What you have done after graduating from Bryn Mawr?

After graduating from Bryn Mawr, I continued working as an intern at the UPenn School of Nursing Biostatistics Consulting Unit while also completing a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics from the Dornsife School of Public Health-Drexel University. Near the end of my program, I accepted a position with Eli Lilly and Company as a Senior Statistician and later relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana, to begin my career in the pharmaceutical industry. I began working at Lilly in August of 2016 and currently provide statistical support to clinical trials in the Oncology Business Unit.

How does math connect with your current occupation?

My role as a statistician is very versatile and exciting. I collaborate with study personnel to provide input to statistical analysis plans (SAP), I'm accountable for implementing statistical methods for data analyses that comply with CDISC (Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium) as well as coding, and much more. All SAPs have a methods section that contain justification for selecting a specific statistical methodology. If you were to research that methodology, you would come across a lot of theoretical proofs and many equations. Statistics is often linked to probability theory and is a form of applied math that is used to analyze and explore data in any field that you could think of (medicine, sports, agriculture, finance, law, marketing, etc.).

How has your math experience at Bryn Mawr prepared you for your current position and life after Bryn Mawr?

In order to work as a statistician, you must have at least a master's degree. Most, if not all, statistics programs have required math courses that luckily as a math major, you would have already taken. Many students with little to no math background are often required to take additional courses on top of their required courses in graduate school. Also, in statistics, you do not jump straight into the applied courses; you first have to take several stat theory courses. Taking Linear Algebra, Real Analysis I and II, Number Theory, and Calc I, II & III really prepared me for the theory classes that I had to take. In those courses, I was challenged to really understand the methodology of several concepts such as group theory, probability theory, proof writing, derivatives and integrals, and matrix and vector properties; the list goes on. 

Do you have any advice for current math majors?

Being a math major is tough. Most of your friends don't understand what it is that you like about math and you sometimes may ask yourself that when you are challenged on an exam. It gets better, don't switch your major ... you can explore any career path with a strong math background. Regardless of which career path you choose, I would really take the time to learn the core concepts in the upper-level courses that you know you didn't fully grasp during the course. At some point, I'd also highly suggest that everyone takes at least one programming class (Java, Python, R, SAS, etc.).This will help with job searching and also graduate programs. Speaking with your adviser about more than homework is also helpful; you never know who they know or if they'll open your eyes to a career that you never would have thought of. Also, be strategic in picking electives. These courses can help with job opportunities as well (for example, take financial derivatives if you have even a slight interest in finance) and enhance your applied math skills. Lastly, if you are interested in statistics, I would suggest that you also take the time to do an online search on "big data," analytics and informatics. There are a lot of interesting problems that need to be solved and the demand for people with an analytical background is continuing to grow.

Anassa Kata!