Whitney Mgbara

Institution/Organization: Arizona State University

Department: School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Academic Status: Undergraduate Student

What conference theme areas are you interested in (check all that apply):
Data Analytics and Visualization
Data-Driven Modeling and Prediction
Identification, Design, and Control
Surrogate and Reduced-order Modeling
Verification, Validation, Uncertainty Quantification


Throughout my time at Arizona State University, I have had the pleasure of working with professors in various fields. As a Sophomore, I worked with Dr. Marco Janssen and his graduate students on a human origins project. The goal of the project was to understand ancestral hunter-gatherers. Using Netlogo, I studied the movements, habits and patterns in an agent based model with geographical data from South Africa. Afterwards, I worked as a Data Intern for FitPHX Energy Zones where I managed the collection of data from KAM belts and helped the Program Interns teach health and wellness topics to elementary students. I enjoyed working as a Data Intern for FitPHX because I got to work with kids directly and learn about health topics. From this, I realized that I am interested in working on research questions that analyze public health issues. Thus, I applied to participate in the 2016 Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute under Dr. Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Dr. Anuj Mubayi, and Dr. Baojun Song. Along with my team, I worked on understanding the impact of preference on the sexual transmission of the Zika virus. Currently, I am working as a research aide with Dr. Anuj Mubayi on a project to understand the impact of indoor residual spraying on sandfly resistance and resilience. The project requires me to do in-depth research on neglected tropical diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, and post kala azar dermal leishmaniasis. Additionally, I was inspired by my research experiences to add a Global Health minor. Thus, my time as an Applied Mathematics for Life and Social Sciences major has influenced my research interests to develop in mathematical biology, epidemiology, ecology, evolutionary biology and public health. I hope to one day be able to answer some of the leading health questions faced throughout the world and help others understand through mathematical and computational modeling.

Non-Work Related Activities:

Outside of work, I am the Vice President of Financial Affairs for an On-Campus Organization known as Devils Pitching In. Devils Pitching In is a service-learning organization the volunteers locally and globally to help those in need. As such, I help to plan, organize, and implement fundraising and collaborative initiatives to ensure that the club’s goals and individual goals are met each semester.