Institution/Organization: San Diego State University
Department: Computational Science
Academic Status: Doctoral Student
I am a first-year graduate student that is attending a joint doctoral degree in Computational Science at San Diego State University and University of California, Irvine. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I have a background in Mathematics and received a B.S. in Mathematics at Tuskegee University in Alabama. I took an interest in programming and applied mathematics while completing an internship at the University of California, Irvine where I learned FORTRAN. I then started completing coursework at Tuskegee University to learn C++. I am currently working under Dr. Jose Castillo, researching Mimetic Discretization Methods and using the library, MOLE: Mimetic Operators Library Enhanced.
Since my childhood, I have always had a huge background in the sciences. My dad was a professor for economics, mathematics, and science; my mom expressed her love for mathematics frequently. I ended up gaining a passion for mathematics which demonstrated how to identify a problem and develop a solution in a very clear format. I have observed that while abstract mathematical problems were not easily illustrated to other students, the concepts of problem solving and critical thinking that it was demonstrating could be implemented into real life. This continued to progress in other classes such as economics and physics, in which I could see the math that was involved in analyzing the state of the economy or calculating projectile motion. Ultimately, I determined that I want to perform research that applies mathematics to computer science and further understand how to transfer the knowledge that I gained from my mathematics major to solving problems involving computers and computation. This is the reason why I am currently undergoing a joint Ph.D. in Computational Science at San Diego State University (SDSU) and University of California, Irvine (UCI). As I progress through my research and graduate program, I will eventually become a mathematics professor educating people about how mathematics can be applied to daily life and assisting people in gaining an interest in the field. As a result, I believe that this opportunity to work with the Sustainable Research Pathways for High-Performance Computing (SRP-HPC) is perfect for gaining more experience involving computational science and observing how this makes real-world progress in scientific fields. One of the key turning points for me that enlightened me to wanting to explore computer science was when I was invited to undergo an internship through the Chemistry at the Space Time Limit (CaSTL) program hosted by the University of California, Irvine. The program was headed by Dr. Danielle Watt to expose minority groups to undergraduate research opportunities. Under my graduate mentor, Luke Nambi Mohanam, and my principal investigator, Dr. Filipp Furche, our goal was to create a solver that used Krylov subspace to efficiently break down and solve an extremely large matrix problem, which was created by the excitation of certain molecules. My job was to assist in deriving the base type that is used throughout the algorithm and testing that base type. We ended up determining that there should be a derived base type for real numbers and one for complex numbers. Towards the end of the internship, we derived a base type for split-complex numbers. The most important part about this internship is that it introduced me to coding and applied mathematics. I discovered that I had a passion for coding and wanted to expand on it. It was here that I was exposed to doing and presenting research which encouraged me to delve deeper into opportunities involving such. From here, I decided to minor in Computer Science and learn C++ and Python. In addition, I got into more research opportunities at Tuskegee University. One of the most prominent ones is bringing virtual reality into the classrooms at Tuskegee University. This is a joint research project by the Mathematics, Physics, Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering departments. I have created virtual reality activities under the guidance of Dr. Chadia Aji using ClassVR and Unity while coding using C# and Matlab. These activities were a virtual reality simulation of functions and their first and second derivatives, an activity that showed how graphs of position, velocity and acceleration translated into real-world movement, and an activity that allowed students to interact with a virtual machine that I created to input specifications of damping and mass to create a mass-spring system and receive a graph of the motion of said system. Again, during this research project I reinforced the importance of communication with professors and presenting research to others. I was working with others from different departments, so I needed to be able to communicate the goal of the research project and how it works without getting too technical. Now, I am attending SDSU in the field of Computational Science. During my program so far, I have learned C, FORTRAN, and Perl languages. I was introduced to common computational science problems and explored creating models and programming solutions and simulations to these models. As far as research, I am working under Dr. Jose Castillo to understand and implement Mimetic Discretization Methods. I have read previous works to understand the mathematics behind the computational methods and used the Mimetic Operators Library Enhanced (MOLE) to solve various mathematical models using finite differencing methods. Graduate school has subtly illustrated that I should get more experiences involving computation and optimization to understand my research better. That is where this opportunity comes into play. Through this internship, I can get that needed experience while applying the knowledge I gained from my coursework and prior mathematical knowledge. I was introduced to computational methods and used them to make scientific progress while at Tuskegee University, University of California, Irvine, and now San Diego State University. Although I am still new to the field, I have all the necessary tools to learn anything that must be learned and apply that knowledge. I will do all that I can to gain more experience doing research involving computational science, and as a result, I will be highly motivated and determined to do what needs to be done. Also, I have experiences of performing and communicating on group research projects, so there will be no problems assimilating into that collaborative nature of a project.