Jenny Li is currently enrolled in the master of science in applied mathematics program and will be graduating in May 2022. Learn about her experience in the program.
Why did you decide to enroll at Northeastern University and pursue this degree?
I decided to pursue this degree because, after completing my undergraduate education in mathematics, I felt like there was still so much in the field that I wanted to learn. The applied mathematics program at Northeastern seemed like an excellent opportunity to continue my education in math while delving deeper into the practical applications of the course content.
Tell us about your experience with this program so far.
Since I’m almost at the end of the program, I can definitely say that I learned a lot throughout just eight courses. This experience allows students to tailor the program to fit specific interests. For example, most courses involve a long-term, open-ended project that I’ve been able to tie to my personal interests or topics from my job outside of school. This autonomy has been one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.
What has been your favorite part?
My favorite part of the program has been the professors and faculty in the math department. In my experience, I’ve found that they are genuinely interested in learning more about your personal goals and helping you to achieve them. In addition, they are earnest in wanting to hear student feedback, and they often use that feedback to tailor their courses and teaching style so that students really get the most out of the experience. Pursuing a graduate degree can be overwhelming, but I’ve appreciated what my professors have done to make themselves and the course content more approachable and accessible.
Are there any particular faculty or resources that have helped you succeed in this program?
Similar to the previous response, I would say the math department faculty has contributed to my success in the program. I often remember feeling intimidated by course projects at the beginning of semesters, but my professors have been great at offering their guidance and support. In addition to the faculty, I’ve also found the fellow students (master’s and PhD) in the department pretty friendly. The department is relatively small, so you eventually start to recognize faces and feel a sense of community that can definitely contribute to your success.
How has your experience at Northeastern prepared you for a professional career?
On a practical level, Northeastern has prepared me for a professional career by exposing me to a variety of technical skills like Python and R and soft skills like project work and formal presentations. In addition, I feel like many of my professors have made an effort to highlight how the coursework can apply to various industry contexts.
What are your post-graduation plans?
My current position is on a data science team at a biotechnology company called EQRx in Cambridge. I started this role around the same time I started my program at Northeastern, so my post-graduation plans will be to stay in that same position as I have loved working here so far!
Do you have any advice for graduate students looking for work experience in similar fields?
My advice would be to value company culture as much as the actual position or industry. For example, a company could have a “data” or “analytics” team, but if the culture is resistant to change, those teams are probably limited in their innovation and creativity. I think it’s much more exciting to work in an open-minded culture where new ideas and workflows are encouraged!