undergrad instead of focusing on a certain area.


2) Are you planning on graduate school once you finish at Cal?

A.Z: Yes, I plan to go to graduate school in statistics because I would like to learn more statistical skills or computer science skills and maybe go into industry later.


3) Have you had any math related research experience? Can you elaborate on your experience?

A.Z: Yes, I am currently doing synergy research with professor Rainer Sachs. We are analyzing cancers produced when astronauts encounter galactic cosmic rays (GCR). GCR occur almost exclusively outside of what NASA terms low earth orbit. This high energy radiation realistically cannot be shielded against. We are using in silico modeling to estimate how dangerous GCR are and modern mathematical synergy analysis to plan and interpret experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory on the tumorigenic risk to mice of a mixed radiation field, and on the effect of such fields on cancer surrogate endpoints such as chromosome aberrations, using results of experiments on each individual radiation in the mixture.