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Claire Bowen


1.  What interested you in the doctoral program in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics at Notre Dame?

Outside of the research topics and potential advisors, the welcoming work environment solidified my decision to attend Notre Dame.

2.  What was the best part of the program?

The freedom to explore internships, workshops, and other professional development programs. Not many graduate programs encourage students to apply for such opportunities. Without participating in internships and workshops, I would have never realized my career goal of becoming a scientist at a national laboratory.

3.  Tell us about your doctoral thesis.

My doctoral thesis investigated and developed methods of data privacy and confidentiality. Specifically, my methods protected the individual's private information (such as healthcare data) by creating pseudo records using synthetic data generation via a Bayesian framework with differential privacy, a mathematical condition that quantifies privacy loss.

4.  What are you working on now?

I will be researching in the area of uncertainty quantification with a physics informed Bayesian model update along with some continued data privacy research.

5.  How did the program prepare you for your career?

The program prepared me in two ways. First, by providing the resources to conduct my research such as priority access to the department's cores on the cluster and attendance at important conferences and workshops. Second, the potential to pursue service outside of research that developed soft skills like communication and management. For instance, I organized a regional conference and led one of the largest and most active graduate groups.

6.  What are your career plans for the near future?

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Statistical Sciences Group at Los Alomos National Laboratory.

7.  What advice would you give to students considering the program?
For any program, students should think about:
1. Compatibility with potential advisor(s). Identify more than one in case your first choice doesn't work out.
2. See if the research being conducted by the advisor(s) interests you. The average ACMS student takes 5 years to complete his/her PhD, so you want to ensure you enjoy conducting the research.
3. Understand what the department's and/or advisor(s)' support will be for conferences, workshops, internships, etc.
4. Make sure your potential advisor(s) are supportive of your career goals.
5. Look at what resources the program and/or university provide for research and other soft skill development.
6. You will be pursuing a degree for about 5 years, so see if you are comfortable with living in the location of the university.
7. Look at graduation rates and career placement of students. Are the students graduating within a reasonable amount of time and have they secured careers they enjoy?