As part of the Career Transitions Series, the following 5 Ph.D. Mathematicians now working in industry share their experiences in an informal question-and-answer panel.
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Anna Bertiger got a PhD in algebraic combinatorics from Cornell in 2013 and was a postdoc at the University of Waterloo in Combinatorics and Optimization before moving to industry. She worked in machine learning and data science at National Grid, a Waltham, MA based utility for a year improving predictions for electrical and gas outages. Since then, she has worked in Data and Applied Sciences at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. At Microsoft she has worked on a variety of technical problems and applications, including anti-fraud systems, machine learned user targeting and application quality analysis.
Greg Arden (Software Developer, Robert McNeel & Associates, Seattle): I have been at Robert McNeel & Associates for 17 years since I graduated from the UW with a PhD in Mathematics. Our product is Rhinoceros ( www.rhino3d.com ) a personal computer based 3-D modeling application used by architects and industrial designers for
designing, modeling, presenting and analyzing products from wedding ring to sports stadiums and everything in between. I am responsible for core geometry functions in Rhino some of the major pieces of code I have written are volume and area calculations, computing intersections between objects, and 2-dimensional hidden line drawings of 3-dimensional scenes.
Stephanie Vance is a UW alumni now working as an applied research mathematician at the National Security Agency. She completed her PhD in 2009, with her thesis on sphere packings and lattices with special algebraic structure. Prior to joining the NSA, she worked for several years as a faculty member at Adams State University where she continued her graduate research and taught undergraduate mathematics.
As an NSA mathematician Stephanie enjoys working on highly diverse and difficult problems and exploring new areas of mathematics and computer science. She also enjoys working with the academic community and has previously served as a technical director for the NSA Graduate Mathematics Program, a 12 week summer program which brings in talented graduate students from around the country to work on Agency problems.
Michael Morrow is the Chief Investment Officer and President of Southport Lane Advisors. He is responsible for developing and actively managing the asset allocation strategies for all of Southport’s portfolio companies, as well as overseeing Southport Lane’s fixed-income group.
Michael brings 15 years of experience in finance and capital markets to Southport Lane, having worked on both buy-side and sell-side with large and small institutions. He comes to the firm from Intellectual Ventures, where he served as Director of Structured Finance and CFO Products, creating financial products around patents to enhance their utility as an asset class. Michael has also held executive positions at JPMorgan and Tahoma Capital, and began his career in Microsoft’s Treasury, ultimately serving as Managing Director of Capital Markets.
Michael has received two Treasury & Risk Magazine Alexander Hamilton Financial Risk Management Gold Medal awards for his design of unique methods of hedging corporate currency risks. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and was a Mathematics PhD candidate at the University of Washington.
Luke Wolcott earned his PhD at UW in 2012, working with John Palmieri. After a postdoc in Lisbon, a visiting assistant professorship at a small college in Wisconsin, and a lecturer position at USC in LA, he left academia and is working in Seattle as a data scientist. His company, Edifecs, works on cool problems in healthcare, like predicting medication adherence and opioid misuse, building provider recommendation systems, and automating medical claims rework.