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Mathematics Alumni Spotlight


 

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Jolie Beville '11

BS Middle Grades Mathematics (Minor in Mathematics)

Jolie graduated from WKU in 2011 with a BS in Middle Grades Mathematics Education and a Minor in Mathematics. After graduation, Jolie taught for 9 years in Shelby County and then 2 years in Jefferson County where she currently teaches 8th grade math at Carrithers Middle School. During this time, she has served many roles from team leader, head girls middle school soccer coach, teacher mentor, and private tutoring. She received a Master’s in Teacher Leader from the University of the Cumberlands and become National Board Certified in Middle School Mathematics in 2021. In terms of her time at WKU, she said “WKU Department of Mathematics prepared me to become a critical thinker and helped me to teach my students how to become critical thinkers. The support from the math department was unconditional.” In addition to these professional accomplishments, she is also raising her two children, Teagan (3) and Riker (1). (Submitted May 2022).

 

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Alexander Venzin '10

BA Mathematics 

Alexander graduated from WKU in 2010 with a BA in Mathematics. After graduation, he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology (2011-2012) where he earned a Master’s in Applied Mathematics. After that, he lived in Washington and worked for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a member of the Computational Mathematics and Statistics group. Then in 2015, he began working for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Austria serving as a data scientist / statistician. Since then, he has been living in Vienna, Austria with his girlfriend. They travel as often as they can and Alexander enjoys repairing electronics in his free time. In regards to his time at WKU, Alexander said: “I certainly wouldn't be in my current position without a math degree. The degree was not easy for me and I spent many hours in the WKU library working / studying. My experiences at WKU learning to be persistent when trying to solve difficult problems has been very helpful for my career." (Submitted April 2022)

 

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Adam Crabtree '11, '17G

BA Mathematics (Secondary Education), MA Mathematics

Adam graduated from WKU in 2011 with a BA in Mathematics (with an emphasis on Secondary Education). After graduating, Adam became a high school math teacher. He returned to WKU to pursue an MA in Mathematics which he completed in 2017. He currently teaches at Allen County-Scottsville High School where he serves as the math department chair. He teaches classes such as AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and dual credit Trigonometry; and basically, every possible math class that is offered. He is also the Academic Team Coach for the high school. In his personal life he loves spending time with family, traveling, hiking, and making TikToks. In terms of his years at WKU, he said the “mathematics program at WKU prepared me to be a critical thinker and to approach problems in new and enlightening ways. I feel like the faculty that I learned under during my time at WKU helped reinforce my love of mathematics through their dedication to and love of the subject. The faculty also were always available to answer questions and help me when I needed it. This taught me the value of building that kind of relationship with my own students and making myself available to their needs. The success that I now experience in my job is a direct result of the preparation from the mathematics program at WKU.” (Submitted April 2022)

 

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Benjamin Davis '20

BS Mathematical Economics (Minor in Applied Statistics)

Benjamin Davis graduated from WKU in 2020 with a BS in Mathematical Economics and a minor in Applied Statistics. Benjamin also graduated from the Mahurin Honors College and was the Scholar of the College. After graduation, he moved to the Nashville area and started working for MAPCO Express as a Financial Analyst. He is responsible for the long-term financial planning and strategic vision of MAPCO, where he uses his insights into the macroeconomy, C-store space, and the Nashville market. Knowledge learned at WKU in financial and statistical analysis has been instrumental in improving various processes, reports, and financial forecasts. Benjamin said “I want to drive results in my team and provide excess value to the consumer and shareholder. Because of my time at WKU, I have a unique skillset that is rare among young and ambitious professionals. I have the drive to push boundaries and create long-lasting and meaningful corporate change.” He went on to say, “The WKU Department of Mathematics has been invaluable in my academic and professional development. Using my knowledge of applied statistics, probability theory, and statistical forecasting, I am prepared for virtually any role in Strategy & Development. That's my long-term goal - To serve as a consultant and teacher for those that aren't as familiar with the intricacies of economics and mathematics. In particular, Dr. Autin and Dr. Dunkum were outstanding.”

He recently started a regular newsletter on LinkedIn, titled "The Beauty of True Capitalism." The primary purpose for this newsletter is to advance the knowledge of firms and individuals with a robust understanding of the macroeconomy and all of its microeconomic effects. Benjamin plans to re-enter academia and produce quality research and conversation among business professionals. This is because he loved completing original research at WKU and writing remains one of his strongest passions. In terms of his personal life, Benjamin is full vegan as of October 2021, and he focuses on taking care of his mental and physical health. (Submitted March 2022)

 

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Gretchen Bies '10

BA Mathematics 

Gretchen graduated in 2010 with a BA in Mathematics. Since her time at WKU, she has worked as a math tutor, homeschool instructor, and taught math at a college, high school, and middle school. She has lived and worked in Indiana, Florida, and Hawaii all while exploring new interests and getting her teaching licensure. Her current job is teaching at a fully self-contained special education preschool classroom. Recently, one of her special needs students and her played with a one hundred floor mat and two inflatable dice. This student played excitedly moving the counters and learning new numbers. Gretchen was so excited to say that “already, he can count to 29!” Gretchen also said “teaching adults in the college setting was intimidating. Especially since it was a 4 hour block class for one section. But my program at WKU and some of the professors’ style, helped me feel more comfortable incorporating play and problem solving into my classes. With my BA in Mathematics and experience, I was hired as a teacher when visiting a family on Kauai. I don’t know how I would have wound up getting a job on a remote island otherwise.” In her personal life, she has found some new forms of rest and relaxation: aerial silks, ShaktiRize, and spending time outdoors, reupholstering a couch.  (Submitted March 2022)

 

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Clay Fulkerson ’12

BA Mathematics 

Clay graduated from WKU in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics. Clay currently works for an independent bottler of whiskey in Louisville, KY. He enjoys traveling to new places whenever he can and is always trying to better himself. Outside of work, he enjoys the outdoors and visiting local breweries and food establishments with his fiancée. Clay said that “one of the biggest assets of my studies in the department was the development of great critical thinking skills. Even when I'm not directly utilizing the skills I learned, the background I developed for solving problems and thinking through problems is a direct result of my studies in the Mathematics Department.” (Submitted March 2022)

 

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Rachel (Turner) Roberts ’18

BA Mathematics (minor Applied Statistics)

Rachel graduated from WKU in 2018 with her BA in Mathematics and a minor in Applied Statistics. After WKU she attended the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University to earn an MS in Analytics. After graduating she worked as a Senior Data Analyst on the Customer and Marketing analytics team at Lowes for 2 years. Now she works as an Enterprise Data Insights Analyst for Mars Petcare outside Nashville where she has been working on building dashboards and reports to track the accuracy of forecasts for project profits. While at Lowes she earned the Exceptional Team Member of the year award from her 15-person team in 2020 for her work on the Pros Paint Rewards Program. Rachel said “WKU ignited and fostered my love of statistics and coding which led directly to my Master’s program and gave me a head start on my fellow students. My relationship with WKU professors as well as my place in several of the math department clubs gave me the leadership skills and confidence to advocate for myself.” Rachel currently lives south of Nashville with her husband Ben and their rescue mutt Luna. They spend their time reading and going to hockey games. (Submitted March 2022)

 

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Jennifer Chapman '09

BA Mathematics 

Jennifer graduated from WKU in 2009 with a BA in Mathematics. She immediately went on to receive her MA in Applied Economics from WKU in 2010. She now works at Humana as a Business Intelligence Lead. In her current role, where she leads the team that maintains Humana’s two major Medicare pricing tools, she has taken on a role expansion each year. In that time, she has also received a Star Award for her streamlining of the current pricing processes and relationship advancement with the pricing actuaries. Jennifer said “I got my foot in the door in Humana’s pharmacy analytics department fresh out of grad school. The math degree was what set me apart from other candidates. My current role is in an actuarial department where few business professionals are considered for hire. Having a degree in math, again, set me apart from other candidates.” Outside of work she enjoys playing rugby and ultimate frisbee and building a family. She is a mother of one, with another on the way (plus 2 pups). (Submitted March 2022)

 

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Dr. Caitlyn Bruns '09

BA Mathematics 

Dr. Caitlyn Bruns graduated from WKU in 2009 with a BA in Mathematics. Following this she went to Iowa State University where she completed an MS in 2011 and PhD in 2013. Her focus was in Animal Breeding & Genetics and Statistics. After graduate school, she went to work for a commercial swine genetics company, DNA Genetics, for 7.5 years where she led both the genetics team and the IT team. Currently, Dr. Bruns now works for AncestryDNA as a Genomics Research Scientist and lives in Saratoga Springs, UT with her husband, Alex. They love the outdoor recreation that Utah has to offer. Lastly, when reflecting on her time at WKU, Dr. Bruns said “My undergraduate career gave me a solid understanding of calculus and statistics, which was extremely helpful in my graduate studies. I felt more prepared than others in my program. In my professional career, I have used many concepts learned in my undergraduate studies that were not a part of my graduate studies.” (Submitted February 2022)

 

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Matthew Wallace '11, '15G

BA Mathematics (Secondary Education), MA Mathematics

Matthew graduated from WKU in 2011 with a BA in Mathematics with an emphasis in Secondary Education. After graduating from WKU, he worked as a high school math teacher in North Carolina and Kentucky. He came back to WKU to get an MA in Mathematics in 2015. Currently, he is a full time student working on a PhD in Applied and Industrial Mathematics and an MS in Biostatistics from the University of Louisville, where he lives with his wife Rachel and their two children. Matthew said that the WKU programs prepared him very well for his teaching career and now that he is pursuing additional math degrees, it is even more obvious that the degrees he earned at WKU have prepared him for success. In his spare time, he enjoys running. Since graduation he has completed 7 marathons (the Boston marathon twice) with a personal best time of 2:44. (Submitted February 2022)

 

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Dr. Ali Dogan '10G

MS, Mathematics

Dr. Ali Dogan graduated from WKU in 2010 with an MS in Mathematics. After that he went to the University of Memphis to pursue a PhD in Mathematics. He completed that degree in 2016 and has been working at the University of Houston-Victoria as an Assistant Professor Mathematics since then. His research interests are in combinatorics and graph theory. Dr. Dogan said that “the Department of Mathematics at WKU had many great faculty, and a couple of them were Drs. Claus Ernst, Ferhan Atici, Dominic Lanphier, Molly Dunkum, Melanie Autin, and David Neal. Not only they were great scholars, but also great mentors. I count myself lucky enough to have them as teachers and mentors. They delivered great lectures and prepared students for their further studies and careers. They guided every student in the directions they wanted to go.” (Submitted February 2022)

 

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Dr. "B" Sutthirut Charoenphon '14G

MS, Mathematics

Dr. Sutthirut Charoenphon (who goes by Dr. B) graduated from WKU in 2014 with an MS in Mathematics. Following this, she attended the University of Memphis for a PhD. She graduated in 2020 with a focus on partial differential equations and control theory related to semigroup theory and numerical analysis. Dr. B is now an assistant professor at DePauw University. Her work has recently been published in the Journal of Evolution Equations. Dr. B said that “getting to graduate school at WKU after having five years gap was a big change as being an international student. Changing the language, being in a completely different environment, and needing to focus on studying were very challenging and tough. However, everyone in the math department was so nice to me since day one and this helped me a lot. Academically, every professor in every course was active and helpful. Our class was small then it benefited me a lot. My classmates and I were very close to each other and also to the professors. You cannot find this warm and closed classroom in a big school and I am very thankful for it. Thank you to Dr. Atici who was my academic advisor and always support me in any way that she can do and taught me real analysis I and II. I am also thankful for other professors, Dr. Kessler, Dr. Ernst, Dr. Richmond, Dr. Bhattacharya, Dr. Autin, Dr. Dunkum, Dr. Khenner, Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Iraniparast for teaching, preparing me for the Ph.D. school, and giving me any opportunities. Lastly, thanks to Ms. Plumlee and Lynne for all the support. In summary, WKU mathematics gave me a solid background personally and academically. I could not survive in the Ph.D. school and come this far without support from all of you.” (Submitted February 2022)

 

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Andrew Davis '19

BA, Mathematics

Andrew graduated from WKU in 2019 with a BA in Mathematics. After graduating he attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where he received an MA in Mathematics. After graduating from IU Bloomington, he moved to Indianapolis with his girlfriend Charley, where he is currently in the Mathematics Ph.D. program at IUPUI with a focus in algebraic topology. At IUPUI he gets the opportunity to teach undergraduates as a graduate instructor which he finds very rewarding. Andrew said: “My time in the Mathematics Department at WKU set the foundation for my career, and serves as a constant motivation. I was surrounded by professors who were truly active in their students' education, both in and out of the classroom. The opportunity to perform research with Dr. Kessler as an undergraduate sparked my research interest and instilled a passion for mathematics communication and education. The teaching styles of Dr. Ernst and Dr. Lanphier motivate my own, teaching me to challenge and pique the interest of my students while making sure nobody is left behind.” (Submitted January 2022)

 

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Dr. Bryan Sandor '08G

MS, Mathematics

Dr. Bryan Sandor graduated from WKU in 2008 with an MS in Mathematics. After this, he completed an MA in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky in 2011. He went on to complete an MA in Mathematics (2013) in the process of completing his PhD in Mathematics (2017) from the University of Alabama. After graduating, he worked as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Bethel University in McKenzie, TN, from 2017 - 2019. He then accepted a position of Lecturer of Mathematics & Statistics at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Martin, in 2019, and has been happily working with both his former teachers and new colleagues. He teaches at least ten classes every academic year and is grateful to be teaching dual enrollment courses at his high school alma mater, Bradford High School, for these past three years.

He published a paper with the late Dr. Bettina Richmond with the direct assistance of her husband, Dr. Tom Richmond, on Automorphisms of Polynomial Rings, in Communications in Algebra. During the pandemic, after UTM went virtual for the 2021-2022 school year, he decided to begin taking piano lessons and lessons in Biblical Hebrew and Koine (New Testament) Greek.

Dr. Sandor has the following to say about his time at WKU: “Dr. Bruce Kessler was the Assistant Dean when I was a student there, and I always appreciated his open-door and availability. Ms. Linda Pulsinelli and Ms. Robin Ayers taught me how to teach mathematics and I am forever grateful to her. Dr. Melanie Autin taught what was undoubtedly my favorite graduate class in the many years I was a graduate student and I’m glad to still be in touch with her! I absolutely wanted to be her as a teacher. Dr. Molly Dunkum was a great sounding board while I was writing my thesis. Finally, Drs. Tom and Bettina Richmond were both like my academic parents at WKU. Dr. Bettina Richmond was my thesis advisor and I owe my continued love and development in Algebra to her. They both fought for me, while I was there and after I graduated. WKU has excellent faculty who are supportive and enthusiastic about their students’ success.” (Submitted January 2022)

 

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Tyler Ghee '13, '17G

BA, Mathematics (Secondary Education), MA, Mathematics

Tyler graduated from WKU in 2013 with a BA in Mathematics (Secondary Education). After graduation, he began teaching mathematics at Warren East High (Grades 9-12) and in 2017 he completed his Master’s program in Mathematics from WKU. During this time, he also completed his rank 1 in administration and taught some night classes at WKU. He recently started a job as an Assistant Principal at Glasgow Independent Schools and he attended a leadership program from the Barren County Chamber of Commerce. Tyler said that “math has always been something I enjoy but as time goes, I used the social and emotional skills that I have learned [from WKU’s math department]. I use those every day in my role as an assistant principal.” In addition to these exciting work achievements, Tyler has a wife (Stephanie) of 9 years, and 2 children (a 2 year old daughter and a 5 year old son). (Submitted January 2022)

 

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Tyler Harris ’12, ‘16G

BA, Mathematics (Secondary Education), MA, Mathematics

Tyler graduated from WKU in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics (Secondary Education) and again in 2016 with an MA in Mathematics. After completing his BA, Tyler moved to Louisville to teach high school math. He worked for 7 years at Shelby County High School, 2 years at North Oldham High School, and now works Southern High School in JCPS. Tyler returned to WKU remotely from 2014-2016 to complete the MA in Mathematics program. In 2016, Tyler was named "Teacher of the Year" for Shelby County High School. In Summer 2019, he worked for the Governor's Scholars Program in Morehead, where he taught the Astronomy Focus Area. While teaching high school, he has taught everything from Algebra 1 to AP Calculus BC, to courses focused on financial literacy and preparation for college mathematics. Tyler met his wife, Kaitie, at WKU. They celebrated their 8th year of marriage this year, and welcomed the birth of their daughter last summer.

Tyler learned so much during his time at WKU, and is forever grateful for the connections he made while he was there. “I had so many incredible professors during both my undergrad and graduate experiences. I really appreciated how small most of my classes were at the upper levels, which meant that I had opportunities to get to know my professors, as well as my classmates in the program. The math department felt like a close-knit community, and I never felt like I needed to look very far to find support. Dr. Marchionda was incredibly influential for me during both of my degrees, as my undergraduate advisor, my senior seminar mentor, and my professor for multiple graduate and undergraduate courses. The courses I took with her during my graduate program helped me understand Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics on a much deeper level than I had before, and I feel that it has made me a much stronger educator. I am proud to be among the first cohort of graduates from the SkyTeach program in 2012. The program had an immense influence on my entire teaching philosophy, in addition to opening many doors for me to new opportunities, such as working with VAMPY and the Governor's Scholars Program." (Submitted January 2022)

 

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Emily Evanko Stiles ’13, ‘16G

BA, Mathematics (Secondary Education), MA, Mathematics

Emily graduated from WKU in 2013 with a BA in Mathematics (Secondary Education) and again in 2016 with an MA in Mathematics. Following graduation, she taught Algebra 1, two levels of Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus at South Oldham High School for 4 years. During this time, she received a STEM scholarship through AFCEA to be used on math-related school supplies, so she bought a classroom set of calculators for her students. She said her studies at WKU helped her tremendously by learning both the knowledge to teach mathematics content and the skills to manage a classroom. After enjoying this teaching experience, she resigned to be a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful children. Her passion for teaching remains so she tutors and subs for mathematics teachers as needed. Additionally, she is a free-lance make-up artist. She has been married to her wonderful husband for 5 years, is very involved in her church, considers herself an amateur chef, and considers herself a professional library-goer (a great way to get her kids to read lots of books!). (Submitted September 2021)

 

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Dustin Gentile '14

BA, Mathematics (Secondary Education)

Dustin graduated from WKU in 2014 with a BA in Mathematics (with a focus on Secondary Education). A week after graduating WKU, he married Sandra Mathis (WKU ’14) with whom he met through WKU’s Baptist Campus Ministries. After spending a few months living in Ft. Mitchell, KY, they moved to Glasgow, KY where he taught at Barren County Middle School before moving back to Bowling Green in the summer of 2015 to teach at Warren Central High School, just around the corner from WKU. Dustin has taught Geometry, Algebra II, and Probability and Statistics over the past 7+ school years. In addition to teaching, he has served as his school’s Assistant Athletic Director for the past 3+ school years. He has also worked with Warren County Public Schools to help pilot their new math curriculum over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

According to Dustin, two of the biggest courses in the Math Department that prepared him for his job today as a teacher were College Geometry (with Dr. Marchionda), as well as, Functions and Modeling (with Dr. DuCloux). He said that “having taught Geometry for the past 4 years, a lot of the ideas and concepts we covered are things I use on a daily basis. Those essential theorems for Geometry (parallel/perpendicular lines, congruence, similarity, etc.) are the bare bones of what I do on a daily basis. From Functions and Modeling, the collective atmosphere of the class is something that I really picked up and translated into my classroom. Getting my students to model their thought process is so crucial, and it transport me back to my days at College Heights Hall doing the same things. From just a pure teaching standpoint, there were a lot of things I adapt and borrow from Dr. Dunkum. Having had her in class four separate times gave me a lot time to how she went about teaching and interacted with her students. I can definitely feel that influence on my overall teaching every day.”

Outside of teaching, Dustin and Sandra are frequent attendees of multiple WKU athletic events since graduating. They have followed the Tops all over the region including attending games in Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. They also recently bought a new home and this coming May they will celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary. (Submitted September 2021)

 

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Alec Brown '17

BA, Mathematics

Alec Brown graduated from WKU in 2017 with a BA in Mathematics. Following his time at WKU, he moved to North Carolina to pursue his MS in Analytics at North Carolina State University. Since then, he has been working as a Data Science Manager for Bain & Company in Chicago where his work has focused on building a software application for utilities to optimize the investments they make in their physical infrastructure. According to Alec, the Department of Mathematics “opened a window into statistical programming and data science as a potential career for me. Through the stats courses offered by the department, some hands-on training in R / SAS, and the mentorship I received during my Honors College Thesis, the department gave me all the right skills necessary to jump start my career in a field I never knew existed prior to college.” (Submitted August 2021)

 

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Evan Stack '20

BS, Mathematical Economics

Evan Stack graduated from WKU in 2020 with a Bachelors in Mathematical Economics. According to Evan, “life presents lots of challenges and this [education at WKU] was one of them.” However, the Department of Mathematics faculty supported him throughout his degree. Following graduation, Evan stayed in Bowling Green and is pursuing his MBA at WKU and is a Graduate Assistant for the WKU Men’s Basketball team. He enjoys watching the Toronto Blue Jays play every day, and in his spare time he is learning Spanish and the acoustic guitar. (Submitted August 2021)

 

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Rebecca Price '21

BA, Mathematics (Secondary and Middle Grades Education)

Rebecca Price graduated from WKU in 2021 with a BA in Mathematics (with a focus on Secondary Education), BS in Middle Grades Mathematics, and BS in Science and Mathematics Education. She said that she “will be forever grateful to the math department at WKU for providing [her] with so many fantastic opportunities, such as being an ambassador and making lifelong friends through Math Club. The faculty are some of the nicest most caring people on earth.” Following graduation, Rebecca began her teaching career at Greenwood High School, where she teaches Algebra 1 and 2 and coaches tennis. Staying in Bowling Green means that she has been able to continue to go to trivia nights around town, as well as volunteer in the Bowling Green area. (Submitted August 2021)

 

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Dr. Rebecca Crouch '12

BA, Mathematics

Dr. Rebecca Crouch graduated from WKU in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics. In 2010, she took her first statistics class with Dr. Autin and “the rest is history.” She went on to grad school at the University of Kentucky, where she earned a PhD in Statistics. Her dissertation focused on dimensionality reduction on categorical genetic marker data, with an application in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. While studying, she completed an internship in the US government intelligence community. In 2016, she moved to the DC area to serve government intel and defense clients as a Specialist Master Data Scientist at Deloitte. At Deloitte, she leads a small team deployed in the intelligence community, where they use large datasets to identify patterns in populations. One of her passions at Deloitte is training and educating the analytics practitioners of tomorrow, so she spends her non-client hours developing and delivering curricula for internal data science and statistics courses. Last year, Dr. Crouch won a Defense, Security and Justice sector award for outstanding performance in her market delivery sector, and she also got the opportunity to brief Deloitte’s sector lead on her work on International Women’s Day this year. On a personal note, Dr. Crouch just bought her first home in Northern Virginia! (Submitted August 2021)

 



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 Last Modified 5/16/22