Andrei FajardoWhat program are you in?

I am currently doing a PhD in Statistics.

Why did you choose to take statistics at the University of Waterloo?

The most important aspect of doing a PhD, is having a good working relationship with your supervisor. When I met Professor Steve Drekic for the first time, I knew we had a lot in common and I could succeed working with him. Waterloo is also a highly reputable institution with one of the largest variety in courses in statistics.

What are your career goals?

I would like to pursue a career in academia. I love every aspect of being a professor. However, with that being said, I wouldn’t mind exploring my options in the statistical consulting industry.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a graduate student so far?

My first rewarding moment was finishing the comprehensive exams. My second rewarding moment was receiving the Departmental Teaching Assistant Award. I love to teach, and it was nice to be recognized for all my hard work.

What is the most challenging part of life as a graduate student?

The most challenging part of life as a graduate is adjusting to the workload in first semester. In first semester taking courses, studying for comprehensive exams, and working as a teaching assistant for several courses can be hard to juggle.

What has been your favourite course or project in graduate school?

Choosing a single course is difficult. My favourite courses so far have been Stochastic Processes, Theory of Probability 1 and Theory of Probability 2, as I am really interested in phase-type distributions. I also enjoyed Professor Willmot’s Topics in Probability and Statistics course, as I was free to choose any topic relevant to my thesis.

Can you describe any practical or hands-on experience you’ve had during your studies?

Since teaching is my aspiration, working as a teaching assistant has given me great hands-on experience working with students. Leading tutorials can be great practice for giving lectures. Another hands-on experience has been presenting at conferences. Part of being a professor is presenting and defending your ideas, so these presentations definitely help develop public speaking skills.

How do you spend your time outside of school?

I like to stay active and I enjoy playing sports. I go to the gym three to four times a week and I play intramural basketball two to three times a week. I also enjoy sushi, videogames and occasional drinks with my friends.

Do you have any words of advice for people considering or planning graduate studies at the University of Waterloo?

Waterloo is great for all graduate programs. Each program contains faculty members who are leading researchers in their respective fields. A large faculty also allows for a greater opportunity to explore modern and unique topics.

Do you have any words of advice for students considering statistics?

Be up for the challenge. Work hard and it will all be worth it.

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