Assistant Professor, UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Paul UllrichWhen you’re looking in the workforce, don’t be afraid to look for opportunities outside of your immediate field, because you’d be surprised at how many of your skills can be directly applied elsewhere. Find a topic where you think you can make a difference and latch onto it.

- Paul Ullrich, MMath (Applied Mathematics), '07

1. How has attending the University of Waterloo and studying within the Faculty of Mathematics impacted your career?

Being on the cutting edge of climate research, I find that the mathematical skills and critical thinking ability that I learned at Waterloo has been key for driving my career. It was in the Applied Mathematics department at Waterloo that I first had the opportunity to toy with computational models of the Earth, and led to my eventual decision to pursue a career in atmospheric science.

2. Why did you choose the University of Waterloo for graduate studies?

In addition to being a graduate alumnus from Waterloo, I am also an undergraduate alumnus with a double major in applied mathematics and computer science. I first met my graduate supervisor, Dr. John Wainwright, through the undergraduate program at Waterloo and his dedication and pursuit of research at the boundary of human knowledge led me to take up graduate studies in cosmology. Although I eventually decided that cosmology was not my calling, I was nonetheless inspired by the rigor and depth that went into my work.

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3. How does your degree support the work you are doing now?

Atmospheric science is a highly interdisciplinary field, with researchers from backgrounds spanning the humanities through experimental physics. My specialization in mathematics has provided me with an invaluable set of skills that have uniquely defined my research in contrast to others in my field. Further, my work as a teaching assistant led to the development of course notes in numerical methods that I still use today.

4. What advice would you give to students who are considering attending the University of Waterloo for graduate studies?

Waterloo is fortunate to have an amalgamation of outstanding mathematicians and scientists from many relevant fields and is known worldwide as an outstanding institution for mathematics and computer science. When deciding on an institution for graduate studies, always remember to take into account the breadth of expertise since this factor will be invaluable for driving your future career.

5. What advice would you give to current students who are studying at the graduate level and looking to enter the workforce within the next few years?

There are a lot of opportunities out there for researchers working on the edge of human knowledge. Don’t be afraid to work with other researchers and professors in related disciplines. Every professor has a particular depth of knowledge in one particular area, but some of the greatest discoveries come about when one is able to find connections between research groups.

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