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M.S. 2016Career: Staff Scientist, Navigation Technology Associates, Inc., contract with U.S. Army AMRDEC

Advisor: Dr. Junfang Li

From my very first visit to UAB, I was made to feel as though I was home. Throughout my search for a graduate school, I did not meet a group more welcoming and friendly than the faculty and students of the UAB Mathematics Department. The opportunity to grow as a mathematician combined with the opportunity to work with some truly wonderful people in the department made choosing UAB one of the easiest decisions I’ve made in my life.

In my current position, I work in missile navigation where I analyze large data sets and conduct research on topics that are of interest to the U.S. Army. In addition to the technical side of my job, I also communicate my findings to engineers, government officials, and other researchers on topics that will allow us to predict missile behavior as accurately as possible.

When thinking about how UAB prepared me for my current job, I am particularly very grateful for the MATLAB skills that I picked up in Dr. Navasca’s Numerical Linear Algebra course as well as Dr. Starr’s Advanced Probability course, as I use them on a daily basis. With that being said, perhaps the most important class for me personally was the Topology sequence with Dr. Blokh. He structured the class in such a way that the students were assigned several different topics in Topology throughout the course of the semester, which would follow with an in-class presentation. The material we would be asked to cover was always quite challenging, with content so in-depth that a student could spend the entire 50 minute class meeting at the board giving a presentation of their assigned topic. Needless to say, it was quite outside my comfort zone initially. Looking back on that class now, however, I feel so blessed to have been a part of that experience because it gave me confidence in my ability to communicate complex topics in a way that is both clear and effective. Now in my current job, every time I am in a position to communicate my findings to interested parties, I can specifically look back to my time with Dr. Blokh in Topology as a source of confidence and a class structure that prepared me for certain challenges that arise in my line of work.

I am forever grateful for my time spent at UAB and feel honored to be part of a group that both encourages me and celebrates my accomplishments well beyond graduation. The UAB Math Department is a very special group that joins with its students in their successes and provides encouragement and guidance whenever setbacks occur. So to any professors and friends that I had the pleasure of meeting during my time at UAB, all I can say is thank you. I can easily say that my life is better for having the opportunity to know each and every one of you.