Sijia Xiang is Ph.D student in Statistics at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. She is scheduled to graduate from the program in 2015. Prior to her pursuing her Ph.D Sijia studied Mathematics. We recently had the chance to chat with Sijia and ask her about her experience at KSU and how she became interested in a future career in statistics. Here's what she had to say:
What influenced you to pursue being a statistician?
I’ve been interested in logical thinking and playing with numbers since I was a little kid, and therefore, I picked math as my undergraduate major. During that time, I found myself more interested in statistics, and so I came to K-State to pursue a Ph.D. in statistics.
Why should other students consider a focus in Statistics?
Statistics is a really fun subject. You have the opportunity to work with researchers from all kinds of fields and deal with all kinds of experiments. It is also a widely used tool, and is becoming more and more popular, and so I think there has never been a better time to study statistics.
What has been your experience with Statistics at your college?
I love my department very much since everyone here is very friendly. The faculty and graduate students have different backgrounds, some of them are more theoretical, while others might be more data driven. And so we’ve gotten to know different sides of statistics.
K-State has outstanding programs in veterinary medicine and animal science, among other fields. When they need help with data analysis, they come to us. It is always fun to work on interdisciplinary projects, and we learn a lot from each other.
Have you participated in any internships, and if so, how many and how were they?
I worked with a professor in statistics and a group of epidemiologists from the college of veterinary medicine for a paid interdisciplinary research internship, submitted an abstract and did an oral presentation at the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases in Chicago last December, and presented my research at the 2012 Conference in Applied Statistics in Agriculture. We also published a paper in the Journal of Animal Science.
Please share an interesting or little-known fact you've learned about the world of statisticians...
When people think about statistician, they might think us as a group of boring people, only focused on studying and nothing fun. That’s not true!!! We love life, and all kinds of sports.
What are the latest developments or trends in Statistics?
I would say big data. As the internet develops, people are facing enormous information from the internet. And so the question is how to efficiently make full use of the data.
What are your future aspirations and career plans?
I love teaching, and so I’d like to go to academia in the near future. I hope to guide those who are interested in statistics to prepare for their future career, and help those who don’t like statistics to understand this subject more.
Anything else you’d like to share?
As I mentioned before, I think there has never been a better time to study statistics. So come to statistics if you can, and you’ll see how interesting it can be!