March 28, 2019
June Wu is from Shanghai, China. Before coming to the University of Chicago, she received her BA in mathematics and MS in scientific computing from the Courant Institute at New York University. She is in her first year of pursuing a PhD with the Committee on Computational and Applied Mathematics (CCAM). We interviewed her via email about her experiences at UChicago.
What have you been studying or researching as part of your program?
I have been taking applied math courses such as Partial Differential Equations, Convex Optimization, and Fundamentals of Deep Learning.
Why did you choose the University of Chicago?
While I was choosing a PhD program, I visited the website of Professor Alexander Razborov of UChicago’s math department by chance. Something he wrote made a strong impression on me: “The most basic thing that has to be understood about our PhD program is that at UofC we do not own students (and we take pride in this fact).” I chose UChicago because I believe that it is a place where students can not only gain academic knowledge but also develop their own ideas as a researcher.
Describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.
I am proud that during my first quarter I was able to present my Master’s research at a student seminar, plan a tutorial on solving partial differential equations with computational tools, and attend an automated modeling workshop at UChicago’s Paris Center, all while taking a full course load.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
I like cooking and hiking.
What are your plans post- UChicago?
I am open to any opportunities that will allow me to keep experimenting with new ideas and learning new skills. I hope to work in an environment that is innovative, collaborative, and inclusive.
What support have you received at UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
I have received financial support from the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellowship. In addition, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) provided travel support to attend the International Summer School on High Performance Computing (HPC) Challenges in Computational Science. I worked as a summer research fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I also received travel support from UChicago Professor Ridgway Scott to attend a workshop at the UChicago Paris Center.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
UChicago is one of the few institutions that grants its student the freedom to grow on their own as a scholar, but it does get chilly in the winter!
How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an envionrment where diversity and inclusion are valued?
As a Master’s student I was an organizer of several initiatives focused on promoting diversity in graduate education. These initiatives, along with my experiences with other graduate students from a diversity of backgrounds, gave me an understanding of the challenges that diverse students face, as well the unique benefits that a diverse group can bring to problem-solving.