### Abiy Tasissa

**Where are you from?**

I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

**Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.**

In high school, while taking a basic technical drawing course, one of the interesting parts for me was how mathematical propositions/results can be deduced from simple geometrical axioms e.g., I found deriving the equation of the ellipse using basic geometrical assumptions to be a fulfilling exercise. In college, I took a course on electromagnetism. The highlight of the course for me was learning about Maxwell’s equations which result from a set of modeling assumptions and vector calculus.

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**What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?**

My proudest accomplishment was having my first mathematical paper published. I worked hard on the problem and persisted despite the different challenges. I learned the values of perseverance and trusting oneself and I regard the whole process and the lesson to be my most proud accomplishment.

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**What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?**

My most proud accomplishment was finishing my Ph.D. in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

**Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.**

It is easy to get excited by a problem by considering its motivation and/or applications. It is also easy to get excited by looking at the final solution which uses a mix of different ideas and techniques. When working on a research project, I believe it is equally important to focus on the process and work hard on what could be considered the unglamorous, mundane, routine or “boring” aspects. I have learned that doing such tasks thoroughly has helped me deepen my understanding of concepts on the subject matter.