Where are you from?
I grew up in Long Island, NY, went to college in Princeton, NJ, moved to Berkeley, CA to pursue a PhD, spent a year as a postdoc and three years as a professor at Stanford University, and now live just outside of Boston, MA.
Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.
I will never forget my experience at the Ross Program (https://rossprogram.org/), an intense 8-week summer program in number theory designed to expose teenagers to proof-based mathematics. There I learned about axioms, induction, and rigorous proof. I learned to think deeply about simple things like integers, fractions, and arithmetic. I even learned a new way to learn as each student taught him or herself the material by working through a daily sequence of problem sets. At the Ross Program, I was exposed to a side of mathematics that I had never encountered in my math classes — and I loved it.
The following year, I got my first taste of mathematical research at the Research Science Institute (http://www.cee.org/research-science-institute), a cost-free program in which high school students learn the skills and tools of academic research all while conducting independent research over the course of a summer.
I learned of both programs from Chrysi Notskas, an amazing teacher from my school district who took it upon herself to mentor me.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?
Every day I reflect on my good fortune at finding a field (machine learning) and a job (researcher) that I truly love. My work scarcely seems like work as it’s exactly what I would be doing even if no one was paying me.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?
My life is full of loving, cherished people.
Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.
Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.