“Never be afraid to try something new. Opportunities don’t always just “appear”, sometimes you have to make them happen. Joining a professional society in whatever field you choose will help you create those opportunities!”
Senior Research Scientist, Atlanta, United States
Master of Science in Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Arts (mathematics), Greenville College
How I got here…
I loved math and numbers from birth, I think; I remember, maybe in kindergarten, being given a 3rd grade math workbook as a birthday present, and thinking it was the best present ever! During my elementary thru high school years, computers were becoming a bigger part of society. As I started college as a math major, it was a natural thing for me to include computer classes; I ended up with a minor in computer science. Those classes were a big selling point on my resume, and as I began my career, computers were integral to everything I did. Now, after many years in my field, my reliance on computing has expanded. High-performance computing hardware and software is essential to the system and software development and testing I do.
A day in the life…
My day begins getting my kids off to school, driving to work thru the wonderful Atlanta traffic, then I start my day at work reviewing all the emails that came in overnight. Throughout the day, I manage programs, write proposals, design experiments to test software, run those experiments (sometimes in millions of runs), and assess the results. I write papers and presentations based on my assessments. I try to keep up with emails throughout the day, and at the end of each day I leave myself a list of things that need to be done the next day.
Why I love my job
My major was mathematics; my job title is currently “Senior Research Scientist”. I enjoy the fact that I have varying responsibilities throughout each day. The focus of my research has also changed over time. It’s good to have a wide variety of experiences to draw upon. I also like the opportunities I have here to help others; I serve as the Chair of the GTRI Awards Council, helping others get the recognition they deserve for their work.
An awesome project
I began and completed my Master’s Degree while a full-time employee at GTRI. As part of my Master’s Degree program, I took some courses in Fractal Geometry. At that time, researchers were just beginning to explore the many ways that fractal geometry techniques could be applied to real-world applications. Before I graduated, I had to perform and present the results of a research project to the math department. I decided to integrate my work in radar systems with my new understanding of fractal geometry. At the time, I was investigating innovative, automated techniques for deciding what a radar had “seen”, based on the returned radar signature. For my project, I chose to use the Fractal Dimension of the returned signature as a new technique. I tested this technique using measured radar data. The technique was successful, and I was subsequently able to turn that initial research into several funded contracts.
Life outside of work
I spend a lot of my free time participating in and volunteering for IEEE activities. I also love to sing, and sing in the Praise Band at my church. I’m an obsessive reader, often reading 4-5 books/ week.