Statistics Graduate Student Claudia Masferrer
Teachers usually like to say that the best courses taught are those where they learned from the students. I definitely think that one of the things that makes the IE Pre-Grad Internship program different to any traditional course is its structure, and from there comes its value. By the beginning of the semester I had a list of readings and activities that I thought were going to be interesting in order to introduce applications of mathematics to different areas. However, as the semester went on, I realized that it was better to be flexible and to assign readings as the interests of my intern were evolving, as my intern started raising questions about my work experience in Mexico, and my academic studies at UT. I think that this allowed us both to be more involved in the program. Amelia always asked interesting questions that guided part of the internship activities, and were complimentary to those I had planned before. For me, this is one of the many ways we do research: trying to answer our spontaneous questions, and with an ordered agenda. One of the issues that I always tried to put on the table was the good practice of research (in particular of Statistics) and I highlighted some of the problems we face while doing applications. More than specific concepts learned during the program, I hope that my intern applies this to her professional and personal life. I made an effort to show her the easily misleading manipulations of data and the irresponsible use of numbers that permeate everyday life using Statistical tools carelessly.
I also hope that this program encourages my intern to pursue graduate school right after her undergraduate degree, or after some years of gaining working experience. What I think is most important, is to find a subject that interests you in a passionate way and to gain the knowledge to execute it properly, not only technically (for what graduate school is essential) but also ethically, moved by curiosity and open to new and different ideas and perspectives.
Because I was not the "teacher" but a mentor, I am very glad to say that the experience of participating in the IE Pre-Grad Internship program was interesting and fulfilling: I learned from my mentee and from myself.